The other morning I woke up with this overwhelming urge to learn everything I could about David (ya know the guy who slayed the giant). Of course I knew David’s highlights. I knew he battled Goliath and I knew he became a king. I also knew minor details about the Bathsheba ordeal but I wanted to know his story. The whole story and I wanted to learn about everyone who had influenced his life. So I went back to the beginning of 1 Samuel and I found that before I could get to David’s story I needed to learn about a woman, who would become the mother of the prophet, who would then anoint David. Her name was Hannah.
Hannah was the first wife of Elkanah and at this point in the journey she has not been able to give him any children. Elkanah also had a second wife named Peninnah and she had children. Well every year Elkanah would take his family up to Shiloh to worship and offer a sacrifice to God at the temple and every year Peninnah made this an unpleasant trip for Hannah. She would taunt her until she would break down in tears.
In this era it was considered a social embarrassment to not be able to conceive a child. A husband was even permitted to divorce a barren wife. Clearly this is a great source of emotional pain for Hannah and Peninnah used that against her. It was evident from a few verses that Hannah was the loved wife even though Peninnah had been the wife to provide heirs. She definitely had her own hurts and jealousy going on and we could almost feel sorry for her if she hadn’t been so cruel to poor Hannah right? Hurt can bring out the worst in any of us if we let it.
As you can imagine Hannah finds herself broken and goes to the temple to pour her heart out to God. She makes a vow that if God will answer her prayer and give her a son then she will give her son back to God. Promising that this child would be dedicated to the Lord.
I admire Hannah’s faith! Her faith was so strong that she was willing to hand her child over to live a life dedicated to the Lord and God took her up on her offer! She had a son named Samuel and she kept her word by handing Samuel over to the priest Eli to be raised at a very young age. Can you imagine? I don’t care what era it was! That was her baby and that took great faith, trust, and strength in God to hand her little love over. Sometimes I have hard time spiritually handing my children over to God because I want to cling on to them so tightly and she not only spiritually but physically let go. Of course she visited often and her baby turned into a great prophet who went on to anoint King Saul and then anointed that little runt who slayed a giant, and went on to become King David.
I love reading about the great men of our Bible but I find it so interesting when I discover a story of a strong moma behind those great men! Ok so what can we learn from this triumphant tale? Faith, Faith, Faith….that is one great point I learned from Hannah. She completely trusted God to meet her need. She didn’t say “I think you can do this God.” She just trusted that God was going to hear her heart, see her pain, and meet her need.
Point two would be “how we treat others matters.” We will all have moments where we aren’t at our best but flat-out being cruel just isn’t acceptable. Hate, judgement, cruelty towards another is sin. Sin separates us from God. Separation from God affects our prayer life. We can’t have great faith and a struggling prayer life. Do you feel me? Peninnah is just known for being Elkanah’s hateful wife. That is her legacy. How do you want to be remembered? We may be having brief encounters with people everyday and opinions are being formed by the way we treat others. What would people say about you? I’ve thought a lot about this question over the past couple of weeks and everyday I’ve worked to make some changes.
I want to leave you with this…. As you go on through the rest of your day ask yourself am I having great faith like Hannah? Am I truly trusting that God is in control of my life. Have I handed my children over to him spiritually and trusted that he is protecting, leading, and growing them into the men/women he created them to be? Lastly, can my heart be cruel in areas? Do I place judgement before I truly see a person? Do I have unforgiveness towards someone that could be causing me to treat them unkindly?
God, I pray for clean hearts in each of us today. I ask for any areas of unforgiveness to be revealed and healed. I pray for eyes to be opened to truly seeing others. Seeing hearts and not skin. I lift up all the strong moma’s to you who are entrusting their children to you. Moma’s who know that someday you may call their babies out into the world to share your gospel and they will have to live in great faith that you are caring for and protecting their loves. I ask this all in Jesus name. Amen.
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