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Read 1 Samuel 1
Elkanah was the husband of two wives Peninnah who had many children and Hannah who was barren. Every year Elkanah would take his family to Shiloh for their yearly visit. It was most likely to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles or tents. This was quite a celebration and included feasting, which is why Elkanah was upset that Hannah was not eating. She was not enjoying any of the festivities.
The Israelites were to bring their offerings to the tabernacle, this offering was a fellowship offering. Its intention along with the meal was to signify fellowship and communion with the Lord and to acknowledge their gratefulness of his mercies toward them.
The first thing Hannah did set the tone for what we need to do to have close communion with God and that is to repent. The Israelites were required to offer up sacrifices, we are required to repent which means to turn from your sins. We need to make sure that nothing and I mean nothing stands in the way of you and God. Sin is what separates us from God, so it is up to us to remove it. This isn’t a vague “oh forgive me for everything” type of confession. It’s literally lingering in repentance. Its where you are before God, completely broken and sorrowful for what you’ve done. It’s where you weep because you realize for the first time how devastating your sin really is. Sometimes we nip a sin in the bud, other times Holy Spirit will reveal something to us and its time to have it removed and we do that by lingering in the place of repentance, we linger there until we feel the forgiveness of our Lord wash over us.
During this particular feast Hannah was even more upset than usual. Its almost as if she had finally had enough. Her sister wife was bullying her. She was demoralizing Hannah for not having children. Every year this woman would harass Hannah and this year she harassed her so much that Hannah began to weep, and she would not eat. They were there for this huge festival and she was so upset she could not eat.
We know that hurting people hurt people. Peninnah was hurting, she was jealous that her husband loved Hannah and so she would make fun of Hannah for being barren. She knew this would hurt her, so she used this vice to get even. What she didn’t know is that the pain she was causing Hannah is what catapulted her to receiving Gods blessings.
The family sat down together having their dinner, they’ve already given their offerings and sacrifices and now it was time to celebrate.
The feast was finally finished, with a broken, heavy heart Hannah stands up and in her deep anguish she began to pray a prayer so intense it was filled with weeping. Have you ever wept before the Lord? Hannah had the full on “ugly cry”, tears and snot running down her face.
Then she says something incredibly significant. She made a vow to God. Have you ever done that? Promised to be a good Christian if God helped you out of a sticky situation. I’ve done that as a kid when I wanted to pass a test I never studied for.
Hannah made a vow that if God would give her a son, then she would give him back to the Lord, that her son would serve the Lord all his life and his hair would never be cut.