There was a man named Elkanah of Ramah, who had two wives. One of his wives was named Peninnah, and his other wife’s name was Hannah. Peninnah had children, but God had not allowed Hannah to have children yet. Although Hannah did not have children, her husband loved her greatly. Each year, when he and his family went to Shiloh to offer sacrifices to the Lord, he would give Peninnah and her children a portion of the meat, but to Hannah, he gave a double portion. Yet, Hannah was inconsolable. Because Hannah did not have children, Peninnah purposely did things to make her feel upset. Thus, Hannah did not desire to eat. Elkanah did not understand why Hannah would become so sad. He felt he was better than ten sons to her. However, Hannah continued to desire children of her own.
While still in Shiloh, she went to the temple to pray. Sitting near the temple door was the priest Eli. Hannah cried and prayed silently to the Lord for a long time. Hannah promised God that if he would provide her with a son that she would dedicate the child back to him for his service. Eli could see Hannah’s lips moving, but no words came out of her mouth. That was because she was praying in her heart. However, Eli thought she had drunk too much wine. Finally, Eli spoke to Hannah and told her that she needed to stop drinking wine. Hannah responded that she had not had a drink. She told him not to think of her as a bad person, but instead, she had many troubles and was very sad. Listening to what she said, Eli told her to leave in peace and prayed that God would bless her with what she desired. Hannah left and was no longer sad.
At some time after they returned home to Ramah, God remembered Hannah’s desire, and He blessed her to conceive a baby. When the time came, Hannah gave birth to a baby boy. She called him Samuel because she had asked God for him. When it was time to go make the yearly sacrifice to God, Hannah told her husband that she would like to remain home with their son until she weaned him. Elkanah allowed her to stay until she weaned the child. After she weaned Samuel, Hannah and her husband took him to Eli. After sacrifices were made to God, Hannah left Samuel to serve God under Eli. When she left Samuel with Eli, Hannah worshipped God.
Samuel grew and served God well. Each year, Hannah would visit him, bringing him a new robe she had made, and every time they came, Eli would speak a blessing over Hannah and her husband Elkanah. God was very kind to Hannah, allowing her to have more children, three sons and two daughters. Samuel would go on to become a great prophet of God. Whenever he spoke a word from God, it became true. Later, Samuel would anoint the first two kings of Israel, Saul and David.
Resource: 1 Samuel 1; 2:1-11, 18-21; 3; 9; 16
- How does it feel when you desire something and others have what you desire? What feelings may arise? How do you deal with these feelings?
- How does it feel when people know your desire, but they use discouraging behavior to hurt you instead of helping you?
- Why do you think Peninnah treated Hannah the way she did?
- Despite how she was treated, Hannah chose not to retaliate and went to God instead. How much strength does it take to choose God over retaliation? Give an example.
- Hannah desired a son so much that she was willing to dedicate her son to God’s service. What promises have you made to God in hopes that he would grant your request? What were the results?
- When Hannah was praying, Eli thought she was drunk with wine. How does it feel when people misinterpret your actions?
- After Hannah explained her situation to Eli, he desired that God grant her request. How does it feel when someone else prays with you concerning your desire? Have you ever prayed with a friend or family about a desire they had? What happened?
- After God granted her request, Hannah fulfilled her promise to God even though that meant not seeing her son every day. What promise have you fulfilled though it was hard for you to fulfill the promise?
- When Hannah fulfilled her promise, she worshipped God. Why do you think she chose worship over sorrow?
- Because Hannah fulfilled her promise, she was favored. How does it feel knowing that God will favor you when you do the right thing?
- She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.” 1 Samuel 1:10-11 ESV
- Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.” And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad. 1 Samuel 1:17-18 ESV
- For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there. 1 Samuel 1:27-28 ESV
- But Samuel served the Lord. He was a helper who wore the linen ephod. Every year Samuel’s mother made a robe for Samuel. She took the little robe to Samuel when she went up to Shiloh with her husband for the sacrifice every year. Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife. He would say, “May the Lord give you more children through Hannah who will take the place of the boy she prayed for and gave to the Lord.” Elkanah and Hannah went home. The Lord was kind to Hannah, and she had three sons and two daughters. The boy Samuel grew up at the holy place near the Lord. 1 Samuel 2:18-21 ERV
- Go to God with your desires, so they are answered in the right way.
- Commit your desires to the Lord, so he can use them for great things.
- When you can offer reassurance, offer it. Reassurance can change the trajectory of someone’s attitude.
- Keep your promises, and you will welcome favor.
Father God, may we commit our desires to you, so you can use them for great things. When we are unsure, give us your reassuring grace. Grant us favor as we walk in your way, and may we forever testify of the great things you have done in our lives. We ask this in your son Jesus’s name. Amen.
When have you been offered Godly reassurance when you have desired something of the Lord?