Keeping Our Promise

 

Theme: Keeping our promises to God - Proper 28(33) Year B
Object: A book of names and their meanings
Scripture: 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." 1 Samuel 1:11a (NIV)

Before you were even born, your parents spent a lot of time deciding what name they would give their new baby. That is a very important decision. After all, when you give a baby a name, it will live with that name for the rest of its life.

One thing your parents considered was the sound of your name. Before they made their final decision, they said the name over and over again to see how it sounded. They wanted to make sure it sounded good with your middle name and your last name.

Your parents also wanted a name that would be special, but they didn't want it to be too strange. They surely didn't want to choose a name that would cause other children to tease you about it. (There was once a Texas governor who named his daughter Ima. Do you know his last name? Hogg! Ima Hogg! Can you imagine how she must have been teased as a child?)

Some names have some special meanings which your parents may have thought about. Maybe they chose a name with a meaning that reflected qualities that they hoped their child would possess. (You might choose some names to give the children an example of name meanings.)

There is a story in the Bible about a woman whose name was Hannah. Her name means "God is gracious." I imagine that Hannah must have sometimes wondered why she was given that name, because it seemed that God had denied her the one thing she wanted more than anything in the world -- a son.

One day, Hannah sat in the temple weeping and praying to God. As she was praying, she made a promise to God. "Oh Lord," Hannah prayed, "if you will look upon me in my misery and give me a son, I will present him back to you to be your servant all the days of his life."

Eli, the priest in the temple stood nearby watching Hannah. He saw her lips moving, but he didn't hear any sound coming from her mouth. He thought that Hannah was drunk! "Not so," Hannah said to Eli, "I have had nothing to drink. I was only pouring out my soul to the Lord."

The priest answered Hannah, "Go in peace, and may God grant you what you have asked of him."

Guess what? God did grant Hannah's request! The Bible tells us that Hannah gave birth to a son and named him Samuel. Do you know why she chose that name for her son? Because Samuel means, "asked of God." Because God heard and answered her prayer, she was faithful to keep her promise to him. When he was old enough, Hannah took Samuel to the temple and there he served the Lord by assisting Eli the priest.

God is so good! He hears and answers the prayers of his people. Sometimes we make promises to God. Are we, like Hannah, faithful in keeping our promises to God? I hope so!

Heavenly Father, you have been faithful to hear and answer our prayers. Help us to be faithful in keeping our promises to you. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.