Hannah is known as the mother of the great prophet Samuel. But that is only the end of the story. Learn how Hannah’s faith in God gave her a son and gave Israel one of its greatest prophets. The same faith is available to you today.
It is impossible to overestimate the worth of a godly woman.
Proverbs 31:10 says, “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.”
Hannah was such a woman. Her story is immortalized in the Word of God forever. Let’s examine her life to learn valuable lessons about faith.It is impossible to overestimate the worth of a godly woman. Click To Tweet
The account of Hannah is found in 1 Samuel chapters 1 and 2. She was the first of Elkanah’s two wives and was barren. Elkanah loved her and favored her above his second wife, giving her preferential treatment.
Yet, her heart was broken. She needed a miracle.
Let’s find out how she got one.
1. Hannah’s Fret
1 Samuel 1:6
And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the Lord had shut up her womb.
“Fret” is an old English word that means to be anxious, vexed, irritated, or agitated. It literally means “to rub; to wear away by friction.”
There were three reasons for Hannah’s worry.
1. The worry of no children.
Even though Hannah had a godly husband and a good life, the thought of having no children made life unbearable.
In those days, a woman’s main contribution to society was to bear and rear children. A husband expected children, especially sons. A women’s entire worth was bound up in the lives of her husband and children.
Hannah desperately wanted children. Her worry was overtaking her life. She couldn’t function at times.
Elkanah was a good husband who loved Hannah. He didn’t treat her differently or look down on her because she couldn’t have children. He tried to cheer her up.
1 Samuel 1:5
But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the Lord had shut up her womb.
1 Samuel 1:8
Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons?
Yet, even a husband’s love could not fill the hole in her heart.
2. The anxiety of competition.
Imagine the difficulties of a plural marriage under the best of circumstances! (There are many good reasons the LORD gave Adam one wife and intends marriage to be between one man and one woman.) In Hannah’s case, Elkanah’s second wife and mother of his children, Peninnah, made Hannah’s life miserable.
Women communicate on a different level than men. That can be good when done for the glory of God and the good of others. A godly woman’s kindness is like a balm to the soul. It can be terrible when a woman wants to hurt.
Ladies can use kind words, in a seemingly pleasant tone, but are daggers in disguise. Some men are oblivious. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you ladies?
Competition among others is a bad idea, unless it is in a sports or fun setting. The Bible warns against the dangers of competition and comparison.
2 Corinthians 10:12
For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
Dear lady, you are not in comparison with anyone but yourself. Don’t fall into the trap of comparing your looks, weight, finances, possessions, families, etc. with others.
Be thankful for the grace and goodness of God in your life. Determine to help others rise above you rather than compete with them for the top.
3. The distress of unchangeable circumstances.
Hannah wanted a baby. No doctor could assist her. Her husband was helpless. She refused to be comforted.
Her only hope was to turn to God.
God will either give you what you think you need or the grace to live joyfully without it. Either way, take your burdens to God and pour out your heart. He is the answer.
Do you struggle with worry or anxiety? God can help you!
Give Him your worry, and He will give you peace.
God will either give you what you think you need or the grace to live joyfully without it. Click To Tweet
1 Peter 5:7
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
We can’t help but notice the faith of Elkanah, Hannah’s husband.
1 Samuel 1:3
And this man went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the Lord of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the Lord, were there.
He was faithful to worship the Lord during the dark years when Eli’s sons Hophni and Phinehas were officiating. These wicked men perverted the worship of God, stole the God’s offerings, and made many people abhor going to give offerings.
1 Samuel 2:12
Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the Lord.
1 Samuel 2:17
Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord: for men abhorred the offering of the Lord.
Elkanah was faithful to worship God despite the difficulties. We need more men to lead their families spiritually.
Every godly woman I know wants the men in their families to lovingly lead and set the spiritual pace.
2. Hannah’s Faith
There can be no faith without fear.
Hannah is in the Bible because she showed great faith in an impossible situation!
Don’t miss this! God will allow difficulties in your life so that He can show Himself mighty through them.
Any story without conflict is boring. Every hero needs a villain. Every mountaintop has a valley. You need problems to know yourself, exercise faith, and see God come through!
Learn to see your problems as opportunities rather than obstacles. Worry, doubt, and fear are fertile ground for faith if you choose to exercise them.
Consider three facets of Hannah’s faith.
