Hannah’s Hunger: Motivation in Prayer

This is a message I offered to the Church on Sunday, 10/4/15.

Hannah’s Hunger: Motivation in Prayer

These are my notes:

Intro: this disturbing age. (Mass shootings, Islamic uprising, American decline, moral relativity, self-absorption, loneliness, confusion in the Church, etc.)

Judges 21:25. There was no centralized governmental or spiritual authority. The only leader-figures in the story are Eli and his sons, Hophni and Phinehas.

1 Samuel 2:12-17; 22-25.

“…they did not know the LORD…” vs 12

” …the men despised the offering of the LORD…” vs 17

“…they lay with the women who served at the doorway of the Tent of Meeting…” vs 22

“…they would not listen to the voice of their father…” vs 25

1 Samuel 3:1b

Proverbs 29:18. Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

Amos 8:11 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD, “When I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, But rather for hearing the words of the LORD.This is what happened in Jesus’ day: people did not hear Him.

The age was marked by:

  • Spiritual confusion. (Judges 17, Micah, who hired a Levite as his personal priest to serve idols he had made, later taken by the Danites, who took the Levite and the idols, “all the time that the house of God was at Shiloh.” Judges 18:31.)
    • Depeche Mode: “Your own personal Jesus.”
  • Reprehensible, almost unbelievable sexual perversion (Judges 19)
  • War & violence (end of Judges)
  • Famine (Ruth 1)
  • Moral relativity
  • Self-serving outlook, everyone looking out for “number one”
  • Corrupted priesthood: the ones who were supposed to be serving God and man — the ones who were supposed to be trusted — were consumed in the lies of the age
    • undiscerning (Eli with Hannah and Samuel, and also with the Lord)
    • didn’t know the Lord, were not acquainted with Him
    • showed no concern for the people
    • treated the offering as theirs rather than God’s
    • greedy & gluttonous
    • instant gratification “Give it to me NOW!”
    • promiscuous (married, Phinehas’ wife gave birth to Ichabod)
    • rebellious
  • WORST: Rare revelation, and even rarer response to prophetic vision

Philippians 3:18-19. For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.

1 Samuel  Vs 1 “Now there was a CERTAIN man.”

  • He is certain, sure-footed, a believer. A Levite, he worships Yahweh. A righteous man in the evil age.
  • Elqanah means, God has taken possession, i.e., the zeal of God on behalf of His people

Vs 2 “Peninnah had…but Hannah had not.”

  • In the ancient mind, children were a sign of God’s blessing & barrenness signaled a curse
  • The old idols of Canaan were all fertility gods, because more children meant economic betterment
  • Have you ever lived in the tension of unfulfilled dreams? Have you ever felt the barrenness of dashed hopes, even though you were doing everything right?

Vs 3 “The two sons of Eli were there.”

Vs 4-5 “For he loved Hannah, but the LORD had closed her womb.”

  • As a father and husband, he gives portions to them in an act of blessing
  • He gives twice as much to Hannah, because he loves her

Vs 6

  • His kindness to Hannah causes Peninnah to suffer, who “rubs Hannah’s nose in it”
  • Peninnah is strong in the flesh and she makes sure Hannah feels the lack. She says, “You are FORGOTTEN by the Lord.”
  • Has God ever put a Peninnah in your life? Do you see Peninnah in the modern day church?

Vs 7 “Year after year, as often as she went up to the house of the LORD.”

  • A long period of time progresses
  • Have you yearned for something for years? Maybe to see a son or daughter come to Christ? Maybe to see more of God in your life? Maybe to change a bad habit or personality flaw?
  • Hannah does not look forward to these trips; they are painful for her. She does not rejoice. She weeps.

Vs 8 “Am I not better to you than ten sons?”

  • The action of the flesh (Sarah: Hagar → Ishmael. Rachel: the mandrakes → Leah’s son Issachar.)
  • Elqanah reasons the way we all do: he wants to allay her suffering.
  • What if Hannah had actually settled for this reasoning? What if she had buried her desire for a child?
  • Peninnah prevents it: “Her rival would provoke her bitterly.” Q: Why doesn’t God destroy Satan? A: Because Satan is useful for our being perfected.

Vs 9-10 “She, greatly distressed, prayed to the LORD.”

  • This is what we should do when we are distressed.
  • Not: forming political action committees, screaming, demanding change, trying to get others to agree with us. Verse 13: “her voice was not heard.”
  • Romans 8:25-26 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
  • Hannah prays, and in the process of her prayer she is partnered with the very will of God, who desires to bring forth a Samuel.
  • Q: Why did God choose a barren woman to move like this? Why not do like He did with David and pick a child from a family with eight sons?
  • A: Hannah in her barrenness is a living model of the empty, destitute age.

Vs 11 “I will give him to the LORD, and razor shall never come on his head.”

  • “Prayer in partnership.” This is unselfish. She doesn’t want to possess this thing, or put her mark on it. She is a vessel for the Lord’s use in accomplishing His purpose in the earth.
  • Think of the moves of God in the past: has man refused to put a razor on their “heads?”

Vs 13 “So Eli thought she was drunk.”

  • Those who are in the old way of relating to God will always misunderstand (and often  persecute) those who are hungry for something more.
  • Acts 2:15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.

Vs 15-16 “…oppressed in spirit…I have spoken out of my great concern and provocation.”

  • Philippians 1:12. Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel.
  • Genesis 50:20. As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive

Vs 18 “The woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.”

  • After pouring out her soul in faith, she can rejoice in hope even though she has not yet received her Samuel.
  • The thing was accomplished in prayer.

Samuel: “God has heard.” God hears the cry of our hearts, and what He brings forth in us is a blessing for the world — the salvation of many lives.

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Author: Steve Hobbs

I live and write near the beaches of Brunswick County, NC. I entered this fallen reality in 1975. My wife Sikki and I were married in 1997. We have five children. I am a follower of Jesus and a seeker of truth.

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