"Snippets" from David
Every year Elkanah made his pilgrimage to Shiloh to offer his sacrifice in Israel’s national worship. Each year he took his two wives with him—Peninnah who had sons and daughters, and Hannah who had no children. From the part of the sacrifice that belonged to him, he gave Peninnah and her children a part and Hannah a double share.
The journey and stay at Shiloh were especially a sad time for Hannah. It was the annual “in your face” reminder that she had no children. Peninnah would deliberately irritate Hannah by calling her attention to the fact Hannah still had provided Elkanah with no children. For Hannah, it was a time of crying. Rather than a time of joyous feasting that celebrated God’s glory and blessings, for Hannah it was a time when appetite for food was gone. Though Elkanah tried to console Hannah, she felt life was empty and meaningless without children.
One year she was especially distressed. She went as close to the sanctuary as was permitted women. With the tears of anguish, she silently prayed to God. She moved her mouth, but spoke to God only in her heart. She promised God if He would give her a son that she would give her son back to God.
The elderly high priest, Eli, watched this strange occurrence. He concluded this woman who was unknown to him was drunk because she prayed silently. He was so convinced of her drunkenness that he chastised her publicly and ordered her to put away her wine. His supposition, public rebuke, and the situation must have been embarrassing to Hannah.
In her shame of the moment, Hannah responded to Eli. With respect she said, “I am grieved, not drunk. I have poured my soul out to the Lord. Do not regard me a worthless woman. I pray to the Lord out of my great concern and the provocation I endure.”
Eli told her to leave in peace (may she find peace in her prayer). He even asked God to grant her petition!
When Hannah left, she was no longer sad. Rather, her appetite returned and she feasted to honor God.
From this event was born Samuel whom Hannah gave to God’s service.
Consider some observations. (1) Things are not always as they appear. Eli thought Hannah was drunk when Hannah was actually praying to the Lord in a manner Eli was unaccustomed. (2) Expressions of faith in God do not always take the form other’s expect. Eli was not accustomed to women coming to the sanctuary to pray silently. (3) Be wary of passing judgment on things you do not understand. What appeared to be a drunken act was actually an act of devotion. (4) When God responds to your prayers, keep your promises. Surely, giving an only child to God produced a sense of absence! (5) Only God can provide enduring peace in the face of great personal distress. Distraction is not the answer to continued frustration!
When life becomes meaningless, only God can renew meaning to life in ways that cannot be destroyed!
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