Scriptures

Hannah

Introduction

In a world which seeks to have role models, some good and some not so good, the Christians I believe some of the great role models are found within the pages of the Bible.

In the Old Testament for example, this contains many role models for us today, we have great men such as Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David, Daniel, remembering that their lives we far from perfect and they didn’t always please God.

But we also find great women such as Sarah, Ruth, Esther, today were going to look at another great role for Christian woman and her name is Hannah.

Please take a moment to read 1 Samuel 1:1-2:10.

From the text we learn that Hannah was the mother of Samuel who was one the greatest prophets in the Old Testament. And very quickly we can see that Hannah was indeed a great woman of faith whose example is worth imitating. It’s always nice to be reminded that even the greatest role models had to endure real problems, like so many of us has to face today, we may not have the exact same problem but it’s a problem, nonetheless.

What were Hannah’s problems?

Well basically her womb was closed by the Lord, 1 Samuel 1:1-5. We also see when we read on that she was being provoked by her rival,1 Samuel 1:6-8.

So again, we see that just because a person has faith, doesn’t mean that they won’t have any real problems do deal with. Hannah was very much like Sarah who also suffered ridicule from her maidservant Hagar, Genesis 16:3-5.

Now if we learn anything from Sarah and Hannah, it’s simply this, we should never let anyone get in the way of our trusting in God. Hannah could have used her circumstances and the way she was being treated as an excuse for not rusting in God, but she didn’t, she never lost sight of God and continue to trust Him and worship Him, 1 Samuel 1:7.

If you take a moment to read 1 Samuel 1:9-18, you will not only be reminded that all godly woman have problems but you will see that the biggest difference is how they go about dealing with those problems. So many people want to leave God out of the picture when they are faced with problems, but godly woman will do the opposite, they will run to God for help with those problems. Hannah did exactly that through prayer.

Even though she was suffering, and we know she was suffering because the text says, she prayed with the bitterness of her soul and weeping in anguish, 1 Samuel 1:10.

She prayed with her mind totally trusting in God which can be seen in her vow to the Lord, 1 Samuel 1:11. She remained focused on God and not her problems because she continued to pray to God, 1 Samuel 1:12.

She also didn’t just pray any old things which were on her mind, she prayed from her heart, 1 Samuel 1:13. She prayed in her heart and she also prayed with all of her soul, 1 Samuel 1:15-16.

Hannah was intensely praying to God with everything she was because despite her circumstances and all her trials and so again she didn’t let those circumstances and trials get in the way of her God. She prayed with absolute faith that her God would stand by His promise, 1 Samuel 1:18.

We need to remember as Christians we don’t have to go through anything alone, but we need to remind ourselves to go to God in truthful, heartfelt prayer regularly, Colossians 4:2.

Like Hannah we need to pray in faith and believe that God will answer our prayers, 1 John 5:14-15. Time and time again we see God listening to our prayers and also answering our prayers.

You see when often feel like our prayers are falling on deaf ears but if we continue to pray, we should have confidence that God hears, and He will act accordingly to our requests. God heard Hannah’s prayers, 1 Samuel 1:19 and He acted accordingly to answer that prayer, she was blessed with a son, named Samuel, whose name means, ‘heard of God.’ 1 Samuel 1:20.

Now let’s be sensible hear, this doesn’t mean that God will always give us everything we pray for because we need to remember that our requests may not be in line with His will for us, 1 John 5:14.

If we don’t run to God with our problems and run to the world for answers, we may not stay in Christ and we know that we need to stay in Christ for Him to answer our prayers, John 15:7.

Sometimes we pray for things which are totally for our own benefits, almost selfish reasons, these prayers again won’t be answered, James 4:3.

And so, if we pray to God we need to understand that God will always provide what we need, not always what we want. But we should have the confidence to know that however God answers our prayers, it will certainly meet our needs and be for our own good, Matthew 6:33 / Romans 8:28.

Hannah was blessed because her God heard her prayers and He blessed her with a son and remember, she made a vow to God. It’s all very well us relying on God to hold up His end of the promise but it’s another thing for us to uphold our end of our promises to God.

Was Hannah planning to keep her promise?

‘Hannah did not go. She said to her husband, ‘After the boy is weaned, I will take him and present him before the Lord, and he will live there always.’ 1 Samuel 1:22

Yes, she was certainly planning to keep her promise to God and as we can see when we read on, she certainly did keep her promise, 1 Samuel 1:24-28.

Now we shouldn’t understand what’s happened here as if Hannah was somewhat bargaining with God. If God will do this then I will do that. There are many instances of people making vows to God within the Scriptures and if anyone makes some sort of vow to God, they need to ensure that they go through with it, otherwise God will see you as a fool, Ecclesiastes 5:4-5.

As Christians today there is in a sense that our ‘yes’ and ‘no’ are as solemn vows, Matthew 5:33-37 / James 5:12. And so, if our God answers our prayers and we too should worship our God with thanksgiving even more as He delivers on His promise to us, Colossians 3:17.

As we come to end of our study, we see Hannah praying again to God with thanksgiving 1 Samuel 2:1-10, but before we look at the text, let’s read the words of Mary in Luke 1 and we will just see how similar they are to Hannah’s prayer.

‘And Mary said: ‘My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me- holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.’ Luke 1:46-55

I believe that women are so much better at expressing themselves to God than men are. Both Mary and Hannah had no trouble in expressing their heartfelt thanks to God for what He had done and was doing. It’s amazing how He so quickly go to God in prayer with our requests but so slowly go back to Him in prayer with thanksgiving after He has answered out prayers.

Hannah prays with great joy in her heart

‘Then Hannah prayed and said: ‘My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance.’ 1 Samuel 2:1

She recognised that God had heard her prayer, and it was God who answered her prayer and she just couldn’t do anything but just praise God for His help, 1 Samuel 2:2-10.

Like I said earlier, it’s one thing to remember to go to God in prayer when we’re facing problems and it’s another thing to remember to go back to Him and thank Him when He blesses us, just as Hannah did, 1 Thessalonians 5:16.

We need to remember that it’s not just giving thanks to God for answered prayers but it’s also a promise to continue to praise God from that day forward. We see David doing this in Psalm 18:49.

And remember praising God is one way the Christian offers our spiritual sacrifices up to God, Hebrews 13:15.

And so, remember all the godly women we find within Scriptures and many Christian women today all have learned to do what Hannah did with her problems. They have poured out their hearts and souls to God in prayer in trust. They have learned to recognise when God has delivered them from their problems and recognised that they need to remain faithful always.

They also remember that when God answers their prayers, they will always stop to give Him thanks and continue to worship Him all the days of their lives.

And so, let me encourage you, if you’re going through some trials at the moment or have some problems in your life, go to God in prayer like Hannah and so many others did and with God’s help, you will be able to say those wonderful words which Hannah said in 1 Samuel 2:1

‘My heart rejoices in the Lord; My horn is exalted in the Lord.’

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

Hebrews 11:1

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