Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2010
Scripture: 1 Samuel 1; 1 Samuel 2:1-11, 21; Job 2:12, 13; Matthew 6:19, 20; Luke 12:16-21.
Bristol Palin was not a household name until she was introduced as Sarah Palin's daughter and unmarried teen mom-to-be in 2008. Since the birth of her son, Bristol has become a public advocate for teen pregnancy prevention. After some major magazine articles about her and most recently appearing on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars 1, Bristol is no longer a shadow figure of her mother.
Lesser known television “stars” are Catelynn and Tyler of MTV’s reality show, “Teen Mom”. They were first introduced on MTV’s “16 and Pregnant”. Unlike Bristol who is parenting her child alone, in anticipation of the birth of their daughter, Catelynn and boyfriend Tyler decided to make an open adoption plan with an adoption agency.
According to the Tyler and Catelynn website, the couple chose Brandon and Teresa to parent their daughter, Carly. Brandon and Teresa are described by Tyler as “a well-rounded, religious family from North Carolina”. The couple, whose last name remains anonymous, was unable to conceive children of their own and agreed to an open adoption with Catelynn and Tyler.
In Tyler’s words: “We only did what we thought was the best for our daughter. I believe that when you become a parent no matter what the age you have to put that child before yourself and it is your job to deliver that innocent child the absolute best possible life.” 2
Our Bible study this week introduces us to Hannah and Elkanah. Like Teresa and Brandon, they were unable to conceive a child. In their culture life revolved around children. After all God had made a covenant with Abraham that was all about families multiplying and inheriting land.
Because she was unable to get pregnant, not only did Hannah feel she failed her husband in not giving him a son to carry on the family name, but also she felt like a failure in the sight of God. Those in her community believed a woman who was unable to conceive a child was being punished by God for a sin she committed.
Hannah’s feeling of worth plummeted even more when her husband, Elkanah brought home wife number two who became pregnant with a son right away. Scripture tells us that Peninnah provoked Hannah severely to make her miserable. Hannah became a shadow figure in her own home. Even in public at religious festivals Peninnah demeaned Hannah to the point Hannah wept and wouldn’t eat.
Three times a year all the men of Israel appeared before God in Jerusalem. (See Exodus 23:17) Eli was the high priest in the tabernacle of the Lord and his two sons were priests. It was during one of the family’s journey to the tabernacle that Hannah made a vow in prayer before the Lord. She promised that if she were given a son, she would return him back to the Lord to serve all of his life. Hannah made an open adoption plan with God for the son she did not have at that time.
When Samuel was three years old, Hannah kept her vow to the Lord. She did what she felt was best for her child. For her faithfulness, the Lord blessed Hannah with three more sons and two daughters.
(Note of caution: It will be important for teachers of this Bible lesson to be sensitive to the hearts of those in the class; a teen mom parenting alone, couples without children, parents of adopted children as well as anyone who as a child may have had a mother who made an adoption plan and did what she felt was best for her child.)