Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Here's Nancy Leigh DeMoss with a special announcement.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I just want to take a moment and remind you of two upcoming events that I know many of our listeners will be interested in. These are area-wide Revive Our Hearts Conferences that we will be hosting in the month of February.

On February 1 & 2 we will be in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area in Florida. And then the last weekend of February (February 29 - March 1), we'll be in the Houston area.

These conferences are Friday night and all day Saturday. During the conference we'll spend time looking in to the Word of God and letting Him search our hearts and show us the pathway to true revival.

We'll also be led in worship through each of these weekends by my friend, Shannon Wexelberg. If you've not heard Shannon, you'll be so blessed her tender heart and her passionate love for Jesus Christ.

So if you've not been to a Revive Our Hearts Conference before, or even if you have and you just need a refresher, check your calendar—particularly if you live in Texas or Florida and can join us February 1 - 2 in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area or February 29 - March 1 in the Houston area.

I look forward to meeting many of our Revive Our Hearts listeners on one of those two weekends.

Leslie: For more information and to register, visit ReviveOurHearts.com, or call 800-569-5959.

Leslie Basham: Have you ever formally dedicated your children to the Lord? Why would you do something like that? Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Let me tell you one thing, this will keep you from fear because God takes good care of His property. Once you’ve given your children to the Lord, you will be more secure than when you’re holding onto your children. But it will also give you, as you rear those children, an awesome sense of responsibility because God expects you to take good care of His property, that which you’ve dedicated to Him.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It’s Tuesday, January 15.

You feed, clothe, and comfort your children. You spend hours cooking for them, driving them places and helping them with schoolwork. You teach them and invest in their future. But really, they’re not yours. Our children are on loan from God. Today we’ll see what it means to dedicate our children to the Lord. Here’s Nancy in a series called Hannah’s Prayer and God’s Power.

Nancy: One of the things that I really appreciate about the way that my parents raised us children is that from the time we were born we were dedicated to God; we were consecrated to God for His purposes.

My dad would tell us, “I don’t care what profession you have, but I want to make sure that you’re serving the Lord.” He just wanted us to be in the will of God wherever that was, whatever that meant. We were given over to the Lord.

That gave a sense of release to us, but it also gave an awesome sense of responsibility. We realized from a very young age we did not belong to ourselves; we belonged to the Lord. And above anything my parents desired was that we would be His servants, that we would worship the Lord.

As we’ve been studying the story of Hannah and now this precious, long-awaited son, Samuel, that God gives to her, we’re seeing that Hannah is a woman who, through the years of waiting, has developed a sense of intentionality and purpose about this child. Here’s a woman who is not just going to have this child for her own pleasure and enjoyment. This child has been dedicated to the Lord. He belongs to God; he’s consecrated to God for His purposes.

So we’re picking up with a narrative in 1 Samuel 1. I hope you are following along in your Bible. Hannah has had this child Samuel. She’s kept him in her home for the three years (approximately) that she was nursing him with the intent that when she had finished nursing him she would take him to the temple and give him to God to be raised there for the Lord’s service.

Follow with me beginning at verse 24. “When she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and she brought him to the house of the LORD at Shiloh. And the child was young.” Probably about three years old.

They slaughtered the bull, and they brought the child to Eli. The fact that she took her child at three years of age to the temple to be given over to God’s service should not be considered normative for a mother. God does not intend that you take your three-year-old child anywhere outside your home to be raised by someone else if it’s not absolutely necessary.

But in this case I do believe that God, in light of His purposes for the nation at that time, ordained that she was to take this child and give him over to the Lord’s service. Keep in mind, she knew. She’d been going to the tabernacle for years. She knew the spiritual condition of the priesthood. She knew this was not going to be a great, wholesome environment in which to raise her son.

So she had to really be trusting in God to take care of this child. And in fact, God did. God put a hedge of protection around that child and in the rest of 1 Samuel 2 and 3—we’re not going to get into it in this series—you’ll see that Samuel’s life is a constant contrast to the lives of Eli the priest and Hophni and Phinehas, Eli’s corrupt sons. God protected this child.

Raising your children today—don’t you have to trust that God will protect and keep the hearts of your children? Even if you never take them anywhere, they’re still being exposed to so much stuff in this world. You need God’s protection over your children. I can guarantee you that Hannah was praying and continually consecrating this child to God’s care.

