Women of the Bible - Hannah A Woman Who Gave Sacrificially by Kathryn Capoccia Young Adults Sunday School Class All Scripture references are taken from the HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (C) 1978 by the New York Bible Society, used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. © Copyright Kathy Capoccia 2000. This file may be freely copied, printed out, and distributed as long as copyright and source statements remain intact, and that it is not sold. I. Introduction A. Prayer Requests B. Review of Last Week's Lesson/Verse
II. Character Profile: Hannah, a Woman Who Gave Sacrificially A. WHO WAS SHE? Read 1SA 1, 2:1-11, 18-21 1. WHEN DID SHE LIVE? In the last part of the period of the Judges @ 1050 B.C.; her son, Samuel, was the last Judge (followed by Saul, King of Israel). 2. WHERE DID SHE LIVE? In the hill country of Ephraim (vs.1), in Ramah, 5 miles N. of Jerusalem. 3. WHAT WAS HER NAME? Hannah, "gracious" or "favor". 4. WHAT WAS HER MARITAL SITUATION? a) She Was One Of Two Wives Married To Elkanah, An Ephraimite (1SA 1:1,2). 1) God's ideal marital arrangement was monogamy (GEN 2:24, MAT 19:4-8). 2) Polygamy was allowed for a man if his wife was childless (DEU 21:15-17) or in the case of a levirate marriage (DEU 25:5-19). *In the account Hannah's name comes before Peninnah's and polygamy could only occur legally when the first wife was barren, so the conclusion to be drawn from the facts is that Hannah and Elkanah were married first- when they did not have children he took a 2nd wife, Peninnah. He did not profit from the Scriptures about Isaac and Rebekah- if he had prayed about his wife's infertility and waited for His answer he could have saved Hannah much heartache. GEN 25:21 "Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren. The LORD answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant." b) She Was Rivaled By Peninnah, The Other Wife (1SA 1:6). (rival means "one who vexes") c) She Was Provoked By Elkanah's 2nd Wife, Peninnah, Because She Was Not Able To Bear Children And Peninnah Had Sons And Daughters (1SA 1:4,6,7). *this is similar to the troubles Sarah and Rachel had (see GEN 16:3-5, chp. 30). 1SA 1:6,7 "And because the LORD had closed her womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the LORD, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. 1) She was provoked- "vexed" or "to provoke to anger". 2) She was irritated- "to thunder". 3) She wept- "to weep" or "bewail": "to weep continually". a] It was considered to be a disgrace to be barren. LUK 1:25 [Elizabeth speaking of her pregnancy] "'The Lord has done this for me,' she said. 'In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.'" b] Hannah saw her barrenness as "a misery" or something to howl, or wail about (1SA 1:11). 1SA 1:11 "And she made a vow, saying, 'O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant's misery...'" c] Multiple wives often experienced conflict over barrenness. i] see Sarah and Hagar (GEN 16:3-6). ii] see Rachel and Leah (GEN chp. 30). 4) She would not eat- she had no appetite because she was so grieved. *This must have been a bitter life for Hannah to have endured; every year when the family went "up to the house of the LORD" in Shiloh, when she should have been free to worship and rejoice in GOD, she would be baited about her barrenness, loud arguments would ensue, and Hannah would end up in anguish. d) She Was Loved By Her Husband. 1) He would give her a double portion of his offerings, "for he loved Hannah" (vs.50. 2) He would try to comfort her when she was distressed (vs.8), but he either did not understand her grief or was unable to mitigate her suffering. 3) She And Her Husband Shared A Common Faith And Worshiped Together (1SA 1:3,7). 4) He allowed Hannah to keep her vow to God, which he had the power to cancel (NUM 30:8). B. WHAT DID SHE DO? 1. SHE HUMBLY ASKED GOD TO GIVE HER A SON. WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU WANT SOMETHING YOU'RE NOT GETTING? a) She Prayed: She Had A Right Relationship With God. HEB 11:6 "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." 1) She fervently prayed and wept (vs.10). a] she poured out her heart before God (vs. 10). b] she continued praying (vs. 12). 