Hannah and Her Reward
1 Samuel 1:1-23
We honour the women today, especially the mothers. And so today, I would like to share with you, Hanna’s story, a very prominent mother in the Old Testament.
1. Hannah’s problematic world. 1:1-6
“3 Year after year this man went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the Lord Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the Lord. 4 Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. 5 But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the Lord had closed her womb.6 Because the Lord had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her.”
· Hannah’s time is within the period of Judges and that was a period of religious and moral decline.
· Israel allowed the nations to live with them, adopting their polygamous lifestyle in the process.
· The Israelites themselves have believed that a Hebrew man’s posterity was tied up to having a son who would carry his name.
· Barrenness was wrongly assumed by many to be a curse from God.
· Elkanah’s polygamous relationship resulted to rivalry, tensions, and competition between Peninnah and Hannah.
· Another consequence of Elkanah’s sin was emotional suffering for Hannah.
· And none of Elkanah’s assurance of devotion did not change Hannah’s troubled feeling.
2. Hannah’s prayer. 1:10-13
“10 Hannah was very troubled. She prayed to the Lord and cried with sorrow. 11 Then she made a promise and said, “O Lord of All, be sure to look on the trouble of Your woman servant and remember me. Do not forget Your woman servant but give me a son. If You will, then I will give him to the Lord all his life. And no hair will ever be cut from his head. 12 As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth.13 Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk.”
· Peninnah’s constant belittling, shaming, and humiliating disgraced her for being unable to fulfill her purpose of producing her own offspring.
· Perhaps Peninnah coming with them to the temple has added more injury to insult.
· In the tabernacle of the Lord, Hannah was overwhelmed by emotions.
· No human being is ever immune to sorrow, anger, sadness, or despair.
· Hannah sought to have an emotional connection between her and God. Emotional connection creates a bonded feeling with someone who cares.
· Her painful experience educated her that life without God becomes an impossible journey.
3. Hannah’s prayer graciously granted. 1:19-23
“19 Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the Lord and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her. 20 So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the Lord for him.” 21 When her husband Elkanah went up with all his family to offer the annual sacrifice to the Lord and to fulfill his vow, 22 Hannah did not go. She said to her husband, “After the boy is weaned, I will take him and present him before the Lord, and he will live there always.”
· God remembered Hannah’s request and she gave birth to a son named Samuel.
· “the Lord remembered her” is not a statement of being forgetful, but a reference to God’s faithfulness and great care.
· God cares for the suffering mother who calls upon Him.
· What does it mean to be mother? It is to put aside her personal issues and to provide the means to make her son’s life better than what she has.
What Is a Mother?
By Katherine Nelson Davis
A mother is someone to shelter and guide us, To love us, whatever we do, With a warm understanding and infinite patience, And wonderful gentleness, too.
How often a mother means swift reassurance In soothing our small, childish fears, How tenderly mothers watch over their children And treasure them all through the years!