Saturday, January 28, 2017

Hannah


Women of Israel's Heroic Age
Hannah

Hannah: "The Woman Who Personifies Ideal Motherhood."

Key Scripture: 1 Samuel 1:1 - 2:11 - 2:19-21

Her Name Means: “Gracious” or “Graciousness.”

Her Character: Hannah was a woman with an unblemished character. Piety reigned in her heart. Because of her godliness, devotion, trust, patience and self-sacrifice, she came to be signally blessed of the Lord.

Her Sorrow: To be taunted and misunderstood.

Her Joy: Hannah believed God for a child and God allowed her to conceive, thus reversing her shame and giving her a new position as a mother.

Pre-Story: Hannah lived during the period of the judges, just as Deborah and Ruth did. Her story occurred toward the end of this time during which Israel had no king. Eli was both the high priest and the judge of Israel at that time. Hannah was married to Elkanah, a Levite. She was one of Elkanah's two wives. The other, Peninnah, bore children but Hannah remained childless. Nevertheless, Elkanah preferred Hannah.

Her Story: Hannah's husband loved Hannah, but they had no children. Hannah longed for a son out of her own womb to love. As the years went by her barrenness was a greater burden because of the jealousy of her rival, Peninnah, who with her cruel tongue, frequently tantalized Hannah for being childless. The fact that Elkanah loved Hannah and gave her a special portion only added more fuel to the fire of contempt in Peninnah’s heart.

One day when they were at Shiloh, Hannah went to the Tabernacle to pray to the Lord. Hannah's pain found refuge in prayer. Eli the priest was sitting at his customary place beside the entrance. Crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord, she made this vow: "O Lord Almighty, if you will look down upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you." (1 Samuel 1:11). She took her particular sorrow to God, and prayed, not that Peninnah’s joy might be less, but that He would take away the cause of her own anguish.

As she was praying to the Lord, Eli watched her. Seeing her lips moving but hearing no sound, he thought she had been drinking. "Must you come here drunk?" he demanded. "Throw away your wine!" Hannah replied; "Oh no, sir!" "I'm not drunk! But I am very sad, and I was pouring out my heart to the Lord. Please don't think I am a wicked woman! For I have been praying out of great anguish and sorrow." "In that case," Eli said, "Cheer up! May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of him." (1 Samuel 1:12:17)

They returned home to Ramah. When Elkanah slept with Hannah, the Lord remembered her request, and in due time she gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, "I asked the Lord for him."

As Samuel was weaned, Hannah fulfilled her vow by giving young Samuel to Eli's care. She presented him to the Lord. "For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him." (1 Samuel 1:27). Hannah prayed and promised, and when her prayer was answered she quietly redeemed her promise. More than anything in the world she wanted a son, and when God gave her one, she gave him back to the Lord. God answered Hannah's prayer and in return for her faithfulness, He blessed Hannah with three more sons and two daughters.

Her Place in God's Divine Plan: God blessed Hannah's legacy. Hannah's son Samuel became a priest and was the one who later set David apart as the next king and anointed him. Jesus came from the line of David. Hannah's faithfulness affected an entire nation!

Her Challenges Along the Way: Like several other women in Scripture, Hannah was barren. To make matters worse, her husband's other wife not only bore children but taunted Hannah mercilessly.  Hannah poured out her hurt and sorrow to God, allowing him to vindicate her.

Her Victories: Even though God was silent toward her request for a child for many years, she never stopped praying. She had faith that God had the power to help her. She never doubted the God of her heart.

Lesson We Can Learn from Her Legacy: After years of praying for the same thing, most of us would give up. Hannah teaches us to never give up, to honor our promises to God. From Hannah's story we learn that the heart of God is a comforting retreat for a sorrowful soul.

Many of us linger at the gate of God's presence, going through the motions of worshipping God and yet holding sadness and bitterness in our hearts. Satan tries to stop us from worshipping the Lord. He tries to keep us away from God's presence like Peninnah did with Hannah. From Peninnah’s harsh treatment of Hannah we discover how a thoughtless, unloving word of ours can give sorrow to others. How necessary it is to guard our tongues! (James 3:9-10).

Genealogy:
Lived: Approximately 1120 BC
Husband - Elkanah
Children - Samuel, three other sons and two daughters.
Hometown: Ramah
Occupation: Wife, mother, homemaker.

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Mary and Hannah's songs. Hannah and Mary were divided by centuries. The Lord’s generosity and trust in Mary and Hannah both responded in songs of rejoicing. There is a strong resemblance between Hannah’s song and that of Mary’s.

Mary ( Luke 1:46-55) ~ Hannah (1 Samuel 2:1-10)

Mary: My soul doeth magnify the Lord.
Hannah: My Heart rejoiceth in the Lord.

Mary: And My Spirit hath rejoiced in the Savior.
Hannah: Mine horn is exalted in the Lord.

Mary: He that scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
Hannah: The bows of the mighty men are broken.

Mary: He hath put down the mighty from their seats.
Hannah: The Lord killeth and maketh alive.

Mary: And exalted them of low degree.
Hannah: He bringeth down to the grave  and bringeth up.

Mary: He hath filled the hungry with good things.
Hannah: They that were full have hired out themselves for bread.

Mary: And the rich he hath sent away.
Hannah: And they that are hungry ceased.

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