2) She made a vow (vs. 11). WHY DID SHE MAKE A VOW? *She may have made this vow on her own initiative, or more likely, because God touched her heart to do it so that He could have a godly man in the Tabernacle to serve Him (since the high priest Eli's two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were evil men 1SA 2:12). a] What is a vow? It's a prayer of binding obligation towards God: a transaction between man and God in which man dedicates himself or his service or something valuable to God. There are two kinds of vows: i] conditional vows, "bargains"- those made on conditions of favors returned by God. ii] unconditional vows- those of dedication to accomplish set goals. b] Do we see other vows in Scripture? i] Jacob's vow at Bethel if God would protect him (GEN 28:20-22). ii] Jephthah's vow if God would give him military victory (JDG 11:30,31). iii] the Nazirite vow of service. c] What was her vow? A "bargain" vow. i] she said if God would give her a son he would be devoted to lifelong service to Him. ii] she said if God would give her a son he would become a lifelong Nazirite (two other Nazirites were Samson and John the Baptist). -- a Nazirite was to devote himself to the special service of God. I. he was to make himself available for God's use. II. he was to discharge the prescribed sacrificial worship. -- a Nazirite was forbidden to: I. touch a dead body. II. drink wine. III. shave or cut his hair. -- a Nazirite vow could be followed for an entire lifetime or only for a short period of time, depending on the reason for "separating himself to the LORD". d] Were vows lightly taken? No. i] vows were binding (DEU 23:21,23; ECC 5:4). DEU 23:21 "If you make a vow to the LORD your God, do not be slow to pay it, for the LORD your God will certainly demand it of you and you will be guilty of sin." DEU 23:23 "Whatever your lips utter you must be sure to do, because you made your vow freely to the LORD your God with your own mouth." ii] warnings were given about keeping them (ECC 5:5,6; PRO 20:25). ECC 5:4-6 "When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it. Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, 'My vow was a mistake.' Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands?" PRO 20:25 "It is a trap for a man to dedicate something rashly and only later to consider his vows." iii] vows could only be canceled by if rashly made by a woman (NUM 30:5,8). *For Hannah to have made a vow indicates her piety, sincerity, and desire to have God's best. It was not wrong for Hannah to have made a "bargain" vow; in fact, in the O.T. vows were common and often an indicator of spiritual fervor. Elkanah himself made vows (1SA 1:21) so in this she was following her husband's example. b) She Rested In The LORD (vs. 18): She Had A Right Belief. 1SA 1:18 "She said, 'May your servant find favor in your eyes.' Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast." 1) She went her way- she left the Tabernacle because she had made her petition and believed that God would answer her. 2) She ate- her appetite returned because she was at peace. 3) Her face was no longer downcast- her anguish was over. c) She Worshiped: She Had A Right Appreciation Of God. 1) At Shiloh after her petition (1SA 1:19). 2) When she named her son, Samuel "name of God" (1SA 1:20). 3) When she brought the boy to the Tabernacle (1SA 2:1-10). d) She Was Rewarded: Her Faith Was Not Misplaced. 1) God granted her request for a son (1SA 1:19,20). 2) God gave her other children (1SA 2:21). a] 3 sons b] 2 daughters 2. SHE SACRIFICIALLY GAVE. a) She Devoted Herself To Her Family. 1) She faithfully attended to her son until he could serve God. a] she would not leave him while he lived with her. 1SA 1:22 "Hannah did not go. She said to her husband, 'After the boy is weaned, I will take him and present him before the LORD, and he will live there always.'" b] she nursed her son until she weaned him (1SA 1:23). 1SA 1:23 "So the woman stayed at home and nursed her son until she had weaned him." i] nursed means "allow to suck", i.e. to suckle a very young child upon the breast. ii] weaned means "dealt fully with" -- training is implied, both physical and spiritual. *Hannah only had a short time to train her son before he would live apart from her. During that time she had to teach him everything she could about loving and serving God, a daunting task for a lifetime much less a few years. -- weaning usually took place at 2 or 3 years old. -- the completion of weaning was sometimes cele- brated by a feast (GEN 21:8). 