“…but the LORD had shut up her womb” (1 Samuel 1:5). Hannah was one of the two wives of Elkanah; her womb had been shut up by the Lord and so she was barren of children. In Israel in that day it was a shame for women not to bear children. Psalm 127:3 gives the sentiment of the day, “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. (4) As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. (5) Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”
Therefore, a woman that could not bear children was a judgment of God. It brought dishonor to her and also to her husband. This is very evident in 1 Samuel 1:6, as Hannah’s adversary, Elkanah’s other wife Peninnah, mocked her and made her, “…fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb.”
Verse seven reveals that Peninnah did this mocking year after year when Elkanah and his two wives and children would go to Shiloh to worship and sacrifice unto the Lord. This provoking of Peninnah to Hannah was so sore that it caused Hannah great grief, and so she wept and would not eat. Verse ten reveals Hannah’s inward bitterness of soul, “And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.”
Hannah finally vows a vow to God to return her son to the House of God to be used in His Service for the rest of his life, if God would honor her petition for a son. God did send Hannah a son. His name was Samuel. She did return Samuel to the High Priest after he was weaned. God used Samuel as a prophet and judge of Israel in a mighty way for years, as he led Israel in the ways of God. Looking back, Hannah saw, and even as we read the story of Hannah and Samuel we see, that God had a plan and it was carried out as He had planned before time ever was.
The message in these Scriptures teach us to wait on God, and as we wait, the uselessness of fretting over our present situation. Obviously, God commands us to pray; to make our petitions known unto Him (see Luke 11:9-13; James 4:2d); and these petitions must be according to God’s will (1 John 5:14). However, what I believe that we should glean from Hannah’s fretting is that she had allowed her adversary, Peninnah, to provoke her in something that was completely out of her hands to change. By reading Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel 1:9-18, and in her conversation to Eli, the High Priest, and Hannah’s praise to God in 1 Samuel 2:1-10; we see that Hannah believed that God was her God, that God was Sovereign in all things, and that God will judge the enemies of God and of His children. She knew these facts and yet she allowed Peninnah to provoke her even to tears and caused her not to eat.
Child of God, don’t let the enemies of God vex your spirit; especially not when it is God’s business, such as was with Hannah not having any children. It is God that giveth life in the womb. Not Hannah, not any human can create life in the womb. Don’t let the enemy mock you when you know you are walking in the Righteousness of Christ; when you know that God is working in your life.
I believe because of this very principle that we see in Hannah’s life, that she allowed her adversary to vex her, many of God’s children are sick in mind and body. When you are so disturbed over a situation that you cannot change, and it is so bad that it causes you to cry and not eat, then you as a child of God need to stop and examine the problem. The problem lies not in God or in His ability or in His timing; but the problem is a lack of dependence by you upon the Promises of God. You are walking in the flesh and not in the Spirit of Christ. You are allowing the flesh to defeat you, to rob you of your joy; and you bring shame to your Heavenly Father. When you allow the enemy to do this to you, you are saying to the enemy: I don’t believe that God loves me; I am not in His plan; God is not able to supply my needs. When you deep down know that God lives in you; that you are His child and He is your Father; that He has good for you and an expected end; that all things are working together for your good; and if God be for us, who can be against us.
Christ used His Word to defeat Satan in the Wilderness of Temptation in Matthew 4:1-10 – and so do the same. Equip yourselves with God’s Word; read Psalms 34 and 145 and God’s Promises. Come to rest in God; believe God’s Word; wait on God; knowing that “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable” (Psalms 145:3).
Child of Grace, lift up you head; dry your tears and feed on God’s Word; for you are a child of the King of kings, the Lord of lords in whom is All Power in heaven and in earth. Surrender your fear and frustration to God; submit to His will, obey His Word, and be still and wait and endure until the end. God will reward you greatly.
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
The objector says, “But you don’t understand my situation!” Child of Grace, the problem is not your situation, but your lack of learning to wait upon God and His timing. Refuse to listen to your adversary; take his mocking to the Word of God and examine it in light of God’s instruction on the matter. Men are liars, but God is Truth. Believe God, trust Him, obey His Word, and then just be still and wait in prayer.
Hannah found relief when she went to God and prayed for a son once she left it in God’s hand. “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.” (1 Samuel 1:18)