Hannah Exhibits a Woman of Faith - I Samuel 1:1 - 2:2
Hannah Exhibits a Woman of Faith
I Samuel 1:1-22
I Samuel 1:1 – 8
There was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim of the hill country of Ephraim whose name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephrathite. 2 He had two wives. The name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other, Peninnah. And Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. 3 Now this man used to go up year by year from his city to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of hosts at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests of the Lord. 4 On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. 5 But to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb. 6 And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb. 7 So it went on year by year. As often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat. 8 And Elkanah, her husband, said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? And why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?”
Introduction: Proverbs 31:30 declares, “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:28 adds, “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.”
We want to bless every woman here today, whether you are a mom or not. If you’re a woman we’d like you to stay seated while the rest of us rise and bless you. Let’s applaud the value and dignity of all women right now!
Moms teach us so many things, don’t they?
- My mother taught me MEDICINE: “If you don’t stop wash your hands or put on a coat you will get sick.”
- My mom taught me about GENETICS: “You are just like your father!”
- My mother taught me about my ROOTS: “Were you born in a barn?”
- My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION: “Just wait until your father gets home!”
- She also taught me RELIGION: “You better pray that will come out of the carpet.”
- And the #1 thing my mother taught me was JUSTICE: “One day you will have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you!”
While we will magnify motherhood today, I recognize that this day is not happy for everyone.
- Some of you probably didn’t want to come to church today because your mother is no longer alive and you really miss her.
- Some of our moms wish they could be with their kids today but because of schedules and distance cannot.
- Others of you don’t care much for your mom and you’re a bit turned off
by all the syrupy sentiments in Hallmark cards.
- Some of you may have a mother who is very sick right now and you wonder how much longer she’s going to be with you.
- Perhaps you’re parenting solo as you work hard to nurture the faith of your children.
- A handful of you have experienced the devastating loss of a child’s death.
- Others of you have a broken heart because your child has gone prodigal or is not saved (yet).
- There are probably some mothers here this morning that wish they didn’t have kids and I know there are women here who would give anything just to have a child.
- Some of you are in a blended family and things just feel messy on Mother’s Day.
- There are also moms here who feel like they’ve failed and struggle with all the #supermoms and #bestmomever posts.
Let me also say that womanhood is not only about marriage and children. Your worth as a woman goes far beyond your marital status or whether or not you have kids.
In our passage for today we’re going to learn about a woman with a lot of woes. In the midst of Hannah’s hurts, God ministered His grace and mercy to her.
Purpose: Here’s what we can learn from Hannah: Until we fully surrender, we won’t fully serve the Savior.
Before we jump into her story, turn to the very last verse of the Book of Judges. In our English Bibles, the Book of Ruth comes after Judges, but in the Hebrew Bible, 1 Samuel follows immediately after Judges. The situation is bleak, much like our society today. The nation of Israel is torn apart by a lack of leadership
and a dark society lost in sin. According to Judges 21:25, “In those days there
was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
- The nation of Israel was often oppressed by the surrounding nations. God would appoint a judge to lead His people, but their freedom generally lasted only as long as the judge was alive.
- On top of that, many of the judges, like Samson, had some fatal flaws. When we come to 1 Samuel, we’re introduced to Hannah, who became the mother of the prophet who would end up anointing Israel’s first two kings. Indeed, mothers’ matter because their prayers can change the course of a nation. That reminds me of what Abraham Lincoln said about his mom: “I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.”
Transition: As we look at the first two chapters of 1 Samuel, we’ll see 5 Defining Traits of a Woman of Faith. The first point may surprise you.
A Woman of faith will face Problems - 1 Samuel 1:1-8
Illustration: There are the toddlers who color with permanent marker all over the wall or decide a sibling needs a haircut. Then, there is Leo Belnap, a two-year-old who knows how to work a paper shredder.
One Sunday, his parents, Ben and Jackee Belnap, noticed an important envelope containing $1,060 was mysteriously missing. For the past year, the die-hard University of Utah football fans had been saving money to pay back Ben's parents for season tickets.
They started tearing the house apart searching for the cash. "I'm digging through the trash," Ben Belnap said, "and Jackee hollers, 'I found it.'" It was in the shredder. In a thousand tiny pieces. Immediately they knew Leo was the culprit. He had been helping her shred junk mail and documents. Apparently, he thought he was being helpful this time, too. First, his mother cried. Then, she laughed. She said, "As devastated and as sick as we were this was one of those moments where you just have to laugh."
