One of the major highlights of my growing up was having my mum read to me stories from the bible. Mostly, she would read the stories and then we would talk about how to make practical application of the stories. She used the book,”My Book Of Bible Stories” published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society mostly. This was a great way to be introduced to Bible stories.
Today, I was reminded of one of the stories mama read to me and I saw deeper ways of applying the story in my life. I thought maybe it would be great to share 🙂
The story is recorded in 1st Samuel chapter 1 and 2. You may have heard the story of the barren woman whom God later blessed not just with the one popular child we have come to know but with 5 more. What is it about the woman’s story that touched me? Let me share.
You see unlike in Sarah’s case, Hannah was not the only wife of her husband. Elkanah had two wives and Peninnah, the other wife bore him sons and daughters. And Hannah and Peninnah were not even cool. Peninnah is described as the rival wife who vexed Hannah sorely so as to make her disconcerted.
I can just imagine how Hannah would have borne Peninah’s taunts. Perhaps, Hannah would not even have dared to ask any of her children to help her with errands. I can hear Peninnah address Hannah in a mocking tone, seizing every opportunity to remind her that their husband married a man!
What is more, each time the family travelled for worship, Peninnah and her children got portions but Hannah only got one portion 😦 The one place she should find sucor…and yet Hannah went. Every year she went without let up. Every year Peninah would vex her and she would weep and not eat. Not even the comfort of her loving husband, who probably had no idea what Peninnah was putting his beloved wife through, was enough for Hannah.
Hannah showed signs of depression. She must have been very sad for Elkanah to ask her, “Am I not better to you than ten sons”. Perhaps just to make her husband happy, Hannah ate on this trip to Shiloh, but she was still bitter of soul.
In her bitterness she prayed to God. You could not hear her words but her lips were quivering. Who else would notice her but the high priest Eli. Without even asking, he accused her of being drunk.
Just imagine! From Peninnah’s wahala to Eli’s. Can a woman not even have peace? In today’s world Hannah would probably have tweeted: look at this one that calls himself Man of God accusing me of being drunk. Maybe he is the one that bought the drink for me. She would surely have felt justified to launch into a numbered rant or even create a blog post. But no, not this superb woman. I shall leave you to read her mild response to Eli at 1st Samuel 1:15,16.
The result? Eli blessed her and after returning home. She and Elkanah tried again and God remembered her.
Hannah had every reason to allow herself remain in a state of depression. She had reason to say “no more Shiloh”. If going to God’s house was just going to be a reminder of her pain, why should she bother? But Hannah was focused.
I have lost my way so many times. I have said, why return? Why have people give me strange looks? Why create opportunities for people to ask ‘silly’ questions like Eli did? But, Hannah’s story has touched me. Has it touched you too? I have no reason to allow anyone or anything to separate me from my worship to God. And I have even more faith to petition God even in tears to meet me at my point of need. He listens and He hears.
Maybe I should share another Bible story tomorrow. What do you think?
There is no one Holy like Jehovah, for there is no one but you; and there is no rock like our God – 1st Samuel 2:2 NWT