Last week we looked at how the Lord spoke to the young boy named Samuel to tell him what his life work was going to be. We learned that before Samuel was born, his mother Hannah had dedicated him to the Lord. Here is her prayer when she gave him to God:
One time, after they had finished their meal in the house of the Lord at Shiloh, Hannah got up. She was deeply distressed, and she cried bitterly as she prayed to the Lord. Meanwhile, Eli the priest was sitting in his place by the door. Hannah made a solemn promise: “Lord Almighty, look at me, your servant! See my trouble and remember me! Don't forget me! If you give me a son, I promise that I will dedicate him to you for his whole life and that he will never have his hair cut” (1 Samuel 1:9-11 GNT).
Hannah made the unusual promise that if God gave her a son, she would see to it that he would never get a haircut! Why is that? What was the significance of such a vow? Let's try to see what the Lord can teach you this week about His will for your life from this story.
Very often in the Bible, God uses everyday things to teach spiritual lessons. Things like oil, doves, water, bread, and lambs all have some special meaning for us that speak to us about God and His will for us. But what about not getting a haircut? What could that possibly teach us about God's will and purpose for your life? Let's think about that for a moment and ask God to help us understand.
Think about your hair. What color is it? Does it grow fast or not so much? Is it fine or thick? Is it curly or straight? Your hair is unique to you. In fact, if someone examined your hair with special scientific instruments, they could find out it belonged to you and no one else on earth! Nobody has hair like you, not even your brothers or sisters. God gave you your hair and all its special characteristics. It comes out of you and you have nothing to do with it until after it grows.
Once your hair grows, you are free to do with it what you want. You can allow it to grow long or cut it short. You can change your hair style as often as you wish. You can find a style that you like and keep it for the rest of your life if you want to. You can change its color. The point is that your hair is yours, and you are free to do what you like with it—even if you want to shave it all off.
Now, let's go back to Hannah's prayer. She promised no one would touch her son's hair. If we think of that as a symbol, Hannah was actually saying, "God, if You give me a son, I won't try to make him who I think he should be. I won't allow others to do so either. I won't try to shape or fashion his life to how I would like to it to turn out. Whoever you make him to be is who he will be, and I as his mother won't interfere. He belongs to you."
So Hannah was saying she wasn't going to try and make her son a doctor, lawyer, or farmer. She was going to cooperate with whatever came out of her son for him to be, which was symbolized by his hair. His long hair would indicate that he was a man of purpose, made so by God's will for his life.
Just like God has given you unique hair, He has given you a special purpose, something only you can do and be. Just like your hair, you haven't done anything special to make it part of your life. But once you know your purpose, you can then help make it all it can be. You can go to school, get special training, practice, or set up a business to make your purpose something that looks good on you—just like you do with your hair.
What comes out of you that is special to you? Is it music or art? Do science or math come more easily for you than your friends? Do you have special athletic abilities? Think of those things as your hair. God gave them to you and they are not yours to do what you want. Instead, you are to develop them so God can use them to reach others and do His will. So now that you see you have a purpose and it's very much like your hair, you can work to care for your purpose just like you do your hair, giving it some attention every day as you become the person God created you to be.