Hope may not be lost for the couple. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing offers a solution. In fact, the bureau has an entire "Mutilated Currency Division," which is devoted to "redeeming" burned, rodent-chewed, or deteriorated money--a free service to the public. It handles approximately 30,000 claims per year, redeeming more than $30 million in mutilated cash. Ben Belnap contacted the Treasury Department and was told to send the remains of the money to Washington in Ziploc baggies.
In the meantime, Leo will not be using the shredder anymore. The silver lining: "Well, this will make a great wedding story one day."
- Sometimes we think people in the Bible, the super saints of yesteryear lived without problems and discouragement
- We can so relate to Hannah and her response by faith concerning the depth of burden in her life.
- Explain why that was a big deal
- Verse 2 gives us the background to the story.
- Elkanah has two wives (not God’s will) to make sure that if one wife cannot bear children that his name will be passed on to future generations.
- Hannah was spiritually disturbed, socially disgraced, and emotionally depressed due to the barrenness of her womb
- Verse 3 tells us that Elkanah and his two wives made a yearly visit to Shiloh, about a twenty-mile journey, to worship the Lord. This shows us something about how committed he was in his walk with the Lord. When the whole culture was headed away from God, Elkanah swam against the tide of apathy, and made sure his family went to the synagogue to be with God’s family for corporate worship. He could have easily said, “No one else is going, it’s too far to travel, the service is too early, and I don’t like the ministers anyway.”
I Samuel 1:4-5
4 On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. 5 But to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb.
- These verses show us something about Elkanah’s heart for God. He gave portions of the sacrificial meat to Penninah and her children, “But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her…” This sacrifice was a thank offering, which allowed the worshipers to eat the part that was not offered to God. This “double” portion literally means, “to show the face” and indicated a “select portion,” like prime rib. He showed his face to her, indicating that she was worthy and that he cared deeply for her. She was barren, but beloved. It had to be difficult for Hannah to eat the food that was associated with the “thank offering,” when she probably wasn’t all that thankful. Having a husband who expressed his love probably helped a lot.
- He was committed in his walk with God and committed to Hannah, but he had a divided family. The original cause of this division was Elkanah’s decision to marry two wives, which was not God’s original intent for marriage. It’s likely that Elkanah had married Hannah first and then, because she was not able to have children, he decided to marry Penninah. Though the Bible records the polygamous relationships of some of the patriarchs, it never endorses it. Contrary to what our culture now says, marriage is a covenant commitment between one man and one wife for life. Someone has said that the penalty for bigamy is having two mothers-in-law! Just say’in’
- Even though these two wives did not get along, the most difficult thing that Hannah faced is the phrase that is repeated twice, once at the end of verse 5 and again at the beginning of verse 6: “And the Lord had closed her womb.” The problem that she was having came from the Lord. This is one of the hardest lessons we will ever learn.
- Our problems are given to us by the Lord Himself. It is God who is behind the circumstances of life. We don’t really want to believe this. We’d rather blame it all on Satan, or on someone else. Hannah had to settle the sovereignty issue – He’s God and she’s not. One pastor put it this way: “In every situation, God is always doing a thousand different things that you cannot see and did not know.”
I Samuel 1:6 – 8
6 And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb. 7 So it went on year by year. As often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat. 8 And Elkanah, her husband, said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? And why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?”
- Verse 6 describes the character and personality of Penninah: “…And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her.” She couldn’t just be thankful that she had children but felt the need to needle and harass Hannah. The word “provoke” literally means, “to cause her thunder.” She’s trying to get Hannah to blow her top! The word “irritate” refers to being stirred up inwardly. It bothered Hannah so much that she would weep and not be able to eat. This word means that she mourned deeply with so much grief that she lost her appetite. Some of you may be in the middle of this kind of anguish right now.
- In verse 8, Elkanah tries his best to comfort his wife: “Hannah, why do you weep? And why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?” While it’s significant that a husband would even notice a wife’s sadness and want to find out why she’s crying, I wonder if his attempt at empathy was appreciated.
