• The story of Hannah and the birth of Samuel remains one of the most remarkable stories in the Bible.
• How a barren woman could call on God and in the process one of the greatest characters in the Old Testament is born.
• Samuel grew up to become the last of Israel’s judges, he became Israel first prophet, and he became the advisor to the first two kings, Saul and David.
• Samuel was a man who had favour with God and with men.
• He was considered a hero of the faith and his name is recorded in Hebrews 11:32 in the ‘Faith Hall Of Fame’.
• It was said of Samuel as he grew up, that the LORD was with him and didn't let any of his words go unfulfilled. (1 Samuel 3:19).
• The story was recorded well over 3000 years ago, but its lessons still hold true today.
SCRIPTURE READING: 1 Samuel 1:1 to 1 Samuel 2:11
1. DESPERATE CIRCUMSTANCES
• Hannah was a married woman who had no children and was unable to have children.
• She was married to a man by the name of Elkanah and she was one of two wives.
• The other wife seemed to be very fruitful and had several children.
• Hannah had none.
• In that time a large family was seen as a sign of a blessing and the lack thereof was seen as a curse.
• Hannah had to endure ongoing humiliation and shame.
• To make matters worse, the other wife constantly harassed and taunted her.
• She had desperate circumstances and there appeared to be no hope and no end in sight.
• She really had a raw deal.
• Her name, Hannah, meant ‘woman of grace’ or ‘gracious woman’.
• But it must have been very difficult to be what her name meant when she was surrounded by such desperate, on-going circumstances and issues.
• We know that she often cried and wept and that she would not eat because of all that was going on.
• Many people find themselves in similar situations today.
• They are surrounded by difficult circumstances, often they are issues that are beyond their control.
• Perhaps you are in such a situation today?
2. DESPERATE PEOPLE
• But then something seems to change.
• It seemed like Elkanah and his family made regular trips to the temple.
• But on this particular trip, Hannah reaches a level where she becomes desperate.
• No longer does she care who sees her or what she looks like.
• Her desperate circumstances move her to a place of desperation.
• In her desperation she cries out to God.
• It was such a dramatic change that even the priest thought she was drunk.
• Her desperation was visible.
• Hannah was praying so intently that her lips moved silently with the words she spoke to God in her heart. Eli the priest saw her and accused her of being drunk.
• She answered that she was praying, pouring out her soul to the Lord.
• She told Eli that she was deeply distressed and was praying to the Lord.
• Many people find themselves in this this kind of situation today.
• They are desperate within themselves.
• Often their desperation is written all over their faces, it has become visible.
• Perhaps you are in such a situation today?
3. DESPERATE CIRCUMSTANCES AND DESPERATE PEOPLE
• When desperate circumstances and desperate people come into alignment, something happens.
• We can have desperate circumstances and not be desperate ourselves, and things don’t seem to change.
• We can be desperate but our circumstances are not desperate, and things don’t seem to change.
• But when we have desperate circumstances and corresponding desperate people, things change.
• I knew a man who was a farmer close to the area where we lived. He was a very effective farmer and his land and produce was of the highest standard. He worked very hard for many hours a day and was considered successful. One day he developed a pain in his groin. But he was too busy to have it attended to. The pain grew worse and worse and eventually he began to limp severely to be able to walk. Still he did not attend to his health. His family pleaded with him to have it attended to. His clients implored him to go and see the Doctor. His friends tried to put pressure on him, but he would have none of it. Eventually he become too sick to work and died shortly thereafter. You see, his circumstances were desperate, but he himself was not and it eventually cost him his life.
• On the other hand, I remember, some years ago becoming desperate myself. I married later in life and wanted to start a family. After nine months my wife was still not pregnant. We decided to go and see the Doctor. I remember saying to the Doctor: ‘There must be something wrong – my wife is not pregnant’. The Doctor asked me how long had we been battling to conceive? I replied that it was nine months. I could see the shock on our Doctor’s face. She responded and said to me that some people wait 9 years and that 9 months was not time when it comes to these matters. She brought me back to earth with a bump. You see, I was desperate, but my circumstances were not. Just over a year later our daughter was born. There was no need for me to have allowed myself to have become so desperate.
• But when these two dimensions come together things can begin to happen.
4. ATTITUDE CHANGE COMES BEFORE A CHANGE IN POSITION
• This is not such an easy point. Let’s look at what happened to Hannah.
• 1 Samuel 1:17 – 18 Eli answered, "Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him." She said, "May your servant find favor in your eyes." Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.
• Nothing had changed except that which she had control over – her attitude!
• When you have control over nothing, you still have control over your attitude.
• Often it is our attitude that stands in the way of breakthrough.
• We need to do what we can in the area we have control over and then believe God to do His part.
• After Hannah's encounter with God her attitude changed before her condition did.
• She started to live a normal life again prior to having the answer she longed for.
• Contentment comes with believing God and finding rest in Him.
• Contentment starts in the heart not with possessions.
• Is there perhaps an attitude that you need to change in your life?
5. THE LORD WILL REMEMBER YOU
• Just as the Lord remembered Hannah, He will remember you in your situation.
• Scripture says, "...and the Lord remembered her." (1 Samuel 1:19)
• This is one of the most comforting phrases.
• It tells us something about God’s character.
• Not long after this Hannah became pregnant and she had a son and called him Samuel which means ‘God hears!’ or ‘asked of God!’
• But Hannah had made a promise to God.
• The promise was that she would give this child back to God.
• She made good on her promise and did as she had undertaken to do.
• 1 Samuel 1:28 So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD.
• Ultimately what God gives us still belongs to Him.
• Also remember there is the aspect of God’s timing!
• 1 Samuel 1:20 So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, "Because I asked the LORD for him."
• Remember to do what you have undertaken to do.
• The Lord will remember you!
6. DON'T FORGET TO BE THANKFUL
• After giving her precious son over to God, she starts rejoicing.
• 1 Samuel 2:1 Then Hannah prayed: ‘My heart rejoices in the LORD! The LORD has made me strong. Now I have an answer for my enemies; I rejoice because you rescued me.’
• It is so important to remember to be thankful and to live a life of praise.
• It is part of having that different attitude.
• Let praise and thankfulness dominate your heart and mind.
• It is an indication of our dependence on God.
• Don’t let negativity overwhelm you, but remember to praise God in your situation.
• Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.
• It is interesting to note that God had stopped her from having children.
• 1 Samuel 1:6 ‘the LORD had closed her womb!’
• One may ask why He did this? I certainly would!
• Perhaps He knew that she had it in her to be the example we all need!
7. GOD WILL DO MORE THAN YOU ASK OR THINK
• God did not just leave it there.
• God honored Hannah for honoring her pledge to Him.
• He blessed her with 3 more sons and 2 more daughters.
• From nothing to six children.
• That is more than she could have asked or imagined.
• What is more, because of Hannah and what she did, her name goes down in history as one of the remarkable women of faith.
• And still today many parents give the name Hannah to their children.
• Hannah is the 25th most popular name out of the top 100 names for girls.
• The other wife, who seemed to have it all, is not remembered at all.
• So be like Hannah and continue to believe God for what seems to be impossible!
By: Andrew W Roebert
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