<<godly OT woman>>
She was unable to conceive children and, in OT times, such a woman was considered a failure. She vowed before God that if she did have a son he would be given back to God for his entire life. Eventually she did conceive and Samuel, who was born in 1105 BC, became the last of the judges who governed Israel prior to Saul, their first king.
Her story is told in 1 Samuel 1:2-2:21.
Lessons from her life: * In honesty and anguish she poured out her heart to God the only source of real help (1 Sam 1:10-16). No doubt she was feeling discouraged with all the ridicule she was receiving for being unable to have children. Do I bring my burdens to Him or try to battle along on my own, entertaining thoughts such as God can’t or won’t respond? When everyone and everything seems to be against us, and we are ‘barren’ in some areas of our lives, we suffer needless pain if we don’t bring all our concerns and troubles to God in prayer. Even if God does not relieve our burden or solve the problem at least He is sympathetic to us (Heb 4:15).
* Although Eli the priest initially expressed disapproval of her, she did not take offense or give up on her dream. Then he said, “…may God grant what you have asked of Him” (1 Sam 1:18). Something took place in the spiritual realm when those words were spoken; this resonated within her heart and soon after she became pregnant and bore Samuel who would become the priest. Words of encouragement, and especially those with a divine message, change the whole outlook. Do I speak life-changing, life creating words?
* She kept her promise to give the child back to God even though it would have been very costly and painful (1 Sam 1:27,28). She realised that she was only a steward of what God had blessed her with. Whatever we have and receive has only been loaned to us from God; we should ensure we use it for His glory and not hold onto it tightly. It is dishonest if we ignore or go back on a promise made, especially to God. Keeping our word should be a characteristic of our lives.
* Each year Hannah made a coat and bought it to Samuel (1 Sam 2:19). She didn’t shut him out of her mind, but rather helped by providing for his ongoing needs. What God gives and takes away should not cause us bitterness or prevent us from being involved in blessing others. Who knows the long-term outcome of our sacrificial actions.
* God honoured her commitment and sacrifice and gave her five more children (1 Sam 2:19,21). God is no man’s debtor, “Those that honour Him, He will honour” (1 Sam 2:30). He does not always bless or reward by the same commodity as with Hannah – it may be in a different realm that He enriches our lives. Although God’s blessings might take a while to materialise, they will come, if not in this life certainly in the life to come (Mt 19:27-29).
See also: barren, Eli, judges of Israel, promise, Samuel, vow.