Summary: As we walk by faith, we may have to endure extended seasons waiting for the Lord to answer our prayer and move in our situation. If we remain faithful, God will answer in His time, according to His sovereign will.
Series: Walking by Faith # 2
The Commitment of Hannah
1 Samuel 1: 1-20
More often than not, it is difficult to walk by faith. As we walk by faith, we must trust the Lord to guide our path and provide in areas of life that are beyond our control. There are times when our faith is tested. We may be aware of a need in our life, but the Lord doesn’t provide an answer or solution immediately. In fact, we may have to walk by faith for an extended period of time. If our faith is not nurtured during these seasons in life, it often grows weak, and may even fade.
Our text today deals with a woman of faith. She faced a difficult season in life that lasted for an extended period. No doubt there were times when Hannah was tempted to give up, abandoning her faith, but she remained committed to the Lord, trusting Him to provide in His time, and in His way.
Walking by faith requires commitment. Hannah’s life beautifully portrays genuine commitment in faith. I want to examine the details of this season in her life as we consider: The Commitment of Hannah.
I. The Difficulty Hannah Faced (1-8) – The opening verses of our text reveal the extreme difficulty Hannah faced. Her ability to maintain faith against such overwhelming odds offers encouragement for us today. We discover:
A. She was Barren (2) – And he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah: and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. Elkanah had two wives, Peninnah and Hannah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah was unable to have children. Verse 5 reveals the Lord had shut the womb of Hannah. She wanted to have children, but was unable. This was a situation completely out of her control.
Unfortunately there are those who can identify with Hannah. Some women desire to have children, but for some reason, they are unable to conceive. While we all can’t relate directly to Hannah’s difficulty, we have all faced situations that were beyond our ability to control. Regardless of how much we desired a different outcome, we were unable to change our circumstances.
B. She was Belittled (6-7a) – And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb.  And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, so she provoked her. The family dynamics created a difficult environment for Hannah. There must have been jealousy among the women, with both being married to the same man, living in the same house. Peninnah used Hannah’s barrenness as a means to ridicule and belittle her. This added to the misery and despair Hannah felt. Not only was she unable to bear children, she had to endure the relentless mockery and ridicule of Peninnah.
The enemy likes to use others to add to our despair in seasons of difficulty. This is just one of the tactics he uses to challenge our faith. No doubt we have all dealt with mockery and ridicule at some time or another. These times are not enjoyable, but they are no reason to abandon our faith. Our Lord endured great mockery and ridicule by those He came to save, and yet His faith prevailed as He remained committed to the Father’s will for our salvation!
C. She was Broken (7b) – And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat. The ridicule became so intense that it began to have adverse effects on Hannah’s health. In her despair and brokenness, Hannah wept and refused to eat. The burden she faced daily had gotten to the place that it dominated her life. Hannah’s faith was being put to the ultimate test.
I am sure we all can relate to Hannah in this regard. Most have dealt with stress and worry, at some point, which eventually began to affect their health. In these moments we are vulnerable to attack from the enemy. In our moments of deepest despair, he seeks to destroy our faith and cause us to question God’s love and faithfulness. He wants us to believe God no longer cares about our needs and has abandoned us in the midst of our adversity.
II. The Determination Hannah Possessed (9-16) – Thankfully Hannah did not succumb to her brokenness and despair. Rather than given in to defeat, she rose above in faith. Consider:
A. Her Fervent Prayer (10) – And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore. Hannah’s situation had not changed as of yet. She remained in deep bitterness of soul, but she refused to give up. She poured her heart out unto the Lord, weeping before Him as she shared her heart’s desire. Hannah knew that God alone could meet her need and resolve her desperate situation.