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Hannah, thou art loosed
The Israelite Hannah
As we study the first chapter in the Book of Samuel we see a type of spiritual redemption in the life of Hannah. The text shows us the overcoming grace of God in her struggles to have a son. We also see a type of adversary; in this case it’s called “Peninnah” and finally Hannah’s husband redeemer.
Samuel was the fruit of expectation with which Hannah (God's grace) had become pregnant giving birth to a son that would be a prophet and leader to Israel.
He was the last judge in Old Testament Israel and the first male who both judged and stood in the prophetic office. Here in the book of first Samuel God unveils the events that led to Samuel's birth.
a. The timing – It was about 132 yrs. and 5th generation after Israel crossed Jordon and settled into Canaan. Eli was old and without a vision for the people. The Old Testament prophet Habakkuk says; write the vision down that they may see it and run with it (2:2). So we see clearly that, without a vision the people perish. Leaders should have some goals, some aspirations. But we see that Baal worship had crept in and their leaders manipulated and controlled the destiny of the people.
b. Location – Ramathaimzophim among the meaning in this word is, “Two hills”; therefore signifying that it was time for Israel to make a decision. It was the beginning of a new place.
c. The Anguish, act of sincerity of his mother that caused God to give permission for his miraculous birth. Some synonyms for the word “anguish” are agony, distress, torment, suffering, grief, sorrow and pain.
As you mature in God you will find out that receiving from God is not merely filling out a requisition form and then wait until your number is called but sometimes it requires, anguish.
You see, the dept of your need requires the height of your exaltation or the height of you honor of God . In other words, if you exalt God then he will come down to the very core of your need and make a way of escape; he will meet your need. A building can only be as strong as its foundation and only be as high as its dept. So God wants us to sincerely seek him especially in times when the situation seems impossible, he promises to meet the need. Jesus said that "seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto us”.
Samuel could not arrive in the earth realm until God said, let it be so.
God was waiting on his mother, aka, “Grace” to go to the temple and be belittled by Eli who thought she was a common woman filled with wine because of the way she crouched and moved her lips as she cried in anguish for the Lord to give her a son.
Sometimes, God will allow your situations to get so low that even your very leaders will begin to ridicule your very existence. Remember that Jesus was tested on all points yet without sin.
Here was a woman in deep sorrow so much so that her body appeared to be uncontrollable and the leader made a split decision and said in today's Ebonics, "You are a funky drunk why don't you get out of my temple?
God has the right to make requirements before he gives permission to a man or ministry to function in His kingdom.
As we proceed we see the text does not begin by giving the man’s name but refer to him as a certain man but the two wives are named. God had a reason for doing this and you will recognize this as we proceed. Now the wives were,
a. Peninnah meant “coral”, “red coral or pearls”. This sister was fine and fertile. Corals are marine organisms living in colonies/ coral reef/ large array of colors but also have the ability to sting. They exude calcareous deposits. These become hard and stony similar to the heart of Peninnah with the ability “to sting”, this is able to damage your soul. She has a revenge mentality and is also insecure, giving heed always to her defenses.
b. Hannah meant “gratuitous gift”, example grace, mercy. The Greek word is “charis”, graciousness (as gratifying), especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude):—acceptable, benefit, favor, gift, joy pleasure, thank and liberality. It is by grace that we are saved, through faith, not of works. It is the gift of God. Grace reveals Jesus. Jesus gave the gifts so the gifts could reveal him. As we shall see, Samuel, the gift of God which came though Hannah, revealed God to Israel.
But the Lord God is looking at the Church today and He is saying,
a. Where is the spirit of “Hannah” to whom I have extended my divine favor?
b. Why isn't the church responding in gratitude?
c. Why are they so quick to accept my gifts but slow to respond is praise and worship?
d. Why am I not pleased when I am with them?
The answer to these questions is spelled out in one word, “Peninnah”.
We have been looking at the pearls or the jewelry of life but have forgotten who it was that paid the price for us to have the prosperity. The church has been making “Peninnah” to sting her soul and the exudation, to harden her heart.
