When we are in pain, God has a special opportunity to move in our lives – but He wants us to learn the lesson of the pain. It is for OUR BENEFIT that tough circumstances come. He knows what we need!
I. The “Players” and The “Stage” explained: Hannah’s household (1:1-3).
- People introduced (1-2a).
Elkanah the Levite assigned to Ephraim (1 Chron 6:34,35) and his two wives. He may have taken a second wife because of a special provision of Deuteronomic law that allowed a childless couple to bring on a second wife. It may also have been a levirate marriage at the loss of Elkanah’s brother (Dt. 25:5-10).
- Elkanah is from kawnaw: bought = God purchased
- Hannah is from Chnawnah: grace
- Peninnah is from pawnah: a jewel or precious stone
- Problem injected (2b): Hannah was childless. Other stories of childless women were that of Sarah (Gen 11:30), Rebekah (Gen 25:21), Rachel (Gen. 29:31).
- Practice explained (3). Elkanah went annually to worship (shawkaw: bow down) and sacrifice (zawbach: slaughter) at Shiloh (from shawlaw: resting place).
II. The Portrait: A woman of character (1:4-28).
- Resistant to Bitterness: She had pain, but her pain did not make her unlovable and bitter! Godliness works out in a LOVEABLE woman who honors her family – 1 Sam 1:4,5. (mannaw ahat afim: “portion of one double noses” is double portion).
- Realistic Perspective: She was tested, but she UNDERSTOOD THE CONTROL of God in the tough situations of her life that were beyond her control- 1 Sam 1:6.
- She was Authentic and Sensitive: Times of celebration for others were often times of pain for her. Godliness does not imply pious hardness; the godly woman is sensitive – 1 Sam 1:7.
- She placed others first: When she saw her pain was causing others, she set the pain aside and ATE, even though she did not want to! 1 Sam 1:8,9.
- She was Honest with God: Godliness shows itself in the BLEEDING HONESTY in the prayers of hurt, not empty piety – 1 Sam 1:10,11.
- She was Circumspect: Her concern for her testimony before others was sincere– 1 Sam 1:12-18.
- She trusted God to do what was right: She WORSHIPPED because God was worthy, not because He always said “yes” -1 Sam 1:19.
- She marked God’s faithfulness: She was not REPRISING, but took from God with joy and publicly declared the goodness of God – 1 Sam 1:20.
- Her word was reliable: She KEPT HER PROMISES, even the ones that HURT – 1 Sam 1:21-28.
The godly woman resists bitterness in pain, but learns to trust God through honest prayer and sharing of her pain with her Lord. She continues to stay aware of the needs of others around her and her testimony. She keeps going and waits on the Lord to bless. She is careful to praise the faithfulness of God in every area He shows care for her!