The children of Israel cried to God because they were tired of their condition. They cried because they wanted to be free. All they knew was sorrow, but they longed to know joy. They wanted to be delivered, but the thing they wanted to be free from would not let them go.
When God sent Moses to deliver His people, Moses didn’t address Pharaoh one time and then they were set free. He had to keep speaking and commanding Pharaoh to let them go before deliverance took place. No, it wasn’t easy, but just because something seems hard, doesn’t mean it is impossible.
Pharaoh knew that his time was up so he used tactics such as not supplying the straw Israel needed to build bricks, but still expecting them to make the same number of bricks. He wanted to discourage them. He wanted them to give up because he knew their deliverance was near.
Israel is my son, even my firstborn. Let my son go that he may serve Me (Exodus 4:22). When God had enough, He had enough. Because Pharaoh refused to let His firstborn go, God took his firstborn son. What held Israel in bondage for over 400 years finally let them go, but it took a strong hand (Deuteronomy 26:8).
As long as the children of Israel did what he wanted them to do, it was fine, but the moment they decided they no longer wanted to serve him, Pharaoh wanted to destroy them. So, Pharaoh gathered his army and chased them. The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust be satisfied upon them. I will draw my sword. My hand shall destroy them (Exodus15:9).
The Lord divided the sea with His strength (Psalm 74:13). The waters were a wall to Israel on the right and on the left so that they could walk on dry ground. But when the Egyptians went after them, those same walls fell on them. He took the wheels off their chariots and destroyed Pharaoh’s chariots, horseman and all of his army. Not one of them survived.
The reason why Pharaoh wanted to keep Israel in bondage was because he was afraid of them. He knew what they would do to him if they were free. And he (Pharaoh) said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we. Come on, let us deal wisely with them lest they multiply and it come to pass when there fall out any war, they join also unto our enemies and fight against us and so get them up out of the land (Exodus 1:9-10).
Today, God calls you what he called the children of Israel. You are His son, you are His daughter and enough is enough. Some say they’ve been called to preach, some say they’ve been called to teach, but we have all been called to freedom (Galatians 5:13). God just doesn’t want us to be saved, but He wants us to be free so that we may serve Him with our whole heart. He wants you to be free from sin, fear, shame and free to worship, praise, laugh.
Your adversary is afraid of you because you are a threat to him. He sets traps and builds strongholds to keep you distracted, to keep you from becoming who God called you to be. He wants you to serve sin and to please your flesh so that you will never please God. He knows he has lost, but he wants you to think he’s winning.
It will take a strong hand, but he will let you go and every spirit that should not be in you, will come out of you and will enter you no more (Mark 9:25). Nothing could hold Jesus in the grave and nothing will be able to hold you – not past hurts, disappointment, shame, unforgiveness, or past sins. God wants us to be free from every weight, distraction, hindrance and from the sin that easily trips us up so that we not only run the race, but we finish the race.
Deliver us, Lord.
Ministry doesn’t begin behind the pulpit. It begins behind the walls of your home.
Responsibility of the parent:
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6).
But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever (1 Timothy 5:8, NKJV).
Responsibility of the husband:
In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered (1 Peter 3:7, NLT).
Responsibility of the wife:
In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands [subordinate, not as inferior, but out of respect for the responsibilities entrusted to husbands and their accountability to God, and so partnering with them] so that even if some do not obey the word of God, they may be won over to Christ without discussion by the godly lives of their wives (1 Peter 3:1, AMP).
Responsibility of adult children/grandchildren:
But if a widow has children or grandchildren, they should learn to serve God by taking care of her, as she once took care of them. This is what God wants them to do (1 Timothy 5:4, CEV).
The first place to do God’s work is in the home (1 Timothy 5:4, WE).
And she made this vow: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you (1 Samuel 1:11, NLT).
Elkanah had two wives.
Well, that was the first problem.
The second problem was one of his wives, Hannah, was unable to have children. Can you imagine having everything you need to conceive (reproductive organs) only to be unable to produce or to give life? The scriptures never mentioned that she was in this condition because of something she or her parents did or that the devil did this, but it was God who had shut up her womb (1 Samuel 1:5-6).
This woman was unable to do the one thing she should have been able to do for her husband – give him children. Some women don’t know what it’s like to become pregnant while others know what it feels like to carry something inside of them that was once alive only for it to later die. Either way, it can be very disappointing for a woman who desires to be a mother.
Maybe your physical womb isn’t shut up, but maybe there are words or promises that God gave you that seem to be ‘shut up’. Usually when someone uses the term, ‘shut up’, they want you to stop speaking and maybe right now it feels like that vision, dream or promise will never speak (Habakkuk 2:3).
