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Sacrifice in Marriage

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Last week we talked about dysfunction. I would encourage you all, if you missed last week, check out the website and watch it as it will lay the foundations for today and the rest of the series.
We are going through a series on marriage and we are looking at how God wants to be the foundation of your marriage and the center of your marriage.
Last week Rodney talked about dysfunction in marriage and this week we are going to talk about sacrifice in marriage. What you’re going to see is that often times dysfunction can be a result of sacrifice. Meaning, you give something up and then is weighs on your soul. It constantly bites at you making yuo regret your decision.
When we think about Marriage and sacrifice, the two are not mutually exclusive. Marriage is a sacrifice.
If you go into marriage thinking you aren’t going to sacrifice anything, you will get hit by a fully loaded train of reality.
From the beginning of marriage to the very end, sacrifice happens all along the way.
Marriage starts as a the surrender of two individuals coming together to become one flesh.
Then you find out your pregnant and then your world get even tighter. You are required to give up even more for the sake of your kids.
I asked my wife to help me think of the 3 main things we have to sacrifice as young parents of two little girls.
She quickly listed off about 20 and made me forget the question I was even asking.
She said the most difficult of all was giving up caffeine during pregnancy.
Our quick list of sacrifices.
Never getting to eat warm meals
Never taking a shower or a bathroom alone
Rarely having the ability to have conversations with spouse with a attention needy child hanging off your arm.
Silence (Pause) - “I needed that”; “this message is very therapeutic for me”
The top three sacrifices we make in marriage with young kids.
Personal Space
You are the official zoo keeper of the Westby state zoo.
All the fears of raising kids.
Our lifegroup sent out a message about eating out for lunch today, everyone promptly responded but the Westby’s have yet to.
Sacrifice in Action
If you ever want to see sacrifice in action, just turn around and look at the back 3 rows. That is where my wife and I sit because thats where the families with young kids are put.
In fact last week my wife set the example of sacrifice in action. We were sitting in the second to last row with our two girls; Rodney was in the middle of his sermon. I left to talk with Greg the worship guy and after about 5 minutes I see the door fling open and my wife come barreling out of the sanctuary with Junie, our 7 month old in hand. Her frantic eyes locked with mine and she calmly but desperately said, “Get your daughter!” I looked past my frantic/quiet wife to my little 3 year old, Elsie to see her lips pucker up and then start to cry, loudly. I quickly ran in, grabbed her and pulled her out. As i was moving in to remove the child, Rodney did what he normally does and gives the, “if you have a crying kid feel free to take them to the nursery or walk around out in the lobby.” We were that family last week.
If you want to see what it looks like to stay sane in the midst of a dysfunctional marriage; if you want to prepare yourself for the sacrifices to come or learn how to maintain sanity in the sacrifice you are in, then join me in our story today.
In our story we enter into the beginning of the book of Samuel by looking at the life and Marriage of two people who will quickly become three. It is the marriage of Elkanah and Hannah.
Main Points
Elkanah was a god fearing man. He regularly made sacrifices to the Lord at Shiloh. He imparted that desire to please God into his kids by bringing them with.
Elkanah is a godly man, not always the brightest but he’s not a bum who sits on his mamas couch.
Elkanah loved his wife, Hannah.

Sacrifice is Messy

But scripture tells us something else rather interesting about their marriage, they weren’t the only ones. Elkanah had two wives.

1 Samuel 1:2 NASB95
He had two wives: the name of one was Hannah and the name of the other Peninnah; and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.
Polygamy Rant
Polygamy was a common feature of the culture surrounding the Old Testament.
Polygamy happened for several reasons: Lust for power; Security; reproduction.
explicitly forbids taking a second wife it says “He shall not multiply wives for himself.”
Elkanah loved his wife! It says at the meal following the sacrifice he gave her a double portion because he loved her! Hannah was his girl
So why does this “godly” man have a second wife?
We are not told why Elkanah had two wives but the text gives us a good indicator as to why he married someone else other than Hannah.
- The Lord had shut up her womb.
1 Samuel 1:6 NASB95
Her rival, however, would provoke her bitterly to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb.
She was Barren, she couldn’t have a baby.
She was Barren, she couldn’t have a baby.
In their culture a woman having a baby was everything. Her identity wasn’t in herself, it was in her family, the ones she produced. She was to be the Matriarch, this was Hannahs role, this was her identity, but she couldn’t fulfill it. This brought an internal shame and created a dysfunction that she could never resolve.
If Hannah could not provide a child then they had to do something, or so they thought. they did what their forefathers, Abraham and Sarah did. they brought in backup.
The irony about this story is that the Bible is not endorsing polygamy…in any way, rather it will undermine it because it represents human beings trying to accomplish what only God can accomplish. If this is true, which I think it is, then Hannah and Elkanah were trying to force Gods hand and it creates a massive rift in their marriage, and opens the floodgates to disfunction. Any time polygamy in the OT is talked about it is seen in light of utter dysfunction and chaos.

