Summary: A message of encouragement for Christians going through a time of spiritual barreness
GOD’S PURPOSE IN BARRENESS
1 SAM 1:1-11,20,27-28
A. A common physical problem among women
B. Barren - unfruitfull, unproductive, childless,
C. Barren women in scripture
-Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Minoa’s wife, Hanna, Elizabeth
D. The disgrace of a woman being barren
-It is hard for us to imagine how devastating these events would have been for the childless wife. She was spiritually disturbed, socially disgraced, and psychologically depressed. She was married to a husband who wanted a child to assure the continuation of his family line. That husband might continue to love her, but she felt that was small consolation. It was in fact a great mercy, for a resentful husband could have made her life unbearable. Barreness was often viewed as an act of God
E. There are many things people would do to cure barreness
-fertility foods (mandrakes - love apples), fertility figurines, amulets, fertility goddesses, handmaid, adoption
-people use fertility drugs today
III. GOD HAS A PURPOSE IN BARRENESS
A. The word barren could be applied in other ways
-the barren ground -II Ki 2:19 ...the water is naught, and the ground barren.
-spiritual condition -Deut 7:14 Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle.
B. God cares about the barren and wants them to bear fruit
-God’s kingdom is not a dead, dry, barren place it is a place of growth and fruitfulness
-2 Pet 1:8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
C. God shut up Hannah’s womb (5)
-there are times when God will purposefully allow us to go through barren places
-Hezekiah - 2 Chr 32:31 ...God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart.
D. There are many times when we may feel we have crossed into a place of spiritual barreness
-we may battle many feelings - discouragement, dispair, anger,
-we feel unproductive, unfruitful, nothing is happening
-this leads us to feel that we are no good, have no use, no purpose
-God is wanting to use the experience to accomplish something
III. TO CREATE A SUPERNATURAL HUNGER
A. The barren want a baby more than anything, barreness creates hunger
-Prov 30:15-16 There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not, It is enough: The grave; and the barren womb; the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire that saith not, It is enough.
B. Hunger is the key to growth, hunger causes the newborn baby to cry out for food
C. Those who hunger and thirst shall be filled
IV. CREATE A DESIRE TO SEEK GOD
A. The barren would spend a lot of time praying and seeking God
B. The person who served the Lord and put no confidence in other things would begin to cry out to God and seek His blessing and favor
-Gen 25:21 And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived. (KJV)
-Gen 30:22 And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb.
D. 2 Chr 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
V. CAUSE US TO BECOME GOD CENTERED IN OUR PRAYING
A. The barren would seeking God but for their own reasons
-the barren may have wanted a baby to get rid of their shame and humiliation (6-7)
B. Many times we may have a selfish motive behind our prayer
-James 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
C. Hannah began wanting a baby for a higher purpose - (11)
D. There comes a time when we begin to say, "God, this is not for me but it’s for you"
VI. TO BRING ABOUT GOD’S ULTIMATE PLAN
A. There was a spiritual problem in Israel
B. God answered her prayer but not just so she could have a baby
C. God needed someone special He could work through - God needed a prophet
D. God allowed a time of barreness in Hannah’s life to bring about a greater blessing than she could ever imagine (27-28)
E. You may go through a time of barreness in order for God to bring about the right circumstances and atmosphere for his ulitimate plan to come to pass
F. God said he would never leave us so let those times of barreness stir up your hunger