1. Faith To Ask
When she couldn’t eat, and her husband couldn’t help her, Hannah went to the Tabernacle of the LORD. She poured out her soul and wept uncontrollably.
1 Samuel 1:9–10
So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the Lord. And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore.
She made a vow unto the LORD.
She asked for the impossible, a son. She vowed that if God gave her a son, she would give him back to God, raising Him as a Nazarite in complete consecration to God.
1 Samuel 1:11
And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no rasor come upon his head.
Let me say a word about vows. They are solemn things not to be made in haste.
They bind our souls with a bond.
If a man vow a vow unto the Lord, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.
God hears them and holds us to them.
When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?
Nevertheless, Hannah made a vow, and the LORD heard her. He caused Eli to take notice of her and tell her that her request was granted.
1 Samuel 1:12–17
And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli marked her mouth. Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken. And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee. And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord. Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto. Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him.
2. Faith To Receive
Hannah believed Eli. How do we know? By her actions.
1 Samuel 1:18–19
And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad. And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the Lord, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the Lord remembered her.
Hannah left the Tabernacle differently than she came. She was able to eat and was no longer sad. I’m sure that everyone in her life saw the difference in her.
Faith changes us. It can be seen on our face, heard in our words, and witnessed in our actions.
I don’t believe Hannah was surprised when she conceived.
1 Samuel 1:19
And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the Lord, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the Lord remembered her.
Her faith is shown once again when they named the child. Samuel means “heard of God.”
1 Samuel 1:20
Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the Lord.
3. Faith To Give
God had accomplished His part of the vow. Now it was Hannah’s turn.
Perhaps what came next was a greater test of faith than believing that a child would come.
Hannah had her heart’s desire, but she was committed to giving Him back to the LORD. She did not shirk her responsibility.
1 Samuel 1:21–28
And the man Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer unto the Lord the yearly sacrifice, and his vow. But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the Lord, and there abide for ever. And Elkanah her husband said unto her, Do what seemeth thee good; tarry until thou have weaned him; only the Lord establish his word. So the woman abode, and gave her son suck until she weaned him. And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the Lord in Shiloh: and the child was young. And they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli. And she said, Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the Lord. For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord. And he worshipped the Lord there.
When the child was old enough, she took Samuel to the Tabernacle and left him there to serve God.
It is not enough to SAY that we have faith. True faith moves to action. It changes us inside and out—morals, priorities, words, and emotions bows to its will.
3. Hannah’s Finish
Consider the end of Hannah’s story.
1 Samuel 1:27–28
For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord. And he worshipped the Lord there.
She gave away the child she couldn’t live without. Did she suffer for it? On the contrary, her life was blessed beyond measure.
Our God is generous and kind. He never closes a door without opening another. He never takes something away without giving you something better.
Who wouldn’t want these by-products of Hannah’s faith?
1. Hannah’s Rejoicing
The second chapter of 1 Samuel begins with Hannah’s rejoicing.
1 Samuel 2:1
And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, Mine horn is exalted in the Lord: My mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; Because I rejoice in thy salvation.
Joy is the by-product of faith. Joy comes with surrender and obedience.
2. Hannah’s Pride
Hannah was pleased that her child served God in the Temple. She visited him every year and brought him a gift.
1 Samuel 2:18–19
But Samuel ministered before the Lord, being a child, girded with a linen ephod. Moreover his mother made him a little coat, and brought it to him from year to year, when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice.
What a privilege to have our children serve the LORD! I’ve known parents over the years who didn’t want their children to go into the ministry because there wasn’t a lot of money in it.
I’m glad Hannah didn’t feel that way. Having a son serve the LORD of Lords was the pride of her life.
3. Hannah’s Family
1 Samuel 2:20–21
And Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife, and said, The Lord give thee seed of this woman for the loan which is lent to the Lord. And they went unto their own home. And the Lord visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the Lord.
God gave Hannah more children. Imagine how happy she must have been!
Hannah gave what she couldn’t live without back to God. Then God gave her an abundance of it.
Abundance is found in generosity.
The liberal soul shall be made fat: And he that watereth shall be watered also himself.
Life is found in death.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
Hannah’s faith is convicting and encouraging.
The next time you fret, choose to exercise faith, trusting God for a joyful finish.
What point spoke to you today? Leave a comment below.
Faith is God begins with faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. Learn how to be 100% sure you are going to Heaven.