18. Hannah, The Liberated Woman

While the nation of Israel continues in its state of disengagement with God, another ray of light surfaces; but not before a struggle.

Hannah The Liberated Woman

Childless for many years, Hannah is deeply grieved and sorely distressed.

  • She Releases her Burden to God
  • She Receives a Blessing from God
  • She Releases her Blessing to God
  • She Receives more Blessings from God

Reaction or Response

Read 1 Samuel chapter 1.

  • In what ways could Hannah have reacted to her circumstances?
  • In what ways instead does she respond to God’s working?

Hannah doesn’t hit back when hurt by others. She goes straight to God’s presence and pours out her heart.

She Released her Burden to God

People around do not seem supportive:

  • Elkanah tries but does not fully understood what Hannah was going through
  • Peninah taunts her on her childless condition
  • Eli makes a hurtful remark asking if she was drunk while she is pouring out her grief before God

God has closed her womb

Hannah Completely Let Go

Once she has prayed and God speaks through Eli, she believes and let’s go of her sorrow.

“Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast”. 1 Sam 1:18

  • She released her pain
  • She released her problem
  • She released her pride
  • She held on to the promise

She Received a Blessing From God

True to God’s promise of a child, in due time she is blessed with a son. 

  • The gift of Samuel was not only a gift to her but to the whole nation
  • As she praised God, little did she know that a great prophet was born

While praying for a child, she promises to dedicate that child to God. When she receives the child, she wholeheartedly plans to give him up for the Lord’s service in the temple as soon as he is old enough.

Sometimes God witholds a blessing when He has planned a windfall later

She Released her Blessing to God

Eli did not have a great reputation with bringing up children. His own sons were rebels. But Hannah has no excuses. When Hannah released Samuel it was:

  • Joyful
  • Permanent
  • With Gratitude
  • Without expectations

She Received More Blessings from God

Not only is she blessed with more children, but unlike Eli’s sons, Samuel is growing up with a heart for God.

1 Samuel 2:21 And the Lord was gracious to Hannah; she gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord.

2 Cor 9:7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Discussion

  • What are some difficult things to release in our lives? Burdens? Blessings?
  • What spirit of giving do we need to maintain?

When hope seems gone God’s leader is born

Decline of the Priesthood

Eli’s sons:

  • Stole from God’s offerings
  • Fornicated with women serving at temple
  • Ignored their father’s warning
  • Despised God

1 Samuel 2:25 If one person sins against another, God may mediate for the offender; but if anyone sins against the Lord, who will intercede for them?”

God’s Justice

1 Samuel 2:30 Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained. 31 The time is coming when I will cut short your strength and the strength of your priestly house, so that no one in it will reach old age, 34 “‘And what happens to your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, will be a sign to you—they will both die on the same day. 35 I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who will do according to what is in my heart and mind. I will firmly establish his priestly house, and they will minister before my anointed one always. 

God’s Justice

God punishes them by:

  • Removing the priesthood from Eli’s family
  • Getting them killed in battle
  • The punishment extends to Israel when the glory of God withdraws from them as ark is captured

1 Samuel 4:21 She named the boy Ichabod, saying, “The Glory has departed from Israel”—because of the capture of the ark of God and the deaths of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 She said, “The Glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.”

Samuel – A Faithful Prophet

Samuel on the other hand:

  • Grows up in an evil environment
  • Receives God’s call at a young age
  • Remains faithful to God all the days of his life
  • Restores peace and stability in Israel
  • Is recognized as a prophet by all
  • Systematically travels and supervises his people

Discussion

On hearing the news of her husband’s death, Eli’s daughter in law sorrowfully names her son Ichabod meaning “The Glory has departed from Israel”.

When does the Glory of God depart from

1.His people? 2. An individual?

What are some lessons for us to learn to prevent this from happening to our lives and lives of family?

References

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel

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