You have no doubt heard it said that a mother holds the hand of her child for a short while, but she holds their heart forever.
Our journey begins with a fella by the name of Elkanah, who was from the clan of Zuph, an Ephrathite and he had two wives; Hannah and Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. This fella Elkanah worshiped Yahwey and sacrificed to God (Yahwey) at Shilo. Elkanah deviated from the original law of marriage, though in a manner that was then tolerated, took a second wife. Since Hannah was barren, he may have taken Peninnah to build up his family which only consulted his own peace and comfort, rather than waiting on the Lord for Yahwey to begin his family. This is just speculation on my part. In any case, many children were a sign of status and wealth and Elkanah favored Hannah as is shown in verse five as he gave a special portion to her of his offerings.Elkanah went to Shilo for worship and sacrifice once a year, (No doubt a commanded feast day to keep an appointment with Yahwey), as this is where the Tabernacle was set up.
In verse 11, we find Hannah making a Nazarite vow on behalf of any child that Yahwey would bestow upon her as she cries out to Him for mercy upon her womb. (Numbers 6:1-6) Hannah followed script from the book of Job.
Job 7:11 Therefore I will not refrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
I am overjoyed to read this verse: 1Sa 1:13 Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore, Eli thought she had been drunken. …
We do not have to speak aloud for Yahwey to hear and answer our prayers and this sentence confirms it. We know that Hannah will bear a child and therefore we know that Yahwey heard Hannah’s heart, even though Eli the priest did not hear her speak and perceived her to be drunk.
It was Yahweh’s decision all along to postpone Hannah’s childbirth. His timing is accurate and we need not struggle as a bitter child wanting our own way. He will bring fulfillment as we walk in His steadfast will.
Notice verse 6 – ‘And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb.’
Hannah’s rival (Her husbands other wife Peninnah) kept provoking her in order to irritate her. This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat.” Hannah had a heavy heart with the entire discontentment that she had received at the hand of Eli’s other wife, who could blame her?
In verse 11, we find Hannah making a Nazarite vow (Numbers 6:1-6) on behalf of any child that Yahweh would bestow upon her as she cries out to Him for mercy upon her womb. She makes this vow on behalf of her un-born child that, “He will serve Yahwey forever and no Razor will ever shave his head. Hannah is not even pregnant and makes this vow. Not only that, Hannah believes for a son and that her son would serve Yahwey forever. Now that is real faith.
Even though Peninnah tormented Hannah, it was how Hannah handled herself that is to the Glory of the Lord. Even the high priest misunderstood her motives, but Hannah knew Yahwey was faithful and just.
Hannah did not listen to the voice that was trying to lead her down the wrong path. She sought Yahweh’s advice and repented of her bitterness before she had asked Yahwey to fill her womb.
Each of us will face a time of barrenness in our lives where nothing appears to birth forth, but we too, like Hannah, must pray and not refrain our heart and speak to Yahwey about our pain or our affliction. But we must be very careful not to make a promise to Yahwey that we do not have no way of keeping in our own self. We can do nothing alone and even though we may feel like we should make a promise, we might need to remain silent and do our best in His strength.
She has high expectations for her child. The prayer of faith means a lot. We can have this same kind of faith when we are raising our children and our grandchildren, believing in faith that when and what we pray, Yahwey will hear our hearts prayer, just like He did Hannah’s prayer.
However, we cannot raise Godly children without being a Godly parent! We cannot expect our children to be good if we do not make an effort to be like God by exuding His loving kindness in everything we think, say and do. By developing and resembling a love of Yahushua in our own hearts, we can teach our children by example, the Love of Yahwey. (Vs 12)
Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a Child in the way he should go and when he is old he shall not depart from it.”
Yahwey may decide to fulfill our prayer even though there is an attached promise. It is dishonest and dangerous to ignore a promise we make to Him. Yahwey keeps His promises and He expects us to keep ours too. Hannah went away, with out the bitterness of her soul because she left it with Yahwey. It helped too when the priest Eli agreed with Hanna’s prayer and gave her encouragement that the Yahwey of Israel would grant her request.
After she got the encouragement from her husband Eli, that Yahwey would grant her request of Him, she believed it. She was a woman of faith, soon to be a mother of faith. She went out; she started to eat something; she was no longer downcast. Nine months before Samuel was even born, this mother demonstrated faith. We need to have faith in our children. They are going to make it. Especially if we believe in them.
Did you notice there in verse 19 that Hannah had daily morning worship? The best key I know to being a mother is being a praying woman and teaching your children how to pray. If your children are already grown like mine are, and you have come late in your walk with Yahwey like I have, the best advice I can give you is to talk to Yahwey more about your children than you talk to your children about Yahwey. Do so ‘daily’!
