Mothers of the Bible: Hannah, Praised God

Hannah was another mother that longed for a child.  She was married to Elkanah.  Hannah

Hannah was proved by Peninnah

is her husband’s first wife and his favorite, but when she did not provide children, he married Peninnah.

One can imagine how Peninnah tormented Hannah over her inability to have children.

Each year they travel to the temple to worship God.  We are told that “but unto Hannah he gave a double portion; for he loved Hannah, but Jehovah had shut up her womb.”  {1 Samuel 1:5}

“And her rival provoked her sore, to make her fret, because Jehovah had shut up her womb.”  {1 Samuel 1:6}   Not having a child is hard enough and then Hannah had to watch Penninah provide her husband with sons and daughters.  That had to make Hannah’s heart ache.  Finally, her rival provokes her, which only adds to the despair and pain.

Elkanah took his family each year to the temple for worship and sacrifice

Poor, Elkanah was caught between the two women.  He tried hard to comfort Hannah, but did not really understand how she felt.  He says to her “Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons?”  {1 Samuel 1:8}

The Women of the Bible devotional says, “His attempt at comforting her only sharpened her pain, heightening her sense of isolation… Elkanah was not enough.  She was desperate to have a son.  Elkanah likely did not understand the depths of his wife’s feelings.”

Hannah went to the temple to pray for a child

Hannah goes to the temple and begins to pray.  She prays with “great weeping” {1 Samuel 1:10}.   She ask God for a son and vows to give him back to God.

Our devotional says, “Hannah stood for a long time at the tabernacle, weeping and praying. Her lips moved without making a sound as her heart poured out its grief to God… Hannah was not making a bargain but a vow.”

Eli, the priest, is nearby and ask how long she’s been drunk.   She tells him, “I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit”.  {1 Samuel 1:15}

Our devotional explains, “The priest Eli was used to people coming to Shiloh to celebrate

Elkanah and Hannah were faithful to God

the feasts, eating and drinking more than they should.  Watching Hannah from his chair by the doorpost of the temple, he wondered why her shoulders were shaking, her lips moving without making a sound. She must be drunk, he concluded.”

Eli provides a blessing, “Go in peace; and the God of Israel grant thy petition that thou hast asked of him.”  {1 Samuel 1:17}.  Hannah does go and we’re told that “her countenance was no more sad”.  {v.18}

Our devotional explains, “when God met Hannah at the temple in Shiloh, he not only answered her prayer for a child, he answered her prayer for comfort in her misery.  He gave her consolation in her disappointment and strength to face her situation.”

Hannah finally had a son, Samuel

Our Women of Faith study guide says, “what had happened in Hannah’s heart was that she had come to the place where she was willing to give to God the one thing that had become most important to her in life: a son. Hannah’s prayer was not an act of bargaining, but an act of surrender.  In giving up to God he thing that was most precious to her, Hannah found inner peace.”

“Hannah conceived, and bare a son; and she called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of Jehovah.”  {1 Samuel 1:20}

Notice, she is saying “I asked and God has heard my prayer”, in her naming of Samuel.

Once Samuel was weaned she took him to the temple

Hannah did not go to the temple again until her son was weaned.

Once Samuel is weaned they go to the temple and Hannah finds the priest, Levi.  She says, “ Oh, my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto Jehovah. For this child I prayed; and Jehovah hath given me my petition which I asked of him:  therefore also I have [d]granted him to Jehovah; as long as he liveth he is granted to Jehovah. And he worshipped Jehovah there.”

She fulfills her vows and gives Samuel over to God.  Samuel was raised in the temple and became a great prophet.  He would anoint and chastise Saul and David.

She brought him to Eli, the priest

The prayer of Hannah in 1 Samuel 2, is a prayer of praise and exaltation.

Hannah kept her promise to God.  Whether, she had more children or not, she honored and praised God.  For this, God blessed her.  1 Samuel 2:21 says, “And Jehovah visited Hannah, and she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before Jehovah.”

Our Women of the Bible devotional says, “Like Sarah and Rachel, Hannah grieved over the children she couldn’t have.  Unlike them, she took her anguish directly to God. …instead of merely pitying herself or responding in kind, she poured out her soul to God and God graciously answered her prayer.”

She would have seen Samuel when she visited the temple

Only when we pour our heart out to God and approach him in prayer with our desires can we find that inner peace.

Hannah was not happy for a long time because she focused on what she didn’t have.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done just that in my life.  But, like Hannah, I’ve had to learn to surrender my desires and heart to God in order to find that inner peace.  In the end, God blessed Hannah for her faithfulness.

Have you surrendered your greatest desire?  Where do you turn for strength?

God blessed her with more children

Hannah’s Prayer

 And Hannah prayed, and said:
My heart exulteth in Jehovah;
My horn is exalted in Jehovah;
My mouth is enlarged over mine enemies;
Because I rejoice in thy salvation.
There is none holy as Jehovah;
For there is none besides thee,
Neither is there any rock like our God.
Talk no more so exceeding proudly;
Let not arrogancy come out of your mouth;
For Jehovah is a God of knowledge,
[a]And by him actions are weighed.
The bows of the mighty men are broken;
And they that stumbled are girded with strength.
They that were full have hired out themselves for bread;
And they that were hungry [b]have ceased to hunger:
Yea, the barren hath borne seven;
And she that hath many children languisheth.
Jehovah killeth, and maketh alive:
He bringeth down to Sheol, and bringeth up.
Jehovah maketh poor, and maketh rich:
He bringeth low, he also lifteth up.
He raiseth up the poor out of the dust,
He lifteth up the needy from the dunghill,
To make them sit with princes,
And inherit the throne of glory:
For the pillars of the earth are Jehovah’s,
And he hath set the world upon them.
He will keep the feet of his [c]holy ones;
But the wicked shall be put to silence in darkness;
For by strength shall no man prevail.
10 They that strive with Jehovah shall be broken to pieces;
Against them will he thunder in heaven:
Jehovah will judge the ends of the earth;
And he will give strength unto his king,
And exalt the horn of his anointed.

 

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