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Summary: I was attending a church service where they were having a baby dedication and this Scripture was being used and the Holy Spirit begin to speak to me and say there is more in these verses than what we traditionally see and that these verses can also be spe

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TEXT: 1 Samuel 1:1-18

I am aware that this Scripture is usually read during a baby dedication service. I want to assure you that I am not crazy and that we are not having a baby dedication this morning. Last Sunday I was attending a church service where they were having a baby dedication and this Scripture was being used and the Holy Spirit begin to speak to me and say there is more in these verses than what we traditionally see and that these verses can also be speaking to the church about her barrenness.

Background:

A divided home (1 Sam 1:1-8). Elkanah was a Levite, a Kohathite from the family of Zuph (1 Chronicle 6:22-28, 34-35). The Levites were scattered throughout the land and went to Shiloh to minister at the tabernacle whenever they were needed. Elkanah lived in Ramah on the border of Ephraim and Benjamin (see Josh 18:25). Elkanah's famous son Samuel would be born in Ramah (1 Sam 1:19-20), live there (7:17), and be buried there when he died (25:1).

In many ways, Elkanah seems to be a good and godly man, except that he had two wives. Apparently Hannah was his first wife, and when she proved barren, he married Peninnah so he could have a family.

Each year Elkanah took his family to Shiloh to worship (Ex 23:14-19), and together they ate a meal as a part of their worship (Deut 12:1-7). This annual visit to the tabernacle should have been a joyful event for Hannah, but each year Peninnah used it as an opportunity to irritate her rival and make fun of her barrenness. When Elkanah distributed the meat from the sacrifice, he had to give many portions to Peninnah and her children, while Hannah received only one portion. Elkanah gave her a generous share, but his generosity certainly didn't compensate for her infertility.

The name "Hannah" means "a woman of grace," and she did manifest grace in the way she dealt with her barrenness and Peninnah's attitude and cruel words. Elkanah was able to have children by Peninnah, so Hannah knew that the problem lay with her and not with her husband. It seemed unfair that a woman with Peninnah's ugly disposition should have many children while gracious Hannah was childless. She also knew that only the Lord could do for her what he did for Sarah and Rachel, but why had God shut up her womb? Certainly this experience helped to make her into a woman of character and faith and motivated her to give her best to the Lord. She expressed her anguish only to the Lord and she didn't create problems for the family by disputing with Peninnah. In everything she said and did, Hannah sought to glorify the Lord. Indeed, she was a remarkable woman who gave birth to a remarkable son.

What an example Hannah is in her praying! It was a prayer born out of sorrow and suffering, but in spite of her feelings, she laid bare her soul before the Lord. It was a prayer that involved submission, for she presented herself to the Lord as His handmaid, to do whatever He wanted her to do (see Luke 1:48). It was a prayer that also involved sacrifice, because she vowed to give her son back to the Lord, to be a Nazarite (Num 6) and serve the Lord all his life.


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