Peninnah isn’t just described as Elkanah’s other wife, but she was also described as one of the names to describe the devil – adversary (1 Samuel 1:6; 1 Peter 5:8). I don’t know how many years this went on, but year after year, her adversary made fun of her. She made her feel bad about not being able to have children and she would provoke her trying to get a reaction. I’m sure Peninnah said things such as:
Elkanah doesn’t really love you.
You will never be a mother.
You will never have children.
Hannah never talked back to her adversary like Jesus did when he was tempted of the devil in the wilderness and soon the words of her adversary made her fret (to be worried, anxious, easily annoyed or irritated). She stopped eating and cried all the time. She was sad and depressed and there was nothing Elkanah could do or say to make her feel better. When Elkanah gave a sacrifice to the Lord, he gave portions of his sacrifice to Peninnah and her children, but because Hannah didn’t have any children, he gave her a worthy or double portion. He loved Hannah more than he loved Peninnah, but that didn’t comfort Hannah either. (That could be one of the reasons why Peninnah hated her so much. Hannah had something (love) that she could never earn despite having many sons and daughters for Elkanah).
You can be married to a wonderful person, but sometimes your spouse doesn’t know what to say or do. 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? Elkanah meant well, but he just didn’t understand. He was talking to her about something he had never experienced. He already had children. He knew the joy of having children. Hannah didn’t.
But one of the things I love about Hannah was her persistence. When it was time to go to Shiloh every year, she got up, got dressed and went with her husband. She did this faithfully for years. She could have decided to stay home because of her adversary. In fact, that’s exactly what Peninnah wanted her to do, but Hannah didn’t give up.
The next thing that I love about Hannah is she stopped feeling sorry for herself. When she had enough, she got up (vs 9) and did something about her situation. She was bitter, she was angry and she was hurting, but in spite of how she felt, she went to the temple and prayed to the Lord. Only babies cry when they want something because they aren’t able to form words yet, but Hannah wasn’t a baby and it was time for her to grow up. It was time for her to stop crying (about what she didn’t have) and to start talking.
There was nothing wrong with Hannah wanting a child, but why did she want a child? To shut Peninnah up? To say to her, How ya like me now? One of the reasons why our prayers may go unanswered isn’t because God didn’t hear us, but we may have prayed amiss (James 4:3). In other words, we asked for things that would only please us instead of asking for things that would please God.
If, in fact, she did have selfish desires, her desires soon changed. Hannah no longer wanted this child for herself and she promised God that if He gave her a male child that she would give him back to Him. She asked God to give her something that HE could use for Himself and for His glory.
To some people, it may seem harsh that God would shut a woman’s womb, but there was purpose in what He did. God knew exactly what He was doing. If her womb hadn’t been shut up, Hannah would have never sought God the way she did. Sometimes asking isn’t enough. You have to also seek and knock (Matthew 7:7-8). And yes, it was a fight. Do you think she always felt like walking to Shiloh with Peninnah alongside her? You don’t think she thought about giving up? It had now been a long time of waiting, but she kept pressing. She kept getting up. She didn’t run from the fight and she didn’t quit when it seemed hard. Instead, she learned how to fight. Lord, teach our hands to war and our fingers to fight (Psalm 144:1).
I told you earlier that Hannah’s husband couldn’t comfort her, but the word did. While Hannah was in the temple, Eli saw her lips moving, but he couldn’t hear what she was saying. Eli assumed that Hannah must have been drinking because of the way she was carrying on in the temple, but the only thing she was pouring out was her heart to God, not wine. After Hannah explained to Eli that she wasn’t drunk, he gave her a word. Go in peace and the God of Israel grant you your petition that you have asked of Him (1 Samuel 1:17). She heard and she believed him. It’s not that the things you are hoping for is impossible. It may be that you got weary and stopped believing along the way. If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believe (Mark 9:23). Hannah had lost hope, but after she received the word, Hannah ate and she was no longer sad. The next morning, they got up early, worshipped the Lord, returned home and she put her faith to work (vs 19).
Elkanah went to the temple every year to sacrifice to the Lord, but I believe Hannah gave a better sacrifice. Before Hannah gave God her son, she gave something better – herself. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. You see, God had a plan, but He needed a willing and obedient vessel to get His plan here on earth. For years, Hannah was just going to the temple, but now she was becoming HIS temple – a place where God could live and do what He wanted to do. Because of the sins of Eli and his sons, God was raising up someone who would do what HE wanted him to do. Samuel was going to be ordained as the prophet of the Lord.
To give something back to someone means you must return it to its owner. So just in case you didn’t know, ‘it’ all belongs to God. I think sometimes we look at giving (and not just money) as a loss – that once we give it away, it’s gone and we’ll probably never get it back again, but that’s not true. If you don’t give what you have, that’s all you will ever have. Look at Hannah. All she prayed for was to have one male child, but the moment she gave him to the Lord, she received more than what she asked for. Hannah gave her ‘first’ and only child to the Lord and He gave her five children (1 Samuel 2:21).
