Hannah stands out as someone not affected by the sin all around her and the condition of the nation. Indifference, self-seeking, and internal strife (Judges 19-21) were prevalent. There was weakness in leadership in Eli, wickedness in his priestly sons, and wantonness in the nation. It would have been easy for her to lower her standards and conform to the level of the nation around her. But she was not contaminated. One of God’s great women, Hannah, single-handedly is responsible for bringing the nation back from the brink of ruin. She prayed!
Not Content with Barrenness
Hannah was not content with the status quo. All the clichés and the explanations of it being a difficult day, a day when the nation was doing what it thought right in its own eyes – all these did not answer the longing of her heart for blessing and for God to have His portion from the nation. So she prayed! She “poured out her soul,” spoke out of the “abundance of her complaint and grief,” and she “multiplied to pray” (1Sam 1:12, 15, 16, NEWB).
Have we become content with barrenness?
Not Competitive with Others
Her rival, Peninah, vexed her sore. Home life was far from congenial. The rival wife paraded her children, fertility, and presumed divine blessing before Hannah, attempting to add bitterness to her infertile state. Competition with a rival is natural.
But Hannah did not pray for a son to shut the mouth of her rival. She had a right motive: she was concerned for the nation and wanted a son to give to God. One of the many reasons God delays in answering prayer is to give us opportunity to refine our motives in His presence.
Not Contemptuous of Others
Rebuke is never easy to receive. It tests the measure of our spiritual character. When that rebuke comes from someone whom we respect and who has developed a positive relationship with us, we find the grace to profit from it. But what about when it comes from the carnal? To be misunderstood and falsely accused is difficult and creates in us an immediate desire to retaliate or to be vindicated.
Hannah had to endure the criticism of Eli who rebuked her for her supposed drunkenness. She could have justifiably remonstrated about his immoral sons and the sacrilege of which they were guilty. She could have rebuked him for his laxity in carrying out the needed discipline. He needed to cast the beam out of his own eye first. What had he done to help the nation in its sad spiritual condition?
But she didn’t do any of those things. Meekly and graciously she explained her burden, and then received his blessing with full confidence in God. She avoided the self-righteous attitude which we can all develop when burdens are not shared by others. The progress of God’s work has, at times, owed more to godly sisters than to gifted brethren.