Friday, February 09, 2007

Book Club: 8th February 2007 - Hannah: A Portrait of Feminine Grace

This week we had our first book club meeting for 2007. We discussed chapter 5, Hannah: A Portrait of Feminine Grace. A few of the things that we discussed were:

• Hannah’s difficult trial. It must be a difficult thing to share your husband with another man. Can you imagine the kind of nastiness that could go on between to women fighting to win the affection of the same man? We know how horrible women can be to each other over petty things, let alone the love of a man. Samuel says it was a great trial to Hannah. ‘And her rival provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb’ 1 Samuel 1:6-7. So much so that she didn’t eat. You know that feeling of being so upset about somthing that it makes you sick to the stomach. It is clear that Elkanah loved Hannah dearly. JM suggests on page 94 that he took his second wife because of Hannah’s Barrenness. If this was the case it must have made her trial even more bitter. This would also have been a difficult thing for Peninnah; not winning Elkanah’s love despite bearing him children. I was reminded of the rivalry between Rachel and Leah.

• Motherhood the highest calling. ‘Motherhood the highest calling any woman could ever be summoned to.’ Page 93. We are reminded that we need to be thankful that God has given us the gift of children. Conceiving is often very difficult for many women who long to be a mother. Even in our day and age where intervention is available, if our principals allow it. For those of us who have children it is often easy to forget what a privilege we have been given. We should never take motherhood for granted, and should be thankful always that God has given us children.

In today’s world we are often made to feel that being a mum at home is not as important as going out to work or having a ‘career’, but nothing could be further from the truth. As JM puts it ‘She [Hannah] is a reminder that mothers are the makers of men and the architects of the next generation’. Page 94.

• Our example ‘What you communicate to your children through your marital relationship will stay with them for the rest of their lives.’ Page 95. It is important to remember that little eyes and ears are always watching, listening and learning, and the way we interact with our husbands is teaching them some of the most fundamental lessons of life. A sobering thought.

• Hannah trusted God and was faithful. Given Eli’s record as a father and a priest, it must have been a very difficult thing to leave a toddler in his care. It shows how much she trusted the Lord. I cannot imagine parting with my children, or willingly giving them into someone else’s care, especially someone who had himself produced wicked sons. Despite the difficulty of such a decision, Hannah was faithful concerning her vow.

• Hannah left her troubles with the Lord. 1 Samuel 1:18 says that once Hannah had poured her heart out to God, she went away and ate and was no longer sad. Despite the sorrow of her prayers, she was able to leave it in Gods hands. How many of us do this? Do we really leave it with the lord, or do we take it away with us? ‘Hannah truly laid her troubles in the lap of the Lord, totally confident that He would answer her in accord for what was best for her. There’s real humility in that kind of faith, as the apostle Peter noted: “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7) Page 100

• Teaching our children while they're young. We talked about John Newton. During a terrible time in his life he was able to recall the scriptures his mother had taught him, despite her dying when he was very young. It is good thing to teach our children about the Lord when they are young and help them to memorise scripture. They seem to retain much more than we think they are able, and there are many instances of people recalling the scriptures they were taught whilst young, during the darkest trials of their life.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this chapter...


S White said...

Hello bookclub members :) I read Amy's summary of the points raised at bookclub on Chapter 5, 'Hannah'.

I also was struck by the statement on page 94 that 'mothers are the makers of men and the architects of the next generation.' What an incredible statement!

How important our role of motherhood is - our world today does create the illusion that this role is unimportant and it is so easy to fall into discontent and begin to believe that it is secondary to what we could be doing - i.e. pursuing a career, etc and sometimes we are made to feel that we're not up to standard if we're 'just a stay-at-home mum' but just reading about Hannah's life again impressed on me the privilege (and enormous responsibility) we have of raising our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord.

I've tried to imagine what it would be like to know that I only had three years to instill godly values and discipline into my child (she's nearly two now) - and yet Hannah seemed well able to meet this challenge and then to give Samuel into the care of another! Hannah's complete faith and trust in God is brought out so clearly in this chapter.

deb said...

I missed this book club due to family visiting from interstate for my cousin's wedding, so I was especially interested to read Amy & Sharon's thoughts. It really struck me, when I was reading this chapter, about how young Samuel was when Hannah took him to the temple to live with Eli (I know the others touched on this). I think it hit home because Kayla is 3 (nearly 4) and it is overwhelming sometimes how important those first few years are. Of course we know that God is merciful and sovereign and can overcome our weaknesses and sin and poor example etc to our children, but oh how diligent must we be and how much must we earnestly pray for our kids?! God has given us who have children such a precious gift. The time goes so fast ..... It is hard too to find the balance between loving our kids to bits and yet being prepared to sacrifice all for Christ's sake and to love Him so much more......
I also think that people may "look down" on being a stay-at-home mum becuase they don't see what it is that God has called us to -baby sitting kids is easy, "keeping an eye on them", etc etc, but loving, teaching, training, discipling and discipiling - THAT is different - that's hard work and a very high calling! We really need to pray for ourselves and for each other in our roles as wives and mothers...