“For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him:” (1 Samuel 1:27)
“Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there.” (1 Samuel 1:28)
In the Old Testament, a sacrifice was a form of a man’s worship and devotion to the Lord God of Israel. When he brought his offering unto the Lord, it was to be from his heart.
There was a time in Israel’s history – for which they were rebuked by the prophet Malachi – when they were bringing half-hearted sacrifices. Instead of choosing the lambs without spot or blemish, they were offering the animals that were torn, lame, and sick (Malachi 1:12-14). God was displeased with their unfaithful hearts, and sent a word of correction.
This was not the case with Hannah in 1 Samuel, chapter one. Hannah had a sacrifice that came from her heart. As Hannah offered up her one and only son, she became an example to all of those who would desire to please God with a sacrifice from the heart. Hannah’s dedication was a service to the Kingdom of God that will never be forgotten; and it would do us a great favor to observe some of the principles by which she was led.
First, Hannah’s dedication was made out of her love for God. It is so easy to be led in our offerings and sacrifices unto God with self-centered ambitions. When we give things up, or lay down habits, we tend to do it out of a “What’s in it for me?” attitude. Hannah expected nothing in return. Samuel was a free-will offering from her heart, with no other motive than her love for the Lord. When Hannah prayed for her son, she prayed with a vow in mind. That vow being – when God gave her this son, she was going to give him back. Hannah loved the Lord because the Lord loved her first; and her love was in deed and in truth.
Secondly, Hannah’s dedication was made out of her faithfulness to God. It’s so easy to get in a jam in life and then start making a bunch of promises to God. Then when God moves on our behalf, we forget all about God. Not so with Hannah. In the middle of Hannah’s affliction, she cried out to God in faithfulness that when God performed His salvation from her affliction, she would perform her dedication.
Vows, in the nation of Israel, were a very serious thing. Psalms 76:11 says, “Vow, and pay unto the LORD your God...” When we make vows or promises to God, or to others; it would be best that we follow through with our promises to God, and to others. Otherwise, we would do ourselves a great favor to just let our communication be yea, yea; and nay, nay; to the glory of God. Amen!
Finally, Hannah’s dedication was made out of her thanksgiving unto God. One of the spiritual sacrifices made mention of by the Psalmist was the sacrifice of thanksgiving. Psalms 116:17-18 reads:
“I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.” (Psalms 116:17)
“I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people,” (Psalms 116:18)
When Hannah offered up Samuel for the rest of his life unto the Lord, she wasn’t sad or grieved. Though it was a sacrifice, it was done out of thankfulness. Many times when people pay tithes or give offerings, it is done out of a heart that murmurs and complain. Such sacrifices the Lord is not well-pleased with. When we give, we should always do it in thankfulness – because the Lord loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7). Even if it is all we have, and it is going to hurt us – we should still do it cheerfully, or not do it at all.
Our dedications unto God are an issue of our hearts. We must be led by right principles and right motives; or our dedication will not be acceptable unto the Lord. Whether our dedication is time, money, fasting, ministry, or prayer – we must examine ourselves, and do these things out of the free-will of hearts of faith. When we do so, I am certain that we will see a rich harvest as we reap the blessings of God.