So she went to the tabernacle, took the child, they slaughtered the bull of sacrifice and gave the child to Eli. And she said in verses 26-28 speaking to Eli, “Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence praying to the LORD. For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the LORD. As long as he lives, he is lent to the LORD.”

Lent is probably not the best translation there. When we think of lending something we think of giving it to somebody for a while but we’re going to get it back. What she’s really saying is, “I have asked of this child from the Lord and now I’m giving him back to God. I have dedicated my child to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is dedicated to God.”

The word to be lent or dedicated is the same word that is used in verse 27, “The Lord is granting me my petition that I have asked of him.” It’s the same root word—petition, asked, and given back to God.

You see how prayer and sacrifice and dedication are all linked together? God gives us something to be stewards of and we dedicate it back to Him. She’s giving back to God that which He has given in response to her request.

I think of that verse in 1 Chronicles 29 where King David is praying a prayer dedicating the offerings that have been brought to build the temple. And David says, “Oh, God, everything comes from you and we have given you only what comes from your hand” (verse 14, paraphrased).

God gives to us; we give it back to Him. Anything we give to the Lord is His to start with. We’re just giving Him back that which belongs to Him.

And may I remind you that your children are a gift from the Lord and that you have a responsibility to give your children back to the Lord? Dedicate your children to God. Consecrate your children to God for His purposes.

Let me tell you one thing, this will keep you from fear because God takes good care of His property. Once you’ve given your children to God, you will be more secure than when you’re holding onto your children. But it will also give you, as you rear those children, an awesome sense of responsibility because God expects you to take good care of His property, that which you’ve dedicated to Him.

So as you dedicate your children to God for His use and His purposes and His kingdom, let your children know that they belong to God.

Notice here, too, that Hannah did not forget her commitment and her promise to God once God gave her the desire of her heart. She fulfilled her vow. There was no turning back. I’m reminded that it’s important when we make promises to God that we keep those promises. You dedicate your children to God, then don’t try to control and run and own their lives.

Then we see that the child worshiped the Lord in the temple. Three years of age! He’s a toddler. That says to me that your children, no matter what age, are not too young to be worshipers of God. He followed in the steps of his godly parents contrary to the godless culture around him. That’s your goal, moms, grandmoms, to raise your children, to train your children to be worshipers of God whether anyone else does or not.

I was talking on the phone the other day with a dear friend about the whole story of Hannah and what God was teaching me through this passage. She began to tell me about an occasion in her life that took place many years ago, the point when she had a 16-month-old son, her firstborn, and she was expecting her second child. And, by the way, I asked her permission to share this story.

She was looking at that 16-month-old son, knowing that she was expecting her second child, and she sensed that God was saying to her, “Will you give me your children?” She said she looked at that son, cute as he could be; she thought about this child she was carrying; she was early in the pregnancy. She thought about all that it might mean for God to have her children and she said, “I told God ‘no.’ I said, ‘You can’t have my children.’”

As she was telling me this, she said, “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve confessed to the Lord over the years that my first response was ‘no.’” She said, “I’ve always regretted that I didn’t say ‘yes’ immediately.” But she said, “Honestly I said, ‘No you can’t take my children.’”

Shortly thereafter she learned that the child she was carrying had a very serious birth defect and that his life could be threatened. She did not even know if the child would live after she gave birth.

She carried that child to birth, that child who is now a teenager and with some continuing effects, but God spared the life of that child. She didn’t know it was going to happen. She said, “I came to realize that I can give my children to God willingly and graciously, or I can try to hold back. But the fact is: God’s in control. God’s going to do what He wants to do with my children.”

She said that during that progression, as she was carrying that child with the birth defect, she said, “Oh, God, I’m sorry. I realize that You’re in control, and I want You to have my children.”

Then she said something I thought was so sweet, now years later. She said, “Over the years, I’ve moved beyond that and I’ve prayed, ‘Lord please take my children and have them and do something with them that will bring glory to You.’” Not just reluctantly—“You can have them”—but God, I want You to use my children for Your purposes and Your glory. That’s all that matters.

She said, “It took a slap in the face, so to speak, to realize that it was about more than me and my cute little kids. It’s all about God.”

Worshiping, surrender, dedication, dedicating yourself to the Lord, your children, your hopes, your dreams, your mate, your marriage, your home, everything. Now from the human standpoint it may seem that the story is complete, but the story is not over.