- He’s basically saying, “You’ve got me as your husband (or at least part of me since she could not bear his children), what more could you want?” I’m not sure he really understood how deeply she wanted to have a child because having children was the way for a woman to have honor in that culture. After all, it’s possible to love one’s husband and still want to have children. Some of you have been hit with some insensitive comments, either by your husband, or from others. God understands your pain.
Application: As a mom or a woman, how have you dealt with pain and disappointment in your family?
Transition: Notice what Hannah did next in response to her heartfelt burden.
A Woman of faith has heartfelt Prayers – 1 Samuel 1:9-16
- Notice Hannah did not go into a tirade of anger toward God or lash out at others around her because of emotional pain. She did not blame others or become a victim. She knew the real source who was the only one who could console her and give her hope and peace. She went to prayer.
- Our problems should drive us to prayer
I Samuel 1:10 – 11
10 She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. 11 And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.”
- Hannah is definitely broken. The description of God as “The Lord of Hosts” refers to all the armies of heaven. Hannah uses God’s covenant name more than 6 any other woman in the Bible and she is the only woman in the Old Testament to make and keep a vow. The Lord Almighty has all the hosts of heaven ready to do His work. She is appealing to His power and authority, because she knows there is nothing she can do.
- As part of her prayer, she is making a vow that if she’s given a son, he will be dedicated to the Lord for his entire life. Having worked through years of barrenness, and the problems that this caused, Hannah now realizes a very important truth: Our children are on loan from the Lord and it’s our job to parent, to shepherd, and to train them for the Lord’s work.
- It’s significant that verse 12 says, “As she continued praying before the LORD.” This wasn’t just a quick popcorn prayer. This was a repeated request, bathed in tears. Notice also that she prayed this prayer in her heart, not audibly like most Hebrews prayed.
- She came to the place of peaceful surrender after wrestling with the Lord.
- She must have been an intercessor. Do you know the difference between someone who prays and someone who is an intercessor? According to Peter Wagner in his workbook of spiritual gifts, he says that an intercessor is;
“The gift of intercession is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to pray for extended periods of time on a regular basis and see frequent and specific answers to their prayers, to a degree much greater than that which is expected of the average Christian.” – Peter Wagner
- We see Hannah taking her burden hard before the Lord with intensity.
Application: As a mom or a woman, what have you had to leave with God in prayer?
Transition: A woman of faith exhibits real problems and expresses vibrant prayers. That leads to a third defining trait
A Woman of faith trusts God’s faithful Provisions - 1 Samuel 1:17-20
- Her quiet prayer had an unfortunate consequence when Eli, the priest, accused her of being drunk. That says a lot about the culture at that time – there were probably drunken people around the temple and Eli thought she was one of them.
- Some of you can relate to being misunderstood and having your motives questioned. It doesn’t feel good, does it?
- When she had the opportunity to explain herself to Eli, Eli answered in verse 17
I Samuel 1:17
17 Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.”
- This benediction was a huge blessing to Hannah. He didn’t know what she was praying about, but as high priest, he gave his “amen” to her request. Her whole countenance changed in verse 18 when we read
I Samuel 1:18
18 And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.
- This is really cool. After spending time in prayer, her face was no longer sad. She had left her concerns with the Lord and now she’s experiencing the “peace that passes all understanding.” Friend, when you’ve wrestled with God in prayer, and met with Him, that alone is enough!
- She was seeking provision and help from the Lord.
I Samuel 1:19 – 20
19 They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord; then they went back to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her. 20 And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, “I have asked for him from the Lord.”
- Notice Samuel’s name in the Hebrew means “heard from God.” Every time she would say his name, she could remember that God supplied her with the answer to her lifelong prayer I am sure to have children.
- I’m delighted that Pleasant View is once again participating in the Baby Bottle Project for Pregnancy Resources as a way to stand up for life in the QCA. You can pick up your bottle today and bring it back on Father’s Day, June 16th.
- Speaking of life, did you hear the recent news about a remarkable discovery made by researchers from Northwestern University? Let me quote from an article in the Telegraph: “Human life begins in a bright flash of light as a sperm meets an egg, scientists have shown for the first time, after capturing the astonishing ‘fireworks’ on film. An explosion of tiny sparks erupts from the egg at the exact moment of conception.” The Bible teaches that life begins at conception – I love it when science catches up with what we already know is true!
