Tim Hamilton - Hannah

Hannah's experience:  I Samuel 1:6, "And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb.

7.  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.

8.  Then said Elkanah her husband to her, 'Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons?'"

The word FRET caught my attention. That's the work of the enemy of our soul, causing us to fret. To worry over things we can't change and at the same time maybe we justify our negligence on the things we can change and don't! Fretting is corrosive to the soul. It wears our spirit down to discouragement and defeat so we can't even lift our head at times. Oh yes, that's where our enemy wants us to be... right under His thumb!

Verse 8 suggests Elkanah's frustration that even he couldn't make up the difference to Hannah, no matter how hard he tried, no matter how much he expressed his love for her. Could that be, being spiritually naive, thinking he could fill the deep void in the soul of another? Maybe the woman of Samaria could relate to those efforts also, thinking her deep lack could be fulfilled by another person coming into her life. In Jesus, she found a well springing up within her own soul as she drank in and believed His words to her that day.

Year by year, Hannah was getting worn down. Trying to fight her rival with the same weapons she was using but it just wasn't working!! There was no change, there was no peace!

II Corinthians 10: 4, "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; 

Verse 5,  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."

It only brought resentment and bitterness of soul for Hannah. But in turning to the Lord, Hannah found release. She found a freedom from her prison! We always find the answer when we lay our lives down on the altar of God's will. Focusing on what the will of God is for our own lives is SO SAFE! Any thoughts of retaliation Hannah may have had in the past just melted away. Peninah didn't feature in the solution because Peninah was never really part of the problem. When Hannah poured out her soul to the Lord, she found she now had room. Room for more willingness. Room for a deeper service. Room for true worship that wasn't there before! The Lord had complete confidence in Hannah, to come through this whole experience, enriching her own soul and the Kingdom's.

Verse 14, I'm sure Eli would have felt rebuked in himself when he realised just how deep this experience was for Hannah. He judged the matter lightly, but found it to be very personal and meaningful for her.

Verse 1:18,  "So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad." At this stage, nothing outward had changed for Hannah. There was no dialogue with Peninah about the matter. Elkanah was still the same, her situation was still the same yet in Hannah, everything had changed. She knew she had been heard, respected, and understood by the Lord because she now had a peace in her soul that she'd craved for for years! Every time the Lord answers us, His answer is accompanied with peace. Joseph's simple words to Pharaoh requesting his dream, "God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace."

Verse 19,  "And they rose up in the morning early and worshipped before the Lord..." Wow, what a special feeling Hannah would have in her heart that morning! Worship took on a whole new meaning for her now.

I love the first verse of Hannah's song, ".... because I rejoice in Thy salvation." So many things fall into place when we rejoice on our salvation. Focusing again on the miraculous saving power of God and the story of His Son, not other's wrongs or faults.

David prayed in his Psalm of repentance, "Restore into me the joy of Thy salvation." David knew the joy of salvation would set his feet on the rock once again and bring stability back into his life. Hannah had found stability for herself in the stormy sea of "pride and arrogance" which had almost consumed her, verse 3 of her song.