I have always loved the story of Hannah. Why? Because of her genuineness, her humility, and her strong faith that God could and would help her with her problems. Also, she was faithful in keeping her promises. These admirable traits are not always so prevalent in today’s world.
But most of all, Hannah’s story offers great hope to all of us when we are facing difficult and impossible situations.
This article is based on the text from I Samuel 1:1-2:21
1. Hannah had a problem
Don’t we all? Look around you. Everyone you meet is fighting a battle or struggling with a broken heart.
Hannah’s problem was infertility. She longed for a child. In her day and culture, society required people to bear children, and if they did not, society believed they were cursed by God. Neighbors judged and frowned upon someone with no children.
Added to this already heartbreaking dilemma was the fact that the other wife of Hannah’s husband ridiculed and taunted Hannah, making her feel even worse and more heartbroken.
“And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb. So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, that she (the other wife) provoked her (Hannah); therefore she (Hannah) wept and did not eat.” (I Samuel 1:6-7)
You may be facing a heartbreaking problem right now. It may not be infertility. It may be some other issue, but whatever it is, please read on because Hannah’s story offers you hope, direction, and blessings.
2. Hannah persevered
The scriptures say that every year Hannah’s husband took the whole family to worship the Lord and make the sacrifices that God had commanded in the Old Testament. And every year, Hannah had to endure the ridicule of the other wife. Hannah could have understandably used this as an excuse to not go to this annual worship service. Instead, Hannah chose to be faithful and attended the services. She also could have chosen to believe that God didn’t exist, or that He didn’t care about her. She could have chosen to allow her pain and her misfortune to make her bitter and angry at God, but she didn’t. Instead, she chose to be humble and to trust in God’s love and power.
You may wonder where God is in your struggles. God knows your pain, and He cares about it. Just because God does not answer your prayers doesn’t mean He doesn’t care. God has a plan for you just as He did for Hannah. What God wants you to do is to be like Hannah, to trust Him, worship Him, and stay humble and sweet. And, when the time is right, God will bless you like He did Hannah. If you don’t know how He blessed Hannah, please keep reading because it will give you great hope.
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (I Peter 5:6-7)
“Oh, how great is Your goodness, Which You have laid up for those who fear You, Which You have prepared for those who trust in You In the presence of the sons of men!” (Psalm 31:19)
3. Hannah prayed
While attending the annual worship service, Hannah took her problems to God through prayer. The verses in I Samuel, Chapter 1 say this about Hannah:
She wept in anguish. (vs. 10)
She made her request to God. (vs. 11) We should do the same. (Philippians 4:6)
She made a vow to God. (vs. 11) We should commit our ways to God. (Psalm 37:5)
She continued in prayer. (vs. 12) Jesus says we should be persistent in prayer. (Luke 18:1)
She prayed with her heart. (vs. 12) God wants us to worship Him in heart and spirit. (John 4:23-24)
She poured out her soul. (vs. 15-16) Being fervent in prayer is effective. (James 5:16)
She believed in God’s promises, His word, and His power to answer her prayer. (vs.17-18) Faith is powerful. (I John 5:14-15 and Matthew 21:22)
4. Hannah promised
“Then she made a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.” (I Samuel 1:11)
Hannah understood that God’s gifts to us should be used to honor Him. When we honor God, He honors us. (I Samuel 2:30)
When Hannah and her family returned home, God blessed Hannah that she conceived and bore a son. But, she didn’t forget her vow to God. (vs.24-28) She didn’t forget her promise as soon as she got what she wanted.
Think about how difficult this must have been for Hannah to do—to take her little son after he was weaned and leave him with the priest because she had vowed to consecrate the child to God’s service! Yet, as hard and painful as it must have been, she did not back out on what she had promised God.
We would be wise to follow Hannah’s example because the Bible says God has no pleasure in those who do not keep their vows. (Ecclesiastes 5:4-5)
God desires that whatever we do or give to Him should be out of a cheerful heart and not begrudgingly. (II Corinthians 9:7)
5. Hannah praised
After fulfilling her vow and committing her son to God, Hannah praised God. In this prayer of praise, she says:
She rejoiced. (vs.2:1) We, too, should rejoice in God and thank Him for all that He gives us and does for us. (I Thessalonians 5:16; Hebrews 13:15; Philippians 4:6)
Some of the things Hannah praised God for include:
- Silencing the ridicule of her rival. (vs.3)
- Helping those in need. (vs.6-9)
- Exalting the humble. (vs.1, 4-8)
- Giving children to the barren, or infertile. (vs.5)
6. Hannah prospered
In the second chapter of I Samuel, God prospered Hannah.
I Samuel 2:19 says that Hannah saw her firstborn son, Samuel, every year when she went up to the annual worship service with her family. How it must have pleased and comforted her to see her son learning and growing into a man of God! (vs. 21)
Verse 20 says that God blessed Hannah with several more children: three sons and two daughters.
God rewarded Hannah’s faith and faithfulness. God promises to reward our faith as well and commands us that we MUST believe that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)
If you are experiencing difficult circumstances or what appears to be an impossible situation right now in your life, I hope and pray that the story of Hannah will lift your heart, give you hope and direction that will lead you to an outcome of fulfillment, rejoicing, and praise to God.
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