Summary: Hannah's faith in God
The Faith of Hannah
March 3, 2010
Hannah is an example in the Old Testament of what it means to wait on God in faith. The book of First Samuel, which gets its name from the son she bore, records her story in the first chapter. She was married to a man named Elkanah, but she wasn’t the only one. Peninnah was also married to Elkanah, and while she had children, Hannah had none.
During this particular period of history and in this particular culture, it was considered a disgrace for a woman to be barren. Elkanah favored Hannah over Peninnah, but Hannah faces constant ridicule from her. The Bible says that Peninnah “provoked her bitterly to irritate her.”
The pain of this predicament sets up the backdrop for the rest of the story and this sermon. Hannah has a few choices. She can get bitter about her situation and hate those around her, she can blame herself and live in pity, she can learn to live with her situation and get by, or she can practice her faith and take the matter to God. I’m glad to say that Hannah chose to cast this burden upon the Lord and wait in faith and patience for His provision.
We are going to spend the rest of our time together looking at…
The Faith of Hannah
A person’s reaction to trials will reveal what that person is made of. A person who claims to have faith will either watch that faith come to life and support him through even the toughest trials or he will abandon it for something he feels is more capable of saving him from his circumstances. This, really, is the best part about trials; we find out what we really believe. Hannah found out something about her faith too…
1. It was Revealed in a Time of Crisis (:10)
I Samuel 1:10 says, “She, greatly distressed, prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly.”
I want you to notice the cause of Hannah’s crisis: she was barren and had to suffer a little provocation. This doesn’t seem like a big deal to a lot of people, but for her it was a source of major pain.
I bring this up first, because some of you might be thinking, “there really isn’t anything in my life that I would call a crisis. I don’t think this message is for me right now.”
The point I want you to see is that if something is a big deal to you, even though other people might not think so, God understands it. We don’t have to save up our grief until we get to the big things. God wants us to trust in Him and to look to Him in both the big and the small.
And that is what Hannah did; she trusted in God, and she trusted in Him first. I’m glad that the text doesn’t tell us that she tried other things before turning to God. Don’t get me wrong…I think God has put doctors and clinics here for a reason and we are wise to use them. But sometimes I think we place our faith in the clinics and the doctors and God is either a last resort or not much more than an aide to the doctors!
Hannah’s faith in God was revealed through her crisis.
Another thing I want you to notice here is that her faith is proved when she is in the most pain. True faith is only revealed when things aren’t well. Anyone can follow God when things are easy.
In the Gospel of Luke Jesus tells a parable about a man planting seeds. The seeds represent the Word of God, and some of them fall among the thorns. Listen to what He says about this:
Luke 8:14 says, “The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity.”
There are a lot of people who follow Christ as long as it’s convenient. They generally obey His Word, but their reason for doing has more to do with morality than it does their faith. That’s why when things start going really bad, these people drop their faith and start taking matters into their own hands. They’ll threaten, harass, avenge, toil, and plot to make sure everything works out the way they want, but God’s commands are set aside because they don’t seem to be applicable for the moment.
Where you turn when things get bad demonstrates who you really trust and who you’re really looking to.
Many of us depend on ourselves to get the job done. There are those who look to their careers or friends or families. Pay attention next time something is going wrong and see where you turn first. If it isn’t God, then you need to pray like the disciples and ask God to increase your faith (Luke 17:5)!