1 Samuel 1; 2:1-11, 21; Job 2:12, 13; Matthew 6:19, 20; Luke 12:16-21
The struggle to find self-worth is as old as the Old Testament. Many of our Bible heroes struggled, too. The same book that tells their stories declares our worth in God’s eyes.
Blank paper, crayons, pencils
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
A. On one side of a blank piece of paper, draw and color a picture of the way you view yourself. On the opposite side, draw and color a picture of the way you believe God views you. Share your picture with the group.
B. Using the paper and pencils provided, pretend you’re writing a diary entry about an event that caused you to feel bad about yourself. Read it to the class.
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
A. What can the story of Hannah’s low self-esteem teach us about God’s acceptance of us?
B. Thought Questions
Read 1 Samuel 1:6, 7. To what effect do we, like Hannah, let others harm our self-worth?
1. We don’t evaluate who is criticizing us—whether they’re a friend or a foe.
2. We let someone else’s view of us impact our thinking more than God’s view of us.
3. When we’re lacking something, we compare ourselves to those who have more.
4. We often react rather than act on the criticism, letting it hurt us or make us angry.
5. We let the criticism ruin our health.
Read 1 Samuel 1:9-16. When Hannah reached the end of her rope, she went for help. What can her example teach us?
1. Help is always available—we should never give up or turn to addictions to mask our pain.
2. We should first try on our own, as Hannah did, and go to God only when there’s no other help.
3. We can pour out our hearts to God, because God is like a loving parent.
4. It’s okay to defend ourselves when others misunderstand our intentions.
5. The moment we pray, we should trust that God is working out the very best for us.
Read 1 Samuel 2:1-11. Thousands of years later, what can we learn from Hannah’s song?
1. God is a deliverer.
2. God is incomparable.
3. If necessary, God can allow someone to die.
4. God has compassion on the poor and needy.
5. In the end, it is God who judges.
Read 1 Samuel 2:21 and Matthew 6:19, 20. Hannah could have selfishly kept Samuel. Instead, she kept her promise to give him up. How can we apply these two texts in our lives?
1. Whether it’s now or when we get to heaven, God will give us more than we ask.
2. When we make a promise to God, we must keep it.
3. When you bargain with God, sometimes you get more than you bargained for.
4. God loves to surprise us sometimes!
5. The things we ask God for should be things that last for eternity.
Applying the Message of the Scripture
Gather in groups of two or three. Choose one of the following options and work on a solution. After several minutes, report back to the larger group with your findings.
Option 1: There are people in your church who, like Hannah, need to be encouraged. Ask your pastor to have “Encouragement Cards” printed. These index-sized cards are blank except for an encouraging text printed on them, and they are placed in the pew envelope holder. Members write notes to those who need encouragement and place the cards in the offering basket. The cards are mailed by the church office.
Option 2: Discuss some possible scenarios as to what would have happened in biblical history had Hannah not honored her commitment to God. What if she had selfishly kept Samuel?
Option 3: Describe a time when you really wanted or felt you needed something, and God gave it to you. Use this time to share God’s goodness. If time allows, tell the group about a time when you asked God for something but God said “No.” How did you hold on to your faith?
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
A. What pain have you been clinging to? Now is the time to pour out your heart like Hannah did. Jesus knows your pain and won’t be shocked by your emotions. Lay it all before the Lord and wait expectantly for what will happen in the days ahead.
B. Has God blessed you beyond your asking? Write your own song of praise like Hannah did. Keep it to read as a reminder during those times when you feel discouraged and think God isn’t listening.
Next Week’s Scripture Focus:
1 Samuel 14:6-13, 24-46; 18; 19; 31:1-7; 2 Samuel 1:5-12; 2 Kings 6:8-17