He Remembered ... "Rest at Shiloh" I Samuel 1:1-28
The LORD closed Hannah's womb; not because he didn't love her or because he wanted to see her suffer like she did. No, it was because Hannah's life was going to be blessed by Him in a unique and special way, and used to bring glory to His Holy name. But, before Hannah could be blessed by Him, she had to first be broken.
The trip to Shiloh was 30 miles, round trip. Year after year Hannah, Peninnah, and Elkanah made that journey to worship their God. Thoughts of Shiloh should have brought Hannah joy, in her heart, and peace of mind. One of Hebrew definitions for Shiloh is "a place of rest." But, rest isn't what Hannah found on her journey there. Instead, she found only shame and sorrow. For, she was constantly belittled and degraded by Peninnah; who took great pleasure in flaunting, in front of her, what Hannah feared fate would never bless her with--a child.
It isn't recorded, anywhere else in scripture, about Peninnah's constant badgering of Hannah, except for on road to Shiloh; place of worship, place of rest.
If Hannah hadn't gone to house of Lord with others, to worship, she would never have had all of added pain and heartache to deal with that she had. Still, Hannah went. And, if Hannah hadn't gone to Shiloh, she might never have received her "Samuel" from Lord.
It seems that irritation, from Hannah's rival, was all a part of God's divine plan. For, He allowed Hannah to be tortured by Peninnah, year after year.
He had to get Hannah to point of brokenness, to where she was willing to sacrifice her heart's desire to Him so that He could then give it back to her.
It had been God's intention to bless Hannah all along. But, Hannah's sacrifice had to come first. Year after year, Elkanah sacrificed unto Lord. Now, it was Hannah's turn.
Hannah was a woman with a broken spirit. But, this year, something different happened that would change course of history forever. It all happened because of a sacrifice that was made that day, at Shiloh, by Hannah ~ to a God who listens, hears, understands, sees, knows, cares, and remembers!
He listens to her weeping. He hears her mournful sighs. He understands her sorrow. He sees her downcast eyes.
He knows her heart is breaking. He cares about her pain. She lays her Isaac at His feet. She chooses Him to reign.
She stands no longer broken. She turns to walk away, Her sacrificial journey made. She's forever changed, today.
He gave her "rest" at Shiloh. She gave her heart's desire. He remembered, in due season. His will would soon transpire. ~ * ~
"... Elkanah lay with Hannah his wife, and LORD remembered her."
I Samuel 1:19
We can learn so much, from Hannah's actions, within this passage. In I Samuel 1:9, it says, "... Hannah stood up."
This denotes action. Hannah had enough. She made a choice: an act of will. You can stay bruised, broken, and bleeding forever, if you want to (for whatever reason) or you can (by an act of will) choose to do something about it.
Standing up is half battle. We have a choice. Itís up to us. Jesus said, in John 14:1, "... Do not let your hearts be troubled ..." How do we not let our hearts do this? The verse goes on to say, "Trust in God, trust also in Me." This is what Hannah did. No longer was she going to pity herself or nurse her own wounds. She, instead, submitted them; to Him whose name is as ointment poured forth. (Song of Solomon 1:3)
Hannah had no child. But, reason she was wounded was not because she didn't have a child. What wounded Hannah most was how she reacted to fact that she didn't have a child. It was her attitude, her outlook, that caused her to suffer. So, in this respect, Hannah's wounds were self-inflicted.
Hannah should never have allowed Peninnah to steal her joy. Hannah's husband loved her so much that he gave her a double portion. He loved her, in spite of her barrenness (1:5-6). But, Hannah kept focusing on what she didn't have, not on what she had (1:7-8).
She never counted her blessings. Instead, Hannah looked at her loss. She "let" her heart be troubled.
The next thing Hannah did was she prayed, she knelt down. She turned to Lord; she reached out to God in prayer.
Take note of how Hannah prayed:
Hannah prayed honestly, Vs. 10 sacrificially, Vs. 11 persistently, (she never gave up. Vs. 12) she prayed from heart, Vs. 13 she prayed in faith believing, Vs. 18 Hannah poured out her soul to Lord, Vs. 15 she found a release in prayer.
Hannah confessed her sins. She bared her soul. She knew where and to Whom to turn--her God.
"... Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast." Verse 18
Hannah cried out to Lord, in verse 11, "O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant's misery and remember meÖ" And, in course of time, God's perfect time, He did indeed remember. Verse 19
Eli (the one who should have given her most comfort; most pity, understanding, and direction) failed Hannah, miserably, that day. Even priests are prone to make mistakes. Eli saw his own son's actions, heard tell about them. Yet, he hid his face from them (2:12,22 and 3:13-14). He saw Hannah crying out to God and he misjudged her. He watched her, in her misery, and gave her wrong advice. Eli watched her movements; her actions. Yet, he misunderstood them. He thought she was drunk! Outward appearances aren't always what they seem! He didn't know what was going on inside Hannah's heart. Hannah defended herself. She didn't let Eli's remark discourage or offend her because, at this point, she had her eyes fixed totally on God (1:14-16).