I Samuel 1:1-18
We have the happiest and most excited mother of all. She is about to have her first child, and oh, the joy that floods her soul.
Then we have a woman who would love to be a mother but cannot. We are going to expound on the prayer of a woman whose womb God shut. Her name is Hannah. God closed her womb so she might go to Him.
If you are among the millions of women who have been told that you cannot bear a child let this message be a reminder that God, and not doctors, have the final say.
THERE ARE SEVERAL OBSERVATIONS WE WANT TO MAKE ABOUT THE MOTHER WHO PRAYED THAT GOD WOULD OPEN HER WOMB
1. THE PAIN HANNAH FACED (vs. 1-6)
A. Hannah was a barren woman who wanted to have a baby. (v. 2). “And he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Pe-nin-nah; and Pe-nin-nah had children, but Hannah had no children.”
Hannah, like any other woman, wanted to bear children to the man she loved. I believe every woman in this congregation this morning understands what Hannah felt. The desire for motherhood grows so strong in some women that they long for a child more than anything else on earth. No doubt Hannah looked for the early signs of pregnancy, but the days turned into months, the months into years, and her womb remained closed.
What made matters worse was the other wife, Peninnah, had children almost at will. Elkanah could just look at Peninnah and she would get pregnant.
B. Peninnah taunted and mocked Hannah at every given opportunity. (v. 6) “And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret because the Lord had shut up her womb.”
Hannah grieved over her barren life, and was deeply hurt by the words of her adversary. Can you imagine the deep pain Hannah felt with a house full of children and Peninnah constantly teasing her about her inability to bring forth a child. Think of what this did to Hannah mentally. Everyone has brought forth a child, or is bringing forth a child but her.
C. The most difficult pain Hannah had to come to grips with, was not the fact that her womb was closed, but who closed her womb. “…But the Lord shut-up her womb” (v. 5b) “…Because the Lord shut-up her womb” (v. 6b).
Here is one of the hardest lessons we have to learn in life. The congenital handicaps, whatever they may be, to include the current limitations in your life, are given to us by the Lord. No matter how difficult things may get, or how much we are forced to struggle against them, God is in control of the circumstances of our life.
It was God, not satan who shut this woman’s womb. He gave her both the capacity and the desire to be a mother, but He turned around and shut up her womb to prevent her from bearing a child.
D. Why does God do things like that to us? He does not give us these circumstances to anger, torment, or to lead us into bitterness and resentment. God gives us these circumstances to create in our lives a condition so when He relieves that condition, new glory and praise will come from us to Him.
In other words, God gives us these circumstances in order that we might bring them back to Him in prayer. He then leads us to a solution we never would have otherwise found. Thus, He gives us a greater answer than we could have dreamed. “And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And His disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him” (John 9:1-3).
Jesus is saying that God created a condition in this man so when He relieved it new glory would come forth for His own name.
God gave Hannah this problem in order that she might accept her problem, and bring it to Him in prayer, that she might find what solution He had in mind. Prayer is conversing with God. The circumstances you are currently under were placed there by God that you might come to Him and have a full conversation with Him about the situation.
God does not want “A WORD OF PRAYER,” nor does He want to have “A LITTLE TALK” with you. He wants a full-blown conversation with you about what He has placed in your life. In light of your present situation, have you learned to accept it? And if you have accepted it, do you mention it to God in prayer, or do you talk to God about it in prayer? You need to talk with God in prayer.
Prayer is the key. God brings solutions into our lives to draw us closer to Him. But you say, “Others don’t have my problems and they are not that close to God. Why me?” Has the thought ever ran across your mind that God does not want them as close to Him as He wants you?
II. WITH THAT IN MIND, LET’S LOOK AT THE PRAYER HANNAH PRAYED (vs 7-16)
A. Hannah accompanied her husband and his other wife and children to town for the annual sacrifice. On her way to the temple, Peninnah constantly provoked her. “And as he did year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, so she provoked her; therefore she wept; and did not eat” (v. 7).
Elkanah, being a loving and understanding husband, did all he could do to comfort Hannah. “Then said Elkanah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? Am not I better to thee than ten sons?” (v. 8).
B. Hannah couldn’t take anymore, so she had an encounter with God in her heart. “So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the LORD. And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore. And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head” (verse 9-11).
It would appear that Hannah is offering God some kind of bargain. If God would give her a son, she would offer him back to the Lord as soon as she weaned him. However, this is not what she is saying. I’m sure this is not the first time Hannah prayed at the temple for her son.
Up until now, Hannah wanted a son for herself. She wanted a son because Peninnah had sons. She wanted a child because everyone else was experiencing motherhood and presenting their husbands with a child and she thought it only fair for her to do the same.
She wanted a son so she could teach him how to be a little man like his daddy. She wanted a little child so that child could become the pride and joy of her life. Hannah wanted a child for herself and she prayed often for that, but God never answered her prayers.
Hannah’s problem is that she wanted God to change her situation for her sake and enjoyment, and not for Christ’s sake and glory. This is the problem most of us are having today. We want God to change our present situation for our personal enjoyment, and not for His glory. James says in James 4:2-3: “Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”
C. Hannah’s prayer on this occasion is different. She realized that children are not just for parents to love, but for the Lord to use. In her distress, she prayed that God would have what He wanted–a man for His glory and His purpose, and that He would let her be the instrument of that blessing. Hannah was so involved with talking to God that the priest thought she was drunk. “Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken. And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? Put away thy wine from thee. And Hannah answered and said, no, my Lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my heart before the Lord” (v. 15).
Whatever your current situation, it was placed there by God to bring you to Him for His solution. But in your talking to God you need to seek His glorification and not just your satisfaction.
III. THIS BRINGS US TO THE PEACE HANNAH EXPERIENCED
A. Notice the remarkable change in Hannah’s heart. “Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace; And the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast ask of him. And she said, let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight, so the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad” (vs. 17-18). She had an encounter with God in her heart and immediately she experienced the peace of God. The peace of God assured her that something was about to happen.
The peace of God does not guarantee an answer to your prayer. It guarantees that your heart and mind will be guarded against discouragement and defeat, while you are waiting for your prayers to be answered. It is the peace of God, which speaks to our hearts when we are troubled by the circumstances of our lives.
B. Hannah gave birth to a boy whom she named Samuel. The name means “Asked of God.” “And they arose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the LORD, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the LORD remembered her. Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying Because I have asked him of the LORD.”
C. After he was weaned she gave him back to the Lord. “And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the LORD in Shiloh: and the child was young. And they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli. And she said, Oh my Lord, as thy soul liveth, my Lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the LORD. For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there.”
D. Not only did God bless Hannah with a son, but He gave her three other boys and two girls for good measure. “And the LORD visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the LORD.”
In this, God assured Hannah that if she would give Him what He wanted (Samuel), He would in turn give her what she wanted–children to love and take care of. Some of you want God to bless your financial situation, but you must be willing to give to God His portion first. Others want God to intervene in some struggle you are experiencing and He will, but you must be willing to make God head of your life.
E. Hannah’s prayer was answered when she produced God’s program and plan into her life. In light of your situation, do you want God to change your life? Is God’s plan and program clearly seen? God will answer prayers that put His plan and program first.
If you are struggling today, or if you are praying to become a mother, you need to accept your situation and bring it to the Lord in prayer. When you pray, ask God to have His way, and to bring glory upon Himself. Let the peace of God keep you until the hour of His solution has arrived. And remember that God is still on the throne.
“SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD, AND ALL THESE THINGS SHALL BE ADDED UNTO YOU.”
Dr. & Mrs. Lynwood Davis