So many times, we want God to give us something, but what are we willing to give to HIM for all that He has given to us? You may want a new car because you’re tired of the old one, but God may want you to use it to transport others. You may want a home because you want your own place and you want some privacy, but God may want you to use that home to start a bible study. You may want more money so you can buy more things for yourself, but God may want you to use that money to care for the needs of others. Some of us think that material things are the blessing, but no – you are the blessing!
Now think about the thing you’ve been constantly praying for. Why do you want it? Remember, God doesn’t want to give us anything that we will honor more than Him. He wants to only give us those things that causes us to remember Him, not to forget Him.
And if God gives it to you, will you give it back to Him?
For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord (1 Samuel 1:27-28).
de·spise: strongly dislike; have no respect for
chas·ten: to correct by suffering; to purify; to prune; to cause one to be more humble
My dad was very strict growing up. He wouldn’t let me do anything I wanted to do, but my older sister got to stay out all night. She got to go places I couldn’t go. It wasn’t fair. Why did he treat me differently than my sister? How I wished I could be like everybody else. I wanted to do what everyone else was doing, but my dad wouldn’t let me.
I remember the day my dad came to visit me after the birth of my first child. As he sat in the living room looking at me holding my daughter, I thanked him for being hard on me. I thanked him for not letting me hang around just anybody. No, I didn’t like it then, but I appreciated it now. His love and his ‘no’ protected me from many things.
Have you ever wondered why God wouldn’t let you have something that you really wanted or why He wouldn’t let you do whatever you wanted to do?
In Hebrews 12:5, God speaks to us as His sons (and daughters) and we should feel honored that He calls us son. Not only did He choose us (John 15:16), but He adopted us into His family (Ephesians 1:5). All of God’s children receive correction and discipline. No one is exempt. Even though you are an adult now, you are still a child – of God. You may be grown, but you’re not too grown to receive correction. And just because He calls you His child, doesn’t mean that He doesn’t expect you to grow up.
Our parents chastened us for a few days (Hebrews 12:10), but God corrects us all of our days here on earth. They corrected us based on what seemed good to them. God corrects us based on what is good for us. They did what they thought was best, but God knows what is best. Everything He does is for your good. God doesn’t love us by giving us whatever we want. He loves us by disciplining us. If He didn’t care about you, He wouldn’t correct you. His discipline is proof that He loves you.
No chastening for the present seem to be joyous (Hebrews 12:11). It may seem grievous to us, but what about God’s Spirit? We grieve Him when we don’t obey Him. No, we don’t enjoy being disciplined. It won’t always feel good, but you will see the good that comes from it. It hurts at the time because He doesn’t want us to repeat it, but He wants us to learn from it. God wants us to bear good fruit and after you learn the lesson from His chastening, it produces the peaceable fruit of righteousness.
The only time Jesus wants us to become like little children is when we humble ourselves as children. Everything is not going to always go our way. You may not always understand what God is doing, but He’s not trying to harm you. So don’t get mad with God. Don’t take it personal when He corrects you. If you believe that God is good, you should also believe that what He is doing in your life is good. There is no reason to be sad. Happy is the man who God corrects (Job 5:17). Don’t lose heart or give up because of rebuke. Endure God’s chastening because what you endure is disciplining you.
Both Matthew and Mark wrote about a woman who had an alabaster box of very precious ointment, which was used to anoint Jesus. Because the disciples didn’t understand what she was doing or why she was doing it, they became angry and asked why she wasted the ointment when she could have sold it and given the money to the poor. Jesus immediately rebuked His disciples for bothering the woman, but it was Judas who took offense and later betrayed Jesus. Don’t be like Judas. Don’t let offense, anger or anything separate you from God or from the love of God.
God is not against you. He is for you (Romans 8:31). God is not punishing you. He is training you. You are going somewhere (in Him) and God is training you up in the way you should go. He’s training you to be a leader, a parent, a spouse. He’s training you for success. He’s training you to be trustworthy, faithful and obedient. Jesus had to learn obedience also, but it was from the things He suffered. You may not like the way God deals with you, but this is how God treats His children. Sometimes the enemy will tell you that no one loves you, but you are loved. If He didn’t love you, He wouldn’t discipline you. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten (Revelation 3:19).
The reason why you are treated differently is because you are different. You are not like everyone else. God doesn’t have spoiled children. He that spares his rod hates his son, but he that loves him, chastens him early (Proverbs 13:24). He doesn’t wait until it’s too late. He starts disciplining and training us early.
When Jesus rebuked the winds and the sea, they obeyed Him and when He rebukes us, we are to repent and obey Him also…
Don’t despise the chastening of the Lord.