Hannah is a such a great example of diligent, persevering faith for women today. She is one of the Old Testament women I admire greatly! Recently, I posted about 7 Biblical Truths from the Book of Ruth. Similar to Ruth’s, Hannah’s story is one of great faith, devotion, and godly provision.
The Story of Hannah
Hannah’s story is recorded in 1 Samuel. Hannah was one of two wives married to Elkanah. The Bible tells us that Hannah was barren, unable to have children. On the other hand, Elkanah’s other wife, Penninah had given birth to children already.
Scripture says that Penninah provoked Hannah. As a result, Hannah had to deal with the heartbreak of barrenness and the difficulty of Penninah’s provocation. This put her in a very difficult spot. Yet we know that her husband loved her dearly. The Bible tells us he would give Hannah a double portion of what he gave to Penninah because he loved her.
On one occasion, Hannah went to the temple and prayed fervently to God. She prayed for God to give her a son, promising that if the Lord would be so gracious to her she would dedicate that child back to Him. Hannah prayed this so fervently that the priest in the temple looking on assumed she was drunk. She told Eli, the priest, her story. He blessed her and sent her on her way.
Later on, she did conceive and give birth to a baby boy, just as she had petitioned of the Lord! Hannah names her son Samuel. She then raises him for a short time and brings him back to the temple so that he can be used for the service of the Lord! What a great testimony of God’s faithfulness!
Biblical Truths from Hannah’s Story
- We should go to God in prayer.
Often times when bad things happen our natural tendency is to go to others before going to God. From a Biblical perspective, this makes no sense. Hannah could have gone to counsel with the priest or complained and vented to Elkanah, but she didn’t. First Samuel 1:10 tells us, “In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly.”
Hannah knew that her problem was bigger than people. And it is God who has power and might. It is God who can change out circumstances. She went to God because He had the ability to change her situation. And she prayed to Him because prayer changes things.
To put this into perspective, even Jesus Himself, would go off to pray on His own. And if Jesus, God’s only begotten Son who described Himself as one with the Father, needed prayer, then we most certainly need to go to God in prayer as well.
- Sometimes God withholds things so that we will dedicate them back to Him or trust Him with them.
Hannah desperately desired to have a son. So much so that she was willing to make a vow with God. She prayed to God telling Him that if He grants her this desire of her heart she will dedicate the child back to Him. I don’t know for sure, but I’m not certain that Hannah would have so willingly dedicated her child to the Lord had she not needed to depend on Him fully for the child in the first place.
And so it may be with us. Perhaps there is something you deeply desire or long for God to entrust you with. Are you willing to dedicate it back to Him? Hannah was, and so God blessed her in this way.
Maybe you fear that you will lose the blessing God has entrusted to you. God calls us to trust Him with the gifts He passes on to us. We must trust Him with our loved ones, our spouses, and our children just as Hannah herself had to do with Samuel.
- We worship while we wait.
After her time in the temple, Hannah has a short conversation with Eli, he blesses her, and she leaves. The Bible says that early the next morning she woke up and worshiped before the Lord (1 Samuel 1:19).
This is a great example for all Christians. Often times we ask something from God and we have the tendency to get caught up in our wants or even things we think we need. Hannah prayed and waited… and worshiped.
Are you willing to worship God regardless of whether or not you receive the desires of your heart? We ought to. Worship while you wait. Give Him praise before you receive the prize. Trust Him and worship Him!
If this challenges you or is an area of struggle, ask God to help you desire Him first. To want Him more than any other thing on this earth.
And then worship Him while you wait.
- God gives us the desires of our heart that are in line with His will.
It is at the point that Hannah praises God that her story begins to change. She goes from being distraught and full of anguish to overjoyed as she conceives a child. It is at this point that everything changes for her. She has what she asked of the Lord.
And this is one of many examples in the Bible where we see God grant the desires of the heart. It is important to note that Hannah was asking for something that was in line with God’s will. So when we ask for things that are in line with His will we know that we can receive answers to prayer as well.
This brings to mind Psalm 37 where God promises to give us the desires of our hearts. I believe that the meaning in that verse is two-fold. God gives us what the desires of our hearts are to be and then He is able to give us what the desires of our hearts are just as He did for Hannah.
- We praise Him for His provision.
God’s amazing faithfulness was never lost on Hannah. After she has the answer to her prayer (1 Samuel 1:27), she brings Samuel to the temple so he might serve the Lord there. She makes good on her promise to dedicate her son to the Lord.
It is after she brings this child back to the temple that she begins one of the most beautiful songs of praise that is recorded in Scripture. It starts, “Then Hannah prayed and said: ‘My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high.’ (1 Samuel 2:1) She goes on to praise and thank the Lord for answering her prayers and for His amazing provision of a blessed child in her life.
Oh, that we would be willing and eager to praise God for every answer to prayer and every need that is met!
- The favor of God far exceeds the favor of man.
Early on in Hannah’s story, we read how her husband gave her a double portion of meet because he loved her. It at least appears that he loved Hannah more than he loved Penninah. So he favored Hannah and gave her more meat as a result. But Elkanah’s favor couldn’t cause her to be free from barrenness. It took the favor of God.
God’s favor in her life meant that she was blessed to bear a child when she had previously been barren.
So we see something very important for us to remember. Sometimes we are jealous of man’s favor in the lives of others.those around us. But the favor of God far exceeds the favor of man. Always.
- Life has tremendous significance in God’s economy.
This final Biblical truth has perhaps been the greatest burden on my heart as of late. Life has tremendous significance in God’s economy. Our culture and world has diminished the value and worth of life, but it is precious. And as we can see from Hannah’s story, it is the gift of God.
This means that we are Christ followers are to cherish and protect life with all that we have. We are to recognize the inherent worth of every person alive on this planet regardless of age or size. God had a tremendous plan for Hannah’s baby, Samuel, and He has a tremendous plan for every life. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that God knows the plans He has for us, plans to give us a hope and a future.
And this includes the pre-born. We as a nation have the blood of many innocent lives on our hands. Let’s turn back from this heartbreaking reality and protect the pre-born.
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Do any of these truths stand out to you? What have you learned from Hannah’s story? Share in the comments below!
Also, looking for more lessons from the women of the Bible? Check out my posts on Ruth or the 10 Virtues of the Proverbs 31 Woman. Feel free to visit my posts on the Old Testament and New Testament women as well!