In the next few verses, we find that Hannah has given birth to a child, given him the name of Sh@muw’el, sehm-oo-ale’ which means ‘heard of Yahwey‘. Hannah chooses to stay at home, rather than go to Shilo for the next pilgrimage that we can assume was at least, nine months following the last one, because her child has not yet been weaned. (A weaned child is aproximately at the age of three)
Though the text does not tell us it was the Feast of Tabernacles when Hannah prayed, it is the assumption of scholars. Elkanah was giving an offering, an offering that was given each day of this Feast under the Levitical system. Leviticus 23:34-36. This aligns with scripture.
Verses 26-27. “Hannah’s heart was too full of joy and gratitude to notice the injurious reflection Eli had cast upon her; but she well remembered her prayer and vow, and the Lord’s gracious answer. The words rendered, “as thy soul liveth,” are supposed by some to have been intended merely as an expression of good-will: May thy soul live.” \~ Quote by Thomas Scott
Hannah explains to the priest Eli that this is the child for whom she had prayed and because of her oath to Yahwey; she left Samuel there at the Tabernacle to be reared by the priests. She was dedicating her life, her son’s life and her entire future to Yahwey, because her child Samuel was a gift from Yahwey and Hannah knew this. He was the first born of her womb and she was following law as well. (First Fruits) This represents the gifts that Yahwey gives us and how we are to then give those gifts back to Him as is intended. We must present our best when we give a gift to Yahwey. Are we giving Him tokens of appreciation or are we dedicating our entire life to Him like Hannah did?
Samuel was possibly three years old at this time as was the customary age for a weaned child. Even though she left Samuel there, she saw him every time she visited the Tabernacle. An amazing thing for any mother to do is to give her child to someone else to raise.
Three years, that is all she had. She looked on her baby as an offering to Yahwey. Each moment with him was priceless. That early training pays off. A child learns more during the first years than he or she will ever learn again. Hannah concentrated on teaching him how to distinguish between good and evil.
Sometimes we may feel incomplete. We may want something, and we do not seem to be able to be content without it. Some times this lack of contentment is what the Bible calls covetousness–wanting something other than what Yahwey has ordained for us.
The name Hannah in Hebrew is pronounced Channah, khan-naw’, which means, favored. Hannah was favored because she bent her will to Yahweh’s will in her life. Her son Samuel became one of the most important prophets and leaders in the Old Testament. After Hannah left Samuel to be raised in the Tabernacle, Yahwey then blessed Hannah–she had several children after Samuel. The story of Hannah in my mind has many reflections on the life of Mary, the mother of Yahushua.
When Yahwey says yes to our requests, He does so in order for us to be better servants for Him. That means that we should be ready to offer back to Him the gift He has given to us. He gave it to us to glorify Himself, not to satisfy our selfish desires. Children especially are like a loan to us to raise to glorify Him. Each generation, if taught about the truths of Yahwey, would make this country a better country to live in.
In my heart I ask a question: Am I discontent because I want something that Yahwey has not planned for me, or am I in that period of time when Yahwey is asking me to be patient until the time of promise is complete?
One more thing I want to touch on is found in verses 1 and 2 of the second chapter of Samuel: ¶ And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, mine horn is exalted in the LORD: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation. There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our Yahwey.
And then Hannah prayed. Hannah’s prayer shows us that all that we have and receive is on loan from Yahwey and once again we learn that God does listen and answer our prayers.
What a prayer! For out of the heart, the mouth speaks. We can all learn a little something from this. Hannah begins her prayer by rejoicing and over and over and brings up Yahweh’s attributes, saying how great the Lord is. She does not ask for anything and her heart just continues to swell up with praise towards Him. She shows great confidence in Him, Our Lord.
Life really is not about the material things that Yahwey can and will bless upon us, but if we ask in His name, He will provide us what we need, not necessarily what we want which is a better thing by far.
He knows what we want, so in all reality, we might just get by in life by just praising Him and thanking Him for all that He has given, will give or is about to give in our future, but then we would miss out on the relationship of posing our words in the form of “Father, I need”
Whether we are poor or rich, we are in the hands of the Lord. He expects us to use the blessings that He has given; to bless others.
The greatest joy a mother can have is raising her children and then training them up so that they would know the love of Yahwey.
Eventually we all have to let go of our children when they grow up. Nevertheless, if we have raised them to fear Yahwey, love Him, and know how to talk to Him and build upon their own relationship with Yahweh, we will not ever have to fret. We can keep on praying and trusting that Yahwey will take over the child rearing and show our children how to be parents as well.
Yahwey hears our prayers and He is concerned with our afflictions. What can we learn from the story of Hannah? The effective fervent prayer of a righteous woman avails much.
Happy Mothers Day to all the women in my life, family and friends.