- We need to be careful here. Just because Hannah’s prayers for a son were answered, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be given a child because you prayed for one. But when you pray, you will receive God’s provision, one way or another. He loves to give good gifts to His children according to Matthew 7:11: “…how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
- God allowed a time of barrenness in Hannah’s life to bring a greater blessing than she could ever imagine. But God was doing an even bigger thing in her life as He brought her to the realization:
- Hannah had to be fully surrendered to God and His will so that she could fully serve her God. When we are fully surrendered, then God will provide for our needs as we serve Him.
Application: As a mom or a woman, how have you seen God faithfully provide for you and your family?
A Woman of faith keeps Promises - 1 Samuel 1:21-28
- After Samuel was born, Elkanah went again to Shiloh in order to worship. Hannah decided to not go until Samuel was weaned, which would have been at around three-years of age. She dedicated herself to her child, nursing and nurturing him, knowing that when he is able to eat on his own, she would give him over to Eli to be mentored into ministry.
I Samuel 1:22
22 “As soon as the child is weaned, I will bring him, so that he may appear in the presence of the Lord and dwell there forever.”
- Many people make promises to God, only to forget them once time passes. Not so with Hannah. She fully intended to keep her promise because she knew that Samuel did not really belong to her anyway.
- Hannah not only dedicated herself to her child, she dedicated her child to the Lord. She then brings Samuel to the house of the Lord and says in verse 28:
I Samuel 1:28
Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there.”
- She repeated this twice as if to cement her commitment, knowing that she will never revoke it.
- Janet Parshall says on one of her radio shows about Hannah something I would never have thought of as a man:
“Every time she felt Samuel kicking in her stomach, every time he moved right under her heart, every jab in her ribs, she was reminded to say, ‘Yes, Lord, he is yours. Yes, Lord, he is yours.’” – Janet Parshall
- Verse 28 ends with a glimpse into young Samuel’s heart: “And he worshiped the LORD there.” Even at three-years-old, he was able to worship.
- It’s one thing to say that our children are dedicated to the Lord; it’s another thing altogether to give them to the Lord. Have you done that? Are you open as a mom or dad to dedicating your kids to the Lord for whatever or wherever He wants them to go? I find some Christian parents are not willing to go to that level of surrender to the Lord. I hope as parents and grandparents we want our kids to be in the center of God’s will even if it means moving away from the family. I know that is a hard decision to come to.
- Hannah loved Samuel so much that she was willing to forgo a mother’s greatest joy – that of bringing up her son and having him around her. She was committed to do whatever it took for him to reach his godly potential. Because Hannah had already settled the issue of surrendering to the Lord, she was able to keep the promise she had made.
Application: As a mom or a woman, how much have you sacrificed to keep your promises and maintain your integrity?
Illustration: Colorado fire – Dead mother bird / protected her baby birds from the forest fire.
Transition: Women of faith exhibit real problems and express vibrant prayers. They experience God’s provision and excel at keeping their promises. There’s one more defining trait
A Woman of faith exudes Praises to the Lord - 1 Samuel 2:1-2
- We don’t have the luxury of time to plumb the depths of the complete prayer of Hannah as she rejoices in the Lord’s working in her life but let’s look at the first two verses of chapter 2 of I Samuel.
- I want to make note that there is no hint of sadness here!
I Samuel 1:1 - 2
And Hannah prayed and said, “My heart exults in the Lord; my horn is exalted in the Lord. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation. 2 “There is none holy like the Lord: for there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God.
- There is no one else who is holy like the Lord and no one else who will be her Rock through the storms of life.
- Hannah is an example of a woman of faith. She endures years of silent suffering because of her barrenness and the cruel harassment at the hand of her rival. She goes to the place of worship, knowing how painful it is. She faithfully worships, pouring out her tears and petitions. And when God answers her prayers, she not only keeps her promise, she explodes with praise.
Application: As a mom or a woman, how many times has the joy of the Lord welled up in your heart?
- Women, you are of great worth in God’s sight whether or not you have a child.
- Grandmothers, you make a big impact in the lives of your grandkids!!
2 Timothy 1:5
5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.
- Mothers, make it your mission to give your children to the Lord for a lifetime of dedicated service
- One of the lessons from the life of Hannah is that each of us needs to be growing in our own relationship with God
Key Thought: A woman of faith is an example of what a Spirit - filled woman looks like.
We started by standing and celebrating women. I’d like every girl and every woman to stand so I can pray for you