The account of Hannah in the First Book of Samuel is quite an amazing account. The LORD gave me by His Spirit to meditate upon some while ago and still speaks through this wonderful Word.
Hannah is a woman grieved in spirit. She is the second wife of Elkanah. She is loved by Elkanah and even thought of as more worthy than Peninnah given an extra portion of meat at the yearly sacrifice. But unknown to Hannah at that time she has been chosen. Chosen to carry out the will of God through the bearing of an obedient servant and p rophet.
Hannah has been it seems denied the wonder of having children and as the Word of God reveals many times over often the adversary is within our own household a place where we are planted to grow in faith and trust in our LORD. Hannah was no exception. The first wife of Elkanah Peninnah was Hannah's adversary and was provoked very sore.
Most people know what it is like to have something physically sore but this wound was heartfelt and very deep. The actual meaning of sore includes many words such as painful, inflamed, raw, throbbing and bruised.
Only this morning my neighbour came over to borrow the telephone as her daughter only four years old had a very sore rash upon her body in different places. She was crying, clinging onto her mother and was beside herself not knowing what to do. You could see the distress and her mother showed me all the different rashes that had come upon her body. She has to wait another six hours to see the doctor. The child reaching out and wanting a cuddle to ease her discomfort and distress.
Hannah did not have this comfort. Elkanah despite being a righteous man and indeed loved Hannah couldn't reach the depths of her distress. He didn't understand her deep sorrowful yearing for children. It would seem that Elkanah was without compassion on the deeper things pertaining to women. For indeed he had ten children through Peninnah so his needs were met as a father. This loss and painful situation Hannah bore herself.
But in bitterness of soul she remembered her Maker the LORD God of Israel. The LORD had also not forgotten Hannah either for behind the scenes there was another scenario being frought and this was to do with the bigger picture of Gods Will for His people. Hannah was marked by the LORD chosen but the timing had to bring about the fruit of long-suffering.
The disobedient family of Eli were watched by the LORD. Eli the Priest with his sons were in a precarious position. They had become lazy, greedy and disrespectful not only causing the people to sin against the LORD but the sin was against the LORD. Eli was a weak man and father and did not seek the LORD yet still the LORD kept them in their place as servants of the House of God until the right appointed time.
I find it quite significant that Eli's eyes grew dim at the same time as the oil of the lamp of the Temple of God goes out. This is quite symbolic the Eli's spiritual sight which is the most important had gone out. The oil being the Holy Spirit being quenched through disobedience. For indeed the Glory of the LORD did depart at the birth of Ichabod.
As always the LORD provides a way out for His people always. There is always a Door of Hope. The Door of Hope is Hannah and the birth of Samuel.
Hannah's womb shut up also pertains to a protection for the appointed time so that the Will of God can be fulfilled and always for the Glory of God. In desperation Hannah appealed fervently to the LORD pouring her heart out in tears and anguish. Even Eli thinking that she was drunk could not hold back Hannah's heartfelt cries of a brokenness. Her spirit contrite before the LORD, the LORD now hears her prayers.
The purpose of Samuel to bring the furtherance of the line of David and henceforth Jesus is what makes Hannah's prayer so timely.
Hannah's prayer is answered, the LORD opens her womb, the door is open for an obedient servant and Priest Samuel to replace Eli and his sons. Hannah willing to sacrifice her only son Samuel unto the LORD brings about a abundant blessing of more children. Her painful years replaced with her heartfelt desires. The LORD replaces the years that the locusts had eaten and takes away now her shame and ultimately her adversary.
Such trust, love and devotion over these hard years and they were plenty indeed. Hannah had no priest to turn to neither an understanding husband she totally relied upon the LORD. Things are no different for today's women. The LORD of yesterday is the same TODAY and TOMORROW.
We don't know all the heartaches and rivalry played out in the household of Elkanah but we can only imagine that it was very painful indeed for Hannah. The LORD delivered not only Hannah as a woman of God but also the removal of disobedient priests and the continuance of Gods plan for redemption through Jesus Christ.
At just the right time the LORD knows when to deliver his people both men and women.
All for the Glory of God.
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