Part B: Hannah’s Supplication
“And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.” (1 Samuel 1:10)
Many times God will send trials and tribulations our way for the express purpose of drawing us closer to Himself, and cultivating in us a more intimate relationship with Himself. God’s Will is to make us better, not bitter.
But if we happen to find ourselves in “bitterness of soul,” as did Hannah, we must always take our condition to the Lord; and we’ll always find Grace and Mercy to help in our time of need. If we harden our hearts, this spiritual condition could very possibly spring up in our souls, “and thereby many be defiled” (Hebrews 12:15).
Hannah was in bitterness of soul because her adversary had vexed her to the point of despair. While Elkanah was on his yearly visit to the Temple of the Lord, Hannah rose up and went to seek the Lord (1 Samuel 1:9-11).
Many times, instead of going to God with our bitterness, we will choose to retaliate and avenge ourselves on our adversaries. We know that our Lord has taught us to respond just the opposite of our natural inclination – to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44).
It is not our place to avenge ourselves, but rather we are to give place unto wrath; “for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19). When we follow God’s Word and the examples set therein, such as Hannah’s – we will find God making our problems His problems, and answering our prayers.
Another direction our hearts can lead us, as a result of our bitterness, is we can get angry at God, instead of becoming broken before God. The Scripture states that Hannah wept sore before the Lord, indicating her brokenness, which eventually brought healing to her soul. Hannah could have shaken her fist in God’s face, but instead she became broken in heart and contrite in her spirit, and the Lord was open unto her cry. Yearly, Hannah’s husband brought a sacrificial offering unto the Temple of the Lord as a form of his worship. But we learn from Hannah’s example and the testimony of the Scriptures, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Psalms 51:17).
Hannah’s brokenness brought healing to her bitterness; and her countenance was “no more sad” (verse 18).
Finally, bitterness can cause us to give up on God – but thank the Lord; He will never give up on us. Hannah went to God with her issues, which revealed her heart of faith, which eventually triumphed over her circumstances. It wasn’t a requirement of the Law that the women appear before the Lord every year; only the males (Exodus 23:17). Hannah appearing before the Lord in prayer was a significant testimony to her confidence in the Lord. She knew God would move on her behalf, so she pressed forward, in spite of her spiritual condition within and without. That’s faith.
Prayer and supplication are more than just getting what we want out of God; it’s a personal encounter that can bring healing to our spiritual condition. Although God did answer a petition that Hannah desired, we must understand it was for His Name’s Sake. Samuel was to play a paramount role in the coming years of Israel’s history.
Hannah’s real problem lay in her spiritual condition; and God healed Hannah because of the sincerity of her heart. She went away “and her countenance was no more sad” (verse 18).
God desires to heal us, if we will just humble ourselves in brokenness and contrition.