October 23rd – Vowing to God

When I was speaking about Hannah, the mother of Samuel, I repeated what the Bible says, that she was so desperate to have a son that she prayed that if God gave her a son she would offer him back in God’s service. Well, she got her son, and she offered him to God by committing him to serve at the old Hebrew place of worship called “Shiloh”, to be educated by the priest there called Eli.
I could never understand this. Suppose Samuel grew up and didn’t want it? Wasn’t his mother a bit over the top? She couldn’t use her son as her sacrifice! Well, I had been a minister for some forty years when a lady called Marion told me about her mother and father. She said “I found out later, as I was growing up, that two years after I was born my mother had desperately wanted a son”. Her mother prayed every night the prayer of Hannah: ‘If you give me a son I will dedicate him to your service and to your church Lord’.” Now this was weird, because neither she nor her husband nor their daughter Marion ever went to any church. God’s gift of a son is hardly a bargaining ploy. “Well, eventually”, said Marion, “the baby boy, my brother, arrived and the mother had him christened and that was that”.
They lived in a back-to-back house in one of Collyhurst’s cobble streets, in one of down-town Manchester’s poorest districts. The boy grew up totally outside the church, his only interests were football and fighting (and later on girls and jazz). Even years later when his father became a Christian and a fervent church member, the boy would argue his dad under the table and then storm out in a bad temper to bond with his mates who were as crude and miserable as he was. Marion remarked that there was no way that that boy could ever become a Christian, let alone ‘a servant of God’, in answer to his mother’s vow to God, apart, that is, from some miracle or other.
I knew nothing of that mother’s vow to God until this woman called Marion told me all about that vow made way back in the early 1920’s!! Of course, by the time I heard all this, as I said, I’d been a minister of the church of Jesus for over 40 years. By the way, you’ve guessed … Marion is my sister! The woman who vowed Hannah’s vow was my mother. Today was her birthday.
Speaking of vow Hannah’s vow:
And she made a vow, saying “O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, I Samuel 1:11
Today, review the vows you have made before God, especially your marriage vows. Let’s see now … just what were they …?
Now read I Samuel Chapter 1.

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