We have forgotten our “husbands” sacrifice,
1. How it is on his land on which we dwell
2. His water which we drink; the water of the word
3. It is by his Spirit by which we are awakened so we may continue our scandalous lives,
4. When we were in a life of meandering, it was our “husband” that brought redemption.
The name of the certain man in this story is finally given as Elkanah meaning “God has redeemed”, he is the one who acquired Hannah, possessed and redeemed her.
· This chapter shows the life of two women, one careful about the world and the other caring about God.
Today we have to ask ourselves a question, “Which am I, Peninnah or Hannah?
Before you answer too suddenly we must first look at the life of Hannah.
The bible says that,
a. Hannah had no children; God had closed up her womb. In order for God to get you where he wants to take he will allow you womb to be closed. God knows about sacrificing your today for your tomorrow. I have never seen a person to accept Jesus as his Lord and Savior one day and the next day become a pastor; it's akin to giving your newly born child your car keys and sending him on an errand. Or how many of you have ever had a good quality female dog and out of good intentions you had it spaded. You did this because you did not want it to get out of your home and have an accident with a mutt; leaving you to care for some “strange things”. Notice that after Hannah had given birth and the child was weaned she quickly sent the child as had been promised to God to be brought up in the house of God. Even though she must have known about the debauchery of Eli’s sons, she was depending on God for the well-being of the young child. This was a child who had been promised to God from that day when she received the word of the Lord from Eli.This child would be the nation of Israels first ordained prophet-judge to lead the nation. He was not the first prophetic voice but the first to lead and serve as judge over God's people.
b. Adversary who provoked her – “tsarah” is the Hebrew word for adversary and means; tightness, female rival, affliction, distress, tribulation. Provoked is the Hebrew word “kaas”, meaning; to trouble; by implication to grieve, rage, be indignant:—be angry, be grieved, take indignation, provoke (to anger, unto wrath), have sorrow,
vex and to be wroth.
c. The adversary made her to fret – Hebrew word, “raam” meaning to tumble, that is, be violently agitated; specifically to crash (of thunder); figuratively to irritate (with anger):—make to fret, roar, thunder, trouble.
d. Did not eat – Hebrew word “akal” meaning to eat, to burn up, consume and devour.
e. Bitterness of soul - bitter (literally or figuratively); bitterly- angry, chafed, discontented.
f. The affliction of thine handmaid – Hebrew word, “oniy” means depression, misery. Depression becomes the birthplace of God’s spiritual intervention; a place of the beginning of God’s manifestation. When a person is drowning you have to wait until all the fight is gone out of him before you try to save him or else he may pull you under with him. Depression is when all the fight, the resistance to the move of God is gone from you so God can become fully enthroned in your life.
In the beginning when sorrow and affliction reigned over the earth, Genesis 1:2 says, “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
We need the light or the revealing of the Lord to move us from our place of affliction and depression.
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. Light came for Hannah when Eli gave her the word of the Lord.
He said in vs. 17, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hath asked of him.
She received the word of the Lord and replied graciously for she replied in faith having an unction that God had heard her prayers.
Her name meant grace and grace responded to the grace of God coming out of Eli’s mouth and God was well pleased. She knew that she had broken through and was confidently assured that all was well.
Her response was, “let your handmaid (which is your symbolic grace) find grace in your sight”, in other words, favor is already done!
I believe she said in her heart, “I merely needed for the man of God to say something to me on which I could agree!
That’s the response that God seeks to find in his vessels. That was not a spirit of confusion speaking but faith.
When grace becomes balanced by grace then God has to find an outlet for then you have caught up with the teacher and it’s now time for a new lesson plan.
Notice that when light appears all the symptoms of a sorrowful spirit disappear. It was as if depression was never there because of the peace that overcomes the soul.
Being a Christian is a battle of spiritual warfare. We don’t all fight the same battle at the same time for we differ in age towards maturity.
One thing that we must recognize and is shown here in this text is that God will always hear your prayers and so Grace (Hannah/ charis) named her son Samuel meaning, the Lord heareth.