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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Learning from Hannah’s spiritual experience (1 Samuel 1:21-28)

We saw in a previous reading that Elkanah had not fully appreciated his wife’s spiritual desires. But having watched how the Lord answered her earnest prayers he has realised that she has spiritual insight. This points to him being a humble man, willing to admit where he had been wrong. It is a sign of spiritual strength to admit one’s failings and to learn from others.  

The Lord often teaches us through unlikely people. It was a common outlook at that time for the opinion of women not to be valued, even by their husbands. So Elkanah was different in this way as well, because he learned from the providential dealings of God with Hannah.   

Therefore when she decides to stay at home with her child rather than journey to the tabernacle Elkanah agrees. In his reaction we have the secret of spiritual harmony in a home – when both spouses respect the way the other is being taught by the Lord. One consequence of this increased respect that Elkanah had for Hannah would be answered prayer, for Peter tells us in 1 Peter 3:7: ‘Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.’ 

The presence of Samuel, of course, would be proof that God answers prayer. This would be so to Hannah herself, to Elkanah, to Peninnah, and to the community as a whole. Hannah must have been tempted often to respond to Peninnah in the way the latter spoke. But she did not; instead she committed her situation to God, leaving it to him to deal with the situation.

A fair deduction to make is that the best way for vindication to come is to let the Lord vindicate. And one of the ways God vindicates his harassed people is by answering their prayers. He did so with Hannah, as we can see. Nevertheless this is not an easy path to travel for it demands both faith and patience. We need faith in God’s ability to help in our situation and we need patience to wait for God, for often he delays in coming to our help. 

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