Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I Samuel 1:27-28 NASB

"For this boy I prayed, and the LORD has given me my petition which I asked of Him.  So I have dedicated him to the LORD; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the LORD."

The story of childless Hannah is deeply intriguing.  The writer is straightforward in his grasp of the noticeable when he says, [Elkanah] had two wives:  the name of one was Hannah and the name of the other Peninnah; and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children," (1:2).  But there are three other observations the writer makes that bring the intrigue to the story:
  • Elkanah favored Hannah because he loved her (1:5a)
  • It was the LORD, according to the writer, who had "closed her womb" (1:5b)
  • Elkanah's second wife, Peninnah, would provoke Hannah bitterly to irritate her, because the LORD had closed her womb (1:6-7)
To be childless in that day and culture was worse than death itself.  With the conviction that "children are an heritage of the LORD," to be childless was to believe that God, for whatever reason, had "closed" your womb.  It may have even been the reason Elkanah had a second wife:  so as to have children.  No matter the depth of Elkanah's love for her, Hannah would not be comforted.  Her distress turned to desperation as she one day made a vow to the LORD that would touch heaven and earth.  She 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 son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life..." (1:11).  Could it be that Hannah's barrenness was God's opportunity?  Some of God's greatest moments come under man's greatest distress, for here one feels a desperation so intense that has the potential of becoming a highway to greater things.  Would there be an Isaac without faith against all odds?  Would there be a Joseph without the scars of injustice?  Would there be a Moses without the smell of death?  Would there be a Savior without the cruelty of the cross?  And here; Would there be a Samuel without the desperation of a barren woman?  Whatever the circumstances that press against you, cry out to God with all your heart.  Draw near to Him.  He will draw near to you, and He will make a way through your distress.  Like Hannah, you too will look back on it, even if it be from eternity, and sing, "My heart exults in the LORD...I rejoice in Your salvation...There is no one holy like the LORD, indeed, there is no one besides You.  Nor is there any rock like our God...the feeble gird on strength...He raises up the poor from the dust, He lifts the needy from the ash heap...He keeps the feet of His godly ones..." (I Samuel 2:1-10).  Bless His holy name! 

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