Bible Society of South Africa
Louise Gevers

Walking with God – Day 11

Walking with God in integrity: Hannah

Bible text(s)

1 Samuel 1:10GNBOpen in Bible reader

If we begin with Sarah, include the other women in the Bible who experienced difficulty in conceiving a child, then add the names of those we know of today in the same situation, we will recognise that the problem of barrenness has troubled women for a very long time. Today, many people have access to fertility treatment, but that does not always guarantee success and failure can result in heartache, desperation and, sometimes, divorce.

The description of Hannah shows someone broken in spirit and suffering greatly. She was already in the unenviable situation of being one of two wives and although Elkanah loved her the most, she was desperately unhappy because she could not have a child. What aggravated the problem was that his other wife already had sons and daughters with him, and when they went to worship, Peninnah taunted Hannah mercilessly until she cried and lost her appetite.

Hannah, however, trusted in God and believed that he would hear her when she prayed so, still weeping, she confessed her anguish to the LORD: “And she made a vow, saying, ‘O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.’” (1 Samuel 1:11)

This was no small vow for any mother to make, but Hannah saw in God holiness, supremacy and the Rock of Israel (1 Samuel 2:2). Her prayer was selfless and according to God’s will. She left her problem with God and returned cheerfully to the others.

When Samuel was born, she did not go back on her promise, but after weaning him, presented him to God for lifelong service. In this action, she essentially gave God her heart. “I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD” (1 Samuel 1:27-28). Little wonder, Samuel went on to become the greatest judge of Israel. What joy for Hannah, born of her faith and integrity!

Infertility in any form causes sorrow; it is actually a state of unfulfilment that is not easily ignored. Failure to succeed can spoil joy and obstruct development, and the insensitivity of others can become unbearable. But Hannah’s experience reveals that God has a purpose for everything that happens in our lives. Delaying Hannah’s childbearing served the greater good of all his people, and her pain and soul-searching helped her grow closer to God. Instead of being left empty, he filled her life with more than she had asked for and she devoted herself wholeheartedly to him.

Proverbs 13:12 highlights that “hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life”.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.21.9
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