July 3 2022
This week we read 1 Samuel 1-10. This takes place during the end of the time of judges. We are going to focus on the story of Hannah. I hope this will encourage you.
Elkanah was a Levite, a priest, and had 2 wives; Peninnah (means pearl or rich hair) and Hannah (means grace or favor). Peninnah had many children but according to 1 Samuel 1:2 “Hannah had none.” 1 Samuel 2:5 states, “she who was barren.” 1 Samuel 1:5 says, “the Lord had closed her womb.” Hannah was unable to conceive and this was a result of the LORD.
In those days having children was highly valued. If a woman was unable to have children, she felt shame, or that she had done something wrong or sinned in some way. Hannah felt all of these things. To make matters worse, the other wife of Elkanah had many children and she kept provoking and irritating Hannah because she was barren.
Hannah became sad, and depressed. 1 Samuel 1:7-8 says , “This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. 8 Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted?”
Hannah continued to pray year after year for a son. She even said that she would dedicate him to the Lord and not a hair would be cut from his head. 1 Samuel 1:20 says, “So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel,[b] saying, “Because I asked the Lord for him.”
1 Samuel 1:24-27 says, “After he was weaned, she took the boy with her, young as he was, along with a three-year-old bull,[e] an ephah[f] of flour and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh. 25 When the bull had been sacrificed, they brought the boy to Eli, 26 and she said to him, “Pardon me, my lord. As surely as you live, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the Lord. 27 I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. 28 So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there.”
1 Samuel 3:19-20 says, “19 The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground. 20 And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the Lord. 21 The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word.”
Samuel was a great prophet during that time and he was the person who took the Israelites from having judges to having a king. He anointed Saul and eventually David to become the kings of the Israelites.
After reading about Hannah, I can’t help but think about the times that I have been barren. First, from having difficulty conceiving, and then barren in other ways.
The word “barren” in the Merriam Webster dictionary means, “not reproducing…” offspring, fruit, or vegetation. It also means unproductive results, devoid or lacking.
When my husband and I wanted to have children, I had a miscarriage. It was then difficult to get pregnant. I did not understand and felt abandoned by God.
There were many other times in life when I was barren in other ways, spiritually or physically. I would ask God “why?” and did not always get an answer.
Think about Hannah and her son Samuel. God had a great plan and purpose for Samuel’s life. He had to be born at just the right time in order to be a great prophet and the one who would anoint the first two kings for the Israelites. Jesus was in the same lineage as king David, so Samuels role at this perfect time was very important.
When Hannah’s womb was closed by God, she did not know the reason’s why, but God did. Her first-born son had to be born at just the right time so that God’s will would be done.
When we are barren (in whatever way), it may be for a specific reason as well. We need to remember that God has a perfect plan for our lives and perfect timing for events. Our barrenness can be turned into blessing.
Are you barren in any way?
I pray that if you are barren, feeling downhearted and sad, that you will pray fervently like Hannah, and trust God with the outcome. He hears your prayers, and has a great plan for your life.
Have a blessed Fourth of July. Next we will read 1 Samuel 11-20.
Resource: Margaret Minnicks