Sacrifice means giving up control

Hannah has Sacrificed for her husband by stepping aside for another woman. She sacrificed her position as Matriarch of the family so the family line could continue through another.
In this story Hannah is going to make a bad sacrifice (finding a replacement wife) and then a good sacrifice (Offer her son back to the Lord in service)
Elkanah and Hannah tried to control the situation, rather than trust in God and in end it backfiring on them.
1 Samuel 1:6–7 NASB95
Her rival, however, would provoke her bitterly to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb. It happened year after year, as often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she would provoke her; so she wept and would not eat.
Peninnah was jealous of Hannah being the loved wife and so she mocked her ruthlessly.
Their plan backfired and now Hannah and Elkanah were dealing with the dysfunction. Their decision to bring in another wife and have kids through her is draining Hannah and also Elkanah. This is evident in the dinner scene.
She must overcome two obstacles.
Her Husband - -
1 Samuel 1:8 ESV
And Elkanah, her husband, said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? And why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?”
Her day gets worse!
Her Priest (Eli) -
1 Samuel 1:12–14 ESV
As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman. And Eli said to her, “How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you.”
Everywhere Hannah went she encountered people who did not understand the emotional state she was in. They did not understand the sacrifice she had made.
Have you ever had a moment where you just needed someone to understand and not try and solve a problem for you?
My wife and I moved out here 6 years ago and she move here from one of the most beautiful places in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. She moved to good ol’ flat South Dakota. Initially this was really hard for her. Being away from home and her family. Not having hiking or mountains within looking distance.
I asked to verify this but I never once said anything along the lines of “Aren’t the snow capped cars better to you than 10 snow capped mountains?”
Ashley had to give up control of the situation and trust God.
Rather than process the emotion of the event, Ashley bottled up the emotions and didn’t realize the consequences of saying yes to me in marriage and moving to the most exciting state in America, where the state promotional line is “Why die on Mars when you can live in South Dakota”
PLAY MARS VIDEO, That was my pick up line to convince Ashley to move here.
We had reached Belle Fousche and gotten a hotel room and I walked into the room later to find my wife in the middle of a panic attack, where she was having a hard time breathing. She realized what was happening and that things would never be the same. She had sacrificed her former life for a new one.
The good news is she doesn’t want to run away anymore because even if she did, we have two small children who, I’m convinced they could find her anywhere on earth. They have spidey senses that allow them to feel her presence when she gets close. they start freaking out when she walks in the doors. If she tried to run away now I’m positive Junie, our 7 month old, would find her in her sleep and take her five little knife at the end of her finger tips and sink them deep into her arm or neck, reminder her to never leave her again.
Whether you’re a college student, newly wed or a young parent, or heaven forbid a parent of teenagers, we are all making sacrifices. Are they sacrifices where you are trying to control the situation and ultimately control God or are you making sacrifices that honor God and put him first.
True sacrifice requires you to give up control, not give up trying, but give up control.

Sacrifice means putting someone else at the center.

When Hannah is confronted by Eli the priest this is her response.
1 Samuel 1:15 ESV
But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord.
1 Samuel 1:15–16 NASB95
But Hannah replied, “No, my lord, I am a woman oppressed in spirit; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have poured out my soul before the Lord. “Do not consider your maidservant as a worthless woman, for I have spoken until now out of my great concern and provocation.”
Hannah comes to the Lord in prayer
True Sacrifice is endured through prayer.
But Hannah replied, “No, my lord, I am a woman oppressed in spirit; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have poured out my soul before the Lord.
We live out sacrifice when we pray. Our prayers are sacrificial because it is us giving up control and giving it to God.
Hannah had to give up control of her situation.
Hannah brought her frustrations and anger before the Lord.
Her bitterness and anger became fluid, she poured out before the Lord.
Sacrifice often creates the opportunity for bitterness and frustration
Maybe you are living in a sacrifice by setting aside your dreams because you had kids. Maybe you had to give up a a career, or take on a career you didn’t want in order to provide for your family.
Her prayer before the Lord is one of true sacrifice.
1 Samuel 1:11 ESV
And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.”
1 Sam

Your Marriage is a Sacrifice

Christ life was given as a Sacrifice for you and your spouse.
Ephesians 5:1–2 NASB95
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
Ephesians 5:
Hebrews 10:12 ESV
But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,
Christ died on the cross for our sins and when we put our faith in him we are saying “I do”. We become his bride and enter into an intimate and lifechanging relationship with him.
This means when you are thinking about getting married and beginning a life of sacrifice; or you have been married and are dealing with disfunction; or maybe you have kids now and life is a wreck; or maybe your marriage has ended and you are stuck in a place of dispare.
Whatever it is you must know that you are first married to the sacrifice. Whatever it is that you have lost or given up. Whatever has happened to you, no matter what life has thrown at you, you are connected to the sacrifice so your life is one of sacrifice.
When you know the sacrifice you can live out true sacrifice.
Sacrifice that is messy
Sacrifice that is difficult
Sacrifice that consumes time and energy
Relationship with Christ is key to understanding and living through sacrifice.
The sacrifice you make for your kids.
The sacrifice you make waiting for your spouse to grow up.
The sacrifice of giving up your future hope and dreams.
Whatever sacrifice it is you have made in the past understand.
The sacrifice Jesus made is far greater than any sacrifice we could ever make.
Jesus gave up his life. Jesus experienced the wrath of God. Jesus was forsaken and experienced death in a horrible way. An innocent man, condemned to die for the guilty. The perfect trading places with the stained.
This was his sacrifice; this was his gift.
We can rest in our sacrifices because we know his sacrifice covered our sins.
We can find peace in our sacrifice because his sacrifice won the war.
We can endure our sacrifice because Christ endured the cross.
We can find hope because Christ sacrifice purchased hope.
We can trust his plan because his love was proven on the cross.

Do you trust him in the midst of your sacrifice?
Is your marriage a sacrifice to God. Is it something you truly give back to Jesus?
A successful marriage isn’t just one that stays together forever, some are miserable. A successful marriage isn’t just one that raises good kids, a know great kids of failed marriages.
A successful marriage is one where the couple continually offer themselves back to God as a sacrifice. Their marriage is a sacrifice. Every day they give themselves back to God.
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