1 Samuel 1:1-20 – Hannah – Rising above disappointment and ridicule

Hannah’s situation

  • Hannah had no children

As a result, (vs.2) possibly, her husband took another wife who bore him children.

Though he took another wife, the writer points out that “her husband loved her” despite having no children. Because of this, (vs.6), the other wife used to irritate her and ridicule her.

You couldn’t think of a more fertile situation to a life of continual misery than the one she finds herself in….

The other wife continually aggravated and mocked her inability to bear children. This continued year by year (that was her life).

As she went to the house of the Lord to pray and sacrifice (her situation remaining the same), we are told that at this particular time, Hannah would weep and not eat, which gives us an indication that she will go through dark clouds of despair and depression for what was going through her life.

I think it’s easy for us to think that God’s children do not go through depression during periods of dark clouds……

I mean you can imagine the situation for this woman – she continues to go to the temple and seek for God to change her situation but every year she returned to the same situation……

Her rival in marriage tormenting – you could hear her saying “Where is you God? Why do you have no children yet you go and pray?”

You can imagine the disappointment in her eyes…..the disappointment which eventually reaches a state of depression (continual weeping and not eating).

There are times in the life of God’s children when all seems to be going wrong……..you pray and nothing seems to be happening (disappointments lead eventually to state of depression).

She weeps and she stops eating……

We must understand this; the greatest of God’s servants have known this period that I call “periods of darkest cloud”….

David in Psalm 42-43 when his own flesh and blood, Absalom had staged a coup d’état in his own kingdom………

He knew this period of darkest cloud and even though we go through these periods – we can rise above them….. (see 42:5, 6 -11, 43:5).

Hannah is a clear example:

Number one – she has the support of her husband

He plays some part…….how privileged she was to have a husband like hers……he doesn’t say to her “gather yourself”, but rather he reasons with her.

Vs.8……Though you don’t have children – I am standing with you…..I am yours…….

It helps to have someone reasoning with you, but sometimes there is no one…….

Number two – She has a persistent faith in God….….

Hannah’s persistent faith and prayer

We are told in vs.9 that after she ate and had something to drink “she rose” and went to the temple of the Lord…..

She knows that the comfort of her husband is but temporal – she needs more than man’s words…..she needs God……hence she rises to God’s arms as it were….

As human beings we do not undermine the value of others helping in our time of need…….a counsellor may help you rise and eat, be it a professional or a just good wise Christian …….

But we are not to fool ourselves – we need more than man’s motivation, we need to turn to God in our time of need………

For man’s help is but temporal – but God’s strength remains forever……

Psychologist and Christian counsellor Dr. Larry Crab emphasizes the need for man but also the need for God in times of need:

“The witness of the Scripture, the Holy Spirit and a few Christians persuades me that there is really a path to knowing God in the midst of any circumstance.”

You can rise above any circumstance – all you need is persistence in faith…..

You must persistently trust in God……you must declare that my hope is found in no one else except in Christ…….

You must accept and declare as the prophet Hosea calls Israel to do: take words with you and return to the Lord – Hosea 14:3 “Assyria cannot save us; we will not mount war–horses. We will never again say ‘our gods to what our own hands have made for in you the fatherless find compassion’.”

This is declaration that my hope is in Christ alone……not in man…..not in idols…..

But in Christ alone……

Hannah rises above her circumstances because her faith in God was unshakable.

Put your faith fully on Christ and you will rise against whatever situation even if things remain the same……

Let us now note Hannah’s persistency that God honours……..

Look at her prayer of praise (what an amazing revelation she had)

  1. Hannah’s prayer of praise (2:1-11)

This is a song of praise i.e. vs1-2

But then afterwards it is a declaration that

  • Man’s fortunes depend on God

Have a look at vs.3ff…….

As I read the story of Hannah and her subsequent praise song, I could not miss the fact that there was Hannah going to the temple as always…..to pray.

Little did she know that this was the moment that God had ordained for her?

The God whom she praises as the One who determines seasons and periods for his children……

I always say, we don’t know what tomorrow brings – it only takes a phone call from somewhere……a decision from someone can change someone’s life…….

Today we can be full – and it is for this reason that we must be humble ourselves for we don’t have our future in our hands.

Today we can be is so much need – but then tomorrow may usher something new…….

We are therefore people of faith – unshakable faith……people who never lose hope but are continually waiting upon our God…..

As we conclude look at the story again, and realize that our hope ought to be in God……in Christ alone…..

In Christ alone my hope is found…….

Amen