TEXT: 1 Samuel 1:9-28; 2:18-21
The students will review how God answered Hannah's prayer for a son and helped her dedicate Samuel to the work of the Lord.
BIBLE LESSON OUTLINE
Introduction: If possible, have someone bring to class a real baby. If not possible, use a photo of a baby. Discuss how precious and special a baby is to its mother.
Progression of Events:
- Hannah vowed that if the Lord would give her a son, she would return him unto the Lord.
- Eli rebuked her for drunkenness, but she explained her petition to the Lord.
- God granted Hannah's request and gave her a son, Samuel.
- Hannah kept her vow, and when Samuel was weaned she took him to the house of the Lord.
Climax: Hannah visited Samuel every year, bringing him a little coat.
Conclusion: God answered Hannah's prayer, and she was faithful in fulfilling her vow to Him.
Response: Your students will be able to retell the story of Hannah and Samuel.
The spiritual condition of Israel had reached a low point. Some 300 years earlier Joshua had led the people into the Promised Land. They had failed to complete God's command to drive out the wicked inhabitants and had adopted some of their evil practices. Because of this God allowed these heathen nations to trouble Israel to cause them to turn back to Him. When the people repented and cried out to God He sent them judges to lead them out of their trouble. However, they soon forgot God and returned to their evil ways. At this period of time, the nation was in one of these backslidden states. But Hannah, the barren wife of Elkanah, began to call on God.
Barrenness in that culture was viewed as a punishment from God and a great reproach. However, in those days of great spiritual darkness, this woman's faith in God was very much alive. Not only did she see her own need but the needs of the nation as well and promised to allow God full control of her son. God heard her prayer and she was granted a son whom she named Samuel, meaning "asked of God." In 1 Samuel 2:1-10 Hannah expressed a song of joy for God's blessing.
As Samuel and his mother experienced the sacrifice of separation, he must have realized that dedication and faithfulness to God was even more important than family relationships. This is in contrast with Eli and his relationships with his undisciplined sons.
- Glove Puppets. Glue a small piece of Velcro onto each finger of a white work glove. Glue the other side of the Velcro to a yarn pompon. Then trim with yarn, felt, moveable eyes, etc., into Bible characters, animals, etc. Attach pompon characters to glove with Velcro. This way, you may change characters for different stories. Insert hand into glove, work individual fingers as you tell the story. One glove with characters could be provided for each student. These gloves could be kept by the teacher and used now and then in class as an activity. This could also be adapted for use as finger puppets. Children could tell the story in their own words.
- Let the children color the pictures of Hannah praying in the Temple with Eli behind her, and then the one of Hannah alone. Cut out and color the baby Samuel (see Patterns). Glue the baby in the mother's arms. The children could also glue a small piece of flannel to the baby's blanket.
- Stick Puppets—Cut out shapes of Hannah praying, Elkanah, Eli, baby Samuel, boy Samuel and Samuel's new coat (see Patterns). Cut them in duplicate from light cardboard or heavy construction paper. Let the children draw on faces, etc. They may color the figures if you wish. Older children may want to add bits of material, yarn for hair, etc. Faces may be cut from magazines and glued on also. Insert tongue depressor or ice cream stick between the shapes and glue them. You may make a stage for the puppets from a shoe box or posterboard. Cut an opening in the lid of the shoe box. Tape the lid to the box. Cut out the bottom of the shoe box and let puppets appear before the opening. For the posterboard, cut a rectangular piece, then cut out an opening. Cut two narrow pieces as tall as the rectangle and tape onto the sides for flaps to make the stage stand up. Or you could just fold the sides back. Let each child make a set of figures and a stage. Let them act out the story. They can take it home and tell it to others.
- Give each child a paper doll representing Samuel wearing a simple garment, and a coat for them to cut out (see Patterns). Make a pocket slit on each coat. Allow the children to color and decorate the coat with marking pens. As they do, discuss how Hannah no doubt labored over details and decorations on each little coat she made for her son. Give each child a little slip of paper on which to write a short note from Hannah to Samuel. Slip the note in the slit made in the pocket.
- What did Hannah pray for?
- What did Hannah promise to give God if He answered her prayer?
- What are some things you think Hannah taught Samuel?
- What actions on Hannah's part showed how very much she wanted a baby son?
- Hannah said unto God, "Remember me. . .. " What does this tell you about the way Hannah lived?
- How should we live if we want God to remember us, to hear and answer our prayers?
- What is a word we sometimes use when a promise is made to God? What did Hannah promise God?
- When we promise God something, how important is it that we keep that promise? Why?
- Why is it important also that we keep our promises to our friends?
- How did God answer Hannah's prayer and how did she keep her promise to God?
- How did Samuel respond, or react, to the consecration his mother made regarding him?
- What might be some of the character traits Hannah helped to instill in Samuel?
- Action Play—Do What Hannah Did. Ask each child to find a spot in the room which will be his own "space." Each child should return to his own place when you say "space." Give the following directions one at a time. Allow the children time to carry out the directions, then say "space" before giving the next direction.
1. Show how Hannah prayed for a son.
2. Show how Hannah washed Samuel's clothes.
3. Show how Hannah fixed Samuel's food.
4. Show how Hannah sewed coats for Samuel.
5. Show how Hannah looked when Samuel was naughty.
6. Show how Hannah took Samuel to the Temple.
7. Show how Hannah thanked God for Samuel.
8. Show how Hannah walked to the Temple.
9. Show how Hannah walked to the altar and prayed.
10. Show how Hannah walked home, and show by your face how she felt when God answered her prayer.
11. Show how Hannah carried the baby Samuel.
12. Show how Hannah held Samuel's hand and took Samuel for walks.
- Cut out the four small pictures showing events in the story of Hannah (see Patterns). Let your children arrange the pictures in the correct order, as a way of reviewing the story.
- Make finger puppets of the boy Samuel for each of your students (see Patterns). Color them, and then cover with clear plastic contact paper before cutting out. Allow each child to "do" little chores with his finger puppet in a small Temple interior you have set up. For example, he could hold a small square of cloth to dust a little table, or sweep with a little broom.
- The story of Hannah is a perfect story for dramatization as a pantomime. Enlist the help of some of your students who are uninhibited about really acting the parts.
- Bring in a real baby. Let the children look at him and hold him, if possible. Discuss how much the mommy and daddy love him and how they care for him. Tell how they prayed for him before he was born and want him to grow up to serve the Lord. Then review the story of Hannah, and how much she loved her baby–yet she dedicated him to the Lord. Have a small boy come out and pretend to sweep or dust. How did Samuel's mommy feel? She was happy because she was keeping her promise to God and because her son was working for the Lord.
- Stories About Samuel — Pict-o-graph, Standard Publishing
- Samuel, Samuel — Magic Picture Book, David C. Cook
- Happy Hannah — Happy Day Book, Standard Publishing
- The Little Boy Samuel — by Jane Belk Moncure, Standard Publishing