Sunday, 8th May 2022
Rev Daniel Xi An Poon
1. Tears of the Mother
I Samuel 1:4-7 ‘And whenever the time came for Elkanah to make an offering, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, although the Lord had closed her womb. And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb. So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, that she provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat.’
Elkanah had two wives, Peninnah and Hannah. The name Peninnah meant ‘pearl’, her life was glorious and she had many children; whereas Hannah did not have any children. During that time, when a woman has no children, she has no inheritance in the family. For Hannah, it was shameful, and even though her husband loved her more than he loved Peninnah, she was not satisfied.
Hannah chose to seek the blessings from God, she wanted to have children because she knew children are the inheritance God promises us. Instead of being satisfied with what she had, Hannah chose to pray for children, even when she was putting to shame and being hurt. Hannah chose the promises of God, there were tears and hardship that nobody knew and understood.
2. Persistent of the Mother
I Samuel 1:8-10 ‘Then Elkanah her husband said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? And why is your heart grieved? Am I not better to you than ten sons?” So Hannah arose after they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the tabernacle of the Lord. And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish.’
But Hannah knew all the times of tears would pass, only when she was willing to come out of the darkness and coming into light, then God’s blessings will come. Hannah decided not to eat, it was difficult and people did not understand her, but she was persistent. In this path of faith, there will be challenges and there will be obstacles that stop us going to church, but God knows our hearts and He will protect us until the end.
3. Prayer of the Mother
I Samuel 1:12-16 ‘And it happened, as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli watched her mouth. Now Hannah spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli thought she was drunk. So Eli said to her, “How long will you be drunk? Put your wine away from you!” But Hannah answered and said, “No, my lord, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor intoxicating drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord. Do not consider your maidservant a wicked woman, for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief I have spoken until now.”’
Not only being persistent but Hannah also prayed continuously, she poured out her heart in front of God. She was open and honest before God, surrender completely to Him and was not influenced by her own selfish desires. God heard Hannah’s prayers, everywhere she went her mouth continued to pray, even without any sound, she didn’t give up.
When we pray and fast, do we receive the strength from God like Jesus did? Do not let people know we are fasting and do not seek award from the world, but let our prayer and fasting bring miracles and wonders. Let go of ourselves and let our lives become testimonies for God.
4. Faith of the Mother
1 Samuel 1:17-20 ‘Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him.” And she said, “Let your maidservant find favor in your sight.” So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad. Then they rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord, and returned and came to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her. So it came to pass in the process of time that Hannah conceived and bore a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, “Because I have asked for him from the Lord.”’
We also need faith, because without faith then we will be praying in vain. The faith of Hannah touched God, and when the priest Eli told Hannah to go home, she believes her prayers were heard. Hannah was humble and she respected the authority of Eli. Do we also believe in the words of the servants of God? If we have this faith, God will provide for us to the end. We must have the same faith as Hannah, to believe in God’s promise before it happens, and to trust in the Word of God even in darkness. God wants us to be fruitful vines, to pray, to be persistence, and to obey by faith.
Living under the fragrance of the Tree of Life, we may face many problems and challenges, we have weaknesses and we do not want to admit our mistakes. But today God wants us to be like Hannah, to be humble and gentle, and He will heal us.