Hannah and Samuel
The time of the judges was turbulent for God’s people. The Israelites had conquered the promised land of Canaan, but after Joshua’s death, they fell into a cycle of sin. This was the culture in which Hannah and her husband Elkanah lived. They were ordinary Israelites—Elkanah, a devoted worshiper of the Lord; and Hannah, a woman who wanted nothing more than to be a mother. But the Lord had closed her womb. (1 Sam. 1:5)
One year, when Elimelech went to make sacrifices and worship God, Hannah went too. She could no longer hide her grief over being childless. She prayed so fervently to the Lord—asking for a child and vowing to dedicate him to God—that Eli the priest rebuked her because he thought she was drunk.
God answered Hannah’s prayers, and she named her son Samuel, which means “requested from God.” When Samuel was old enough to wean, Hannah presented him to Eli. First Samuel 2 records Hannah’s triumphant prayer. Hannah glorified God for His sovereignty; then she went home with her husband, leaving Samuel to serve God under the leadership of Eli.
Hannah visited Samuel each year and brought him a robe. Samuel faithfully served God. On the other hand, Eli’s sons—though they were priests—had no regard for God. They did not listen to Eli, so God rejected Eli’s family. This hard news came to Eli through the boy Samuel.
Review 1 Samuel 3. Note how Samuel responded to God’s call: “Speak, for your servant is listening.” This week, help your kids identify Samuel’s role as God’s messenger. God called Hannah’s son to share God’s plan. Lead them to them connect Samuel to Jesus.Samuel used God’s words to tell the people what God is like. John 1:1 says that Jesus is the Word. Jesus—the Son of God—told the world about God’s plan and showed what God is like.
Check this session’s Activity Page and Big Picture Card as well as the Gospel Project for Kids Family App for ways to interact with the Bible content this week.
FAMILY STARTING POINTS
| Babies and Toddlers
God is greater than anything.
God heard Hannah’s prayer.
God used Samuel to tell His words to the people.
Jesus told people God’s words.
Is anything greater than God? No, God is greater than everything.
God spoke to Hannah’s son Samuel.
Is anything or anyone greater than God? No, God is greater than everything and everyone.
God called Hannah’s son to share God’s plan.
UNIT KEY PASSAGE
“The Ark Was Captured” (1 Samuel 4–6)