Chapter 2, verse 1 says, “And Hannah prayed and said, ‘My heart exults in the LORD: my strength is exalted in the LORD. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation.’”

For the next several verses, we have a prayer of thanksgiving. That’s an important part of this story. How often do we pray and plead with God and beg God to give us something, ask Him to fulfill the longings of our hearts? Then He gives us in due time what we have desired and we forget to thank Him. We forget to praise when He gives answers, thank Him for His answers. Don’t forget to praise the Lord.

A balanced prayer life will have petition and praise, making requests and giving thanksgiving. When we don’t have the thing we want, we’re motivated to pray because we know there’s no other way. That’s our only option. But so many times when we get what we want, we go back to forgetting God. Don’t forget to thank God; have a grateful heart, a thanking heart.

As I see Hannah’s psalm of praise here, because that’s really what it is, I’m also reminded of God’s promise that “weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5, NKJV). God promises that one day tears will be wiped away; there will be no more death or sorrow or mourning or grieving. There will be only joy and praise.

So if you find yourself in a night of weeping right now, you find yourself where Hannah was in chapter 1, distressed, distraught, provoked by your adversaries, all those things Hannah went through, unfulfilled longings, remember that the day is coming when you, like Hannah, will be able to sing a psalm of praise.

You can praise the Lord now, and you need to praise the Lord now. But the time will come when the request of your heart will be granted and God will give the privilege of giving up a sacrifice of thanksgiving and praise to Him.

We get so despondent because we don’t see the big picture. We forget that this is not it, that God is not finished, that He is fulfilling His plans and His purposes. And they will always be good ones if you’re a child of God.

To put Hannah’s prayer of praise in context, keep in mind that here is a woman who has just had a great answer to prayer. So you say, “Of course she’s praising the Lord. She got the son she wanted.”

But remember also that she has just made an enormous personal sacrifice. She has given her only child up, the one she longed for and waited for and prayed for; she has given him up for God’s service. At three years of age, she has sent this child to live in the tabernacle.

We said earlier that should not be considered a model or normative for how children are dedicated to the Lord today. But some of you, as moms, find your children in their late teens, their college years, wanting to go to the mission field, feeling God’s calling to a type of ministry that takes them away from you. As you dedicate your child to the Lord, there’s a sorrow. There’s a sense of loss. There’s joy that your children are following the Lord and that they’re obeying God, but there's a sense of giving up something very precious.

So here is Hannah having given up this child and yet we find her not grieving the loss, though certainly she had a natural mother’s heart. But we find her rejoicing, praising the Lord.

Why? How can she do that at a time like this? She’s leaving the tabernacle and going back home the same way she had for years and years before, with empty arms. So why, this time, is she able to praise the Lord instead of the despondent, depressed sort of behavior she’d experienced before?

I’ll tell you why. Because here is a woman who has come to live for the glory of God, who cares more about His redemptive purposes in the world and the advancement of His kingdom throughout the world than she cares about her own personal happiness. In fact, she’s come to the place where what makes her really happy is for God to be pleased, for the name of God to go out through the earth, which God is going to do through her son.

She knows that God’s purposes are being fulfilled. And so she rejoices, in spite of the fact that she no longer has that child to hold in her arms. This is the same woman who before had been anxious and heavy-hearted and troubled and sorrowful.

What has happened? Her focus has shifted. Her focus used to be on herself, on this rival wife who tormented her, on her problems, her needs, her burden, her circumstances, her unfulfilled longings.

A lot of the emails and letters I get from women are from women who still have their focus right there. My heart goes out to them, and I feel some of their pain and some of their grief. But I want to tell you when freedom will come. It’s exactly what happened to Hannah. It’s when your focus is transferred from yourself and your world and your problems, to God—His character, His ways, His plan, His kingdom, His purposes in the world.

That doesn’t mean we won’t have pain. This side of heaven there will be pain, there will be sorrow, there will be loss. There will be people who provoke us. But it means we can still be praising God because we are satisfied in Him and we see that His purposes are being fulfilled. That’s when petition turns to praise. So tell God your needs. Pour out your heart before Him.

But don’t forget to thank Him for His answers. And remember something that Hannah discovered here. She said, “My heart exults in the LORD: my strength is exalted in the LORD. I rejoice in Your salvation.” Hannah has learned that true joy is not found in anything or anyone other than God Himself.

