The story of Hannah (I Samuel 1-2:11) touches so many women and families today. Many of us want to get married, have a family, and live happily ever after. But those who are married, and have families know that it’s not happily ever after. This is where the real fun starts; keeping marriage, children, and everything else in order can be challenging and rewarding.
Elkanah had two wives; Peninnah and Hannah. Peninnah had children but Hannah had none. Elkanah and his family would travel to Shiloh once a year; every year to worship and sacrifice. Elkanah loved Hannah dearly. During the time of eating the sacrificial meat, everyone received their portion but Hannah was given a double portion.
Isaiah 61:7 (AMP)
Instead of your [former] shame you shall have a twofold recompense; instead of dishonor and reproach [your people] shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double [what they had forfeited]; everlasting joy shall be theirs.
God promises that we will receive a “double portion” for our troubles as mentioned in the scripture above. What did this mean for Hannah? What does that mean for us?
Even though Elkanah took care of Hannah and she had no regrets of being his wife, the embarrassment of not having a child was overbearing her. She also had to contend with Peninnah’s provoking her to the point of tears and not eating.
Unlike the Levite man in Judges 19, Elkanah knew how to take care of his family and took special care of Hannah.
I Samuel 1:8 (AMP)
Then Elkanah her husband said to her, Hannah, why do you cry? And why do you not eat? And why are you grieving? Am I not more to you than ten sons?
Poor Elkanah was trying his best to give all that he could humanly possibly give to his wife but there was nothing he could do to keep her happy.
Are there areas in our life that we focus so much on what we don’t have, that we don’t celebrate and cherish what we do have? Hannah was so grieved by not having a child, that she couldn’t enjoy her marriage and her life.
King David had his moments as well. His son, Absalom, gathered men and went against his father, David, to try and overthrow him from his kingship. David, family, servants, and men had to flee from their homes in order to save his people. There was no other way than to go into battle against his own son. Absalom was killed in battle and when news came to David that Absalom was dead, he grieved and the whole household was in mourning. David was not celebrating the fact that his men had just won the battle to keep him as king and ruler. He focused on the calamity of everything that had happened within his own household and how devastation had occurred. He must of thought of the past and reminisce on what Nathan had prophesied to him.
We know the dangers of thinking about past mistakes and not celebrating the “now” in life. But David had a faithful commander, Joab, who straightened him up and told him what would happen if he didn’t change his attitude. David realized his mistake and moved from “emotional” to “do what’s right” attitude in order to save himself, his household, and the leadership God called him out to be (II Sam. 14-18, 19:1-8).
There are times in our life that we have to celebrate where we are at that moment. It may not be the “I’ve arrived” moment but it suffices for the season in our life. The Lord works things out in his perfect timing regardless of what we think. For whatever reason childbearing was delayed for Hannah, God knew the perfect plan for her; and He knows the perfect plan for us.
After their dinner in Shiloh , Hannah decides to pray at the temple. She’s very desperate at this point and tells God that if He remembers her at this time of affliction and allows her to have a son, she will give him back to the Lord all his life (I Sam. 1:11).
Two individuals took note of her statement
1) When Eli, the priest, saw her moving her lips but didn’t hear anything comeout of her mouth, he thought she was drunk. But in reality, she waspouring her heart out to the Lord. Once he realized she was praying,he blessed her.
I Samuel 1:17 (AMP)
Then Eli said, Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him.
2) It was God’s timing to complete the process.
I Samuel 1:18-19 (AMP)
18Hannah said, Let your handmaid find grace in your sight. So [she] went her way and ate, her countenance no longer sad. 19The family rose early the next morning, worshiped before the Lord, and returned to their home in Ramah. Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her.
Hannah knew that it was time for the Lord to grant her a child. She departed from the temple, no longer sad but in thanksgiving and gladness for what was about to happen.
She became pregnant and bore a son named Samuel, which meant “heard of God.” She did not return to Shiloh for the yearly sacrifice until the child was weaned. When Samuel was about two or three years old, they went to Shiloh , sacrificed, and gave the child to be dedicated to the Lord’s work all of his life.
Hannah was fulfilled; her heart rejoiced and exulted. Her excitement, trust, and obedience in the Lord are exemplified in I Sam. 2:1-10.
Did she receive “double for her trouble?” She sure did! We would think that she may have had two more children if we go by this statement. But the Lord gives us beyond what we think. She had five more children after Samuel.
God delights in giving us gifts beyond our imagination. Let’s tap into all that God has to offer by taking the first steps; obedience.