2) She Gave Samuel To The LORD (1SA 1:24-28). a] Hannah brought Samuel to Shiloh (1SA 1:24), in fulfillment of her vow, after he was weaned. HOW DO YOU THINK SHE FELT? *In Hannah's eyes it was only right to keep her side of "bargain" and she could envision no higher calling, no better future, and no greater honor than to be permitted to serve the LORD: she brought Samuel to Shiloh with joy (chp. 2:1). b] She brought an offering for him. i] a bull, 3 yrs. old, or 3 bulls- a burnt offering for sin or a thank offering. ii] an ephah of flour (about 2/3 of a bushel)- a cereal mixture consisting of fine flour, olive oil, and frankincense- almost always accompanying a burnt offering. iii] a skin of wine *This was probably a "thank offering" to God. It was common in the O.T. to bring offerings and praise after fulfilling a vow (see LEV 7:16; PSA 50:14, 56:12, 66:13-15, 116:17,18; ISA 19:21). 3) She Continued To Care For Samuel. a] She made him a "little robe" every year: i.e. a blue ephod like a priest would wear (1SA 2:18,19; EXO 28:31-34). b] She visited him when the family came to offer the yearly sacrifice (1SA 2:19). b) She Devoted Her Best To God. 1) She "dedicated" her only son to God (1SA 1:28): "dedicated" means "made him over to" or gave him completely up to. a] Samuel was like Isaac, an offering completely given to God with nothing held back. GEN 22:2 "Then God said, 'Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.'" b] Samuel was like a "firstfruits" offering. EXO 34:26 "Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the LORD your God." i] he was the first of her children offered to God with no guarantee to Hannah that she would have others, as the firstfruits offering was given to God with no guarantee that more crops would follow. ii] he was the best she had to offer, her only son that she had prayed for and longed for. iii] he was followed by other children as the firstfruits were followed by more crops. 1SA 2:21 "And the LORD was gracious to Hannah; she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the LORD." *This is as the LORD said in Malachi: MAL 3:10 "'Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,' says the LORD Almighty, 'and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.'" 2) She extolled the LORD (1SA 1:27; 2:1-10). a] She testified about her answered prayer (1SA 1:27). b] She prayed and praised the Lord (possibly publicly) (1SA 2:1-10). i] for His deliverance ii] for His holiness iii] for His knowledge iv] for His power v] for His judgment 3) She continued to worship regularly. 1SA 2:19 "Each year his mother made him a little robe and took it to him when she went up with her husband to offer the annual sacrifice." C. WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM HER? 1. It's not wrong to ask for something in prayer many times until an answer is given, either "yes" or "no". a) See the parable of the unrighteous judge (LUK 18:2-8). b) See Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane (MAT 26; MAR 14; LUK 22, especially verse 43, where He apparently gets His answer with the coming of an angel to strengthen Him). WHAT ABOUT PAUL'S PRAYING ONLY THREE TIMES AND THEN STOPPING? 2CO 12:8 "Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it [the thorn in his flesh] away from me." THIS IS NOT A MODEL OF PRAYER- HE DIDN'T STOP BECAUSE THREE PRAYERS WERE THE ACCEPTABLE NUMBER; AFTER THE THIRD PRAYER PAUL GOT HIS ANSWER: 2CO 12:9 "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2. We should give our best to the LORD. 3. We should pray about infertility because God is sovereign over the womb. a) He opens it. 1) GEN 29:31 "When the LORD saw that Leah was not loved, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren." 2) GEN 30:22 "Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and opened her womb." b) He closes it. 1) GEN 30:2 "Jacob became angry with her and said, 'Am I in the place of God, who has kept you from having children?'" 2) 1SA 1:5 "But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the LORD had closed her womb." 3) 2SA 6:23 "And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death" [because she despised David's worship]. c) His will may be circumvented if we are not very careful to bathe our every action in prayer and follow the Spirit's prompting; we may end up 1) without God's best or 2) bringing needless heartache upon ourselves. 4. God loves a cheerful giver. 2CO 9:7 "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." 5. God has a perfect timetable for the events of our lives. ECC 3:1 "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven..." III. What fruits of the Spirit can we see in her? A. love B. patience C. faithfulness D. self-control IV. Memory Verse: 2CO 8:2,3 " Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability."
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