What is she saying? “Lord, You’re enough. My joy, ultimately, is not in having a son.” She used to think that’s what would make her happy in the same way that some of you think that having a child or having a mate or having this job or having this money or having this house or having this new furniture will make you happy.

And it probably would for a little bit. But she’s come to the place where she realizes there’s nothing on this planet that can satisfy me like God. My happiness is in Him. My joy is in Him. Lord, You are enough. My praise, my delight is in You, the Giver, not the things You can give to me. You are the source of my satisfaction.

Ladies, you’ll never be happy, truly happy, you’ll never know true joy until you have found your joy and your satisfaction in God and God alone. You can come to the place where you say, “My heart exalts in the Lord. I rejoice in Your salvation.”

If you’re familiar with the New Testament Scriptures, the words we’ve just read of Hannah’s prayer will sound familiar to you because Hannah’s prayer actually became the basis for another woman 1,100 years later to sing a psalm of praise. Do you remember who that was? It was Mary of Nazareth.

Luke chapter 1—you may want to turn there—verses 46-47, after Mary received the word that she was to be the mother of the Messiah, she said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” Verse 49: “Holy is his name.”

We’re going to see, as we get further in Hannah’s prayer, that Hannah exalts the holiness of God, and then Mary’s words in verses 51-53 of Luke 1 are similar to the words that follow in Hannah’s prayer.

Mary says, “He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their heart; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.”

Those words in 1 Samuel chapter 2 come from Hannah’s prayer—1,100 years later! What kind of psalm, what kind of legacy are you leaving for the women who will follow after you? Can you imagine that ten years or 100 years or, should the Lord tarry, 1,100 years from now some woman that we cannot imagine existing may be singing a psalm of praise, a prayer of praise to the Lord because of a song, a psalm of praise that our lives sang that echoed down from generation to generation and became a basis for someone else’s praise?

It’s another picture that we don’t live for ourselves. We’re so now-centered, so self-centered. But here there’s a chain, there’s a legacy. It’s that relay race where the baton is passed on from one generation to the next. What you do now matters.

If you live a depressed, moaning, groaning, complaining, whining life, that’s the legacy you’re leaving. But if you live a life of praise, a life of deep satisfaction in God, you are leaving, not only for your family but for their children and their children and the next generation, a legacy of praise.

Ladies, I want to leave a psalm for other women to sing. I want to leave a song for your daughters and their daughters and their daughters. And I want it to be a song of faith, a song of praise. I want it to be a God-centered song. I want it to be a song of adoration and exaltation. So sing that song now and let God cause it to echo down the corridors of time and ring in the hearts of those yet to be born, all for the fame of His name and the glory of our great God.

Leslie: What kind of song are you singing? Is it the kind of song that will affect the generations to follow? Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been giving us an important challenge today. She’ll be right back to pray.

You can respond to today’s message by investing in the lives of your children, but you can also use it to invest in the lives of other moms. Nancy’s teaching is available on a DVD called Hannah: A Passion for the Glory of God. You could show this DVD to a small group and then lead a discussion on it. You can find out more by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com, or order by calling toll free 1-800-569-5959.

Investing in your family is one of the most important things you can do. There’s another way you can invest in future generations, though. It’s to support Revive Our Hearts with your financial gift. We help young wives and moms learn to embrace God’s call on their lives. We help them learn the truths of God’s Word so they can pass those truths onto their children. Your gift will help us continue.

When you donate this month, we’ll say thanks by sending you a very helpful workbook Nancy wrote called A 30 Day Walk With God in the Psalms. This workbook will help you dig into the meaning of one psalm each day. It will help you really understand it. You’ll be able to think through ways each passage affects your day to day life.

Ask for A 30 Day Walk With God in the Psalms when you make a donation by phone. The toll free number is 1-800-569-5959, or order online at ReviveOurHearts.com.

A mom is in a special position to demonstrate trust in God. We’ll find out more tomorrow. Now here’s Nancy to pray with us.

Nancy: My soul does magnify the Lord and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. Oh, Lord, may that be my song today and tomorrow and the next day and every day for the rest of my life. And may that song be passed on from one generation to the next, for You are great and You are God and You are good and glorious is Your name. We rejoice in You. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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