Thursday, June 9, 2022

Lessons Learned From Hannah And Peninnah

1st Samuel 1:1-7, “Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim, of mount Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephrathite: And he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah: and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children 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. And when the time was that Elkanah offered, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions:  But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the LORD had shut up her womb.  And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb. And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat.

I love the Old Testament, it is so full of doctrinal meat. I love what Brother Lester Roloff (1914-1982) said:
“To me, there's not anything that'll put iron in your spiritual blood like the Old Testament!” —Evangelist Lester Roloff, “An Undisciplined Age
There is a powerful truth that I want to teach you from this wonderful true story. There was a Christian man in the Old Testament named Elkanah, who had two wives: Peninnah and Hannah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah was barren. The Bible says that Elkanah loved Hannah more than Peninnah, and had shut up her womb (just like God had shut up Rachel's womb, womb her husband Jacob favored over Leah). Once a year Elkanah and his family journeyed out of the city to Shiloh to sacrifice unto the Lord.

Now, the Bible says that Peninnah tormented Hannah, deliberately provoking her sore to cause her to worry continually, because she was barren. That is a very wicked thing to do! No one should ever afflict another person. I know that painful feeling, having someone else (in my case a group of men at work) make my life a living hell.

As a Christian I have been harassed, working in hostile work environments on every job I've ever worked in my life. I've had my uniforms stolen (which I had to pay for), equipment for which I was responsible at work sabotaged, had my tools stolen, my car and house keys stolen at work, and harassed to the point of literal tears. In 2009 I won a 3-year EEO (Equal Employment Opportunity) court case against the U.S. Postal Service, for the hostilities I endured on Guam. The island of Guam is predominantly Roman Catholic. The judge ruled in my favor, determining that a Filipino group of co-workers ganged up on me because I was white and because of my Jesus-is-Savior.com website ministry, which they found and hated.

So I know how Hannah felt. Peninnah mocked and ridiculed Hannah continually, making her feel scared and miserable. You'd think that Peninnah would have rejoiced in the Lord for the gift of children from God, but instead she chose to make Hannah's life miserable because she was barren. Without Jesus Christ people can become monsters! And even with Jesus Christ, if a believer backslides or doesn't mature in grace, they are capable of horrible things. Even the best saint is still a sinner as long as we dwell in this old earthly flesh!

So Hannah did what we should all do when persecuted for any reason, pray. Philippians 4:6-7, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Hannah wept and made a solemn promise to God, that if He would give her a son, she would dedicate him to serve the Lord. God grant her request and gave her a son, Samuel. Read what Hannah said in praise to the Lord:
1st Samuel 1:26-28, “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.”
Notice carefully that Hannah “lent” her son to the Lord, but God “gave” His only begotten Son to pay for the sins of mankind. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
 Lending is what you give someone for a period of time, and you expect them to return it in a period of time; While on the other hand, giving means you are giving something to a person, and you don’t expect them to return it back to you, take it as a present! 

What a wonderful illustration of God's free gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ our Savior. Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” God didn't LEND His only begotten Son to the world, He GAVE His Son to be rejected, mocked, smitten, spat upon, ridiculed, tormented and ultimately crucified on a cross as a common criminal. Jesus did that for you and me. Jesus paid a debt of sin He did not owe, because we owed a debt of sin we could not pay (2nd Corinthians 5:21). Amen and amen!

But the main truth that I want you to see dear reader is found in 1st Samuel 2:3...
1st Samuel 2:1-3, “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. There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God. Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.”
Pride is a killer! Lucifer has “I” problems:
Isaiah 14:12-15, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!  how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.”
FIVE TIMES in the preceding brief Scripture passage, we see that the archangel Lucifer was full of hubris (overbearing sinful pride). There is no “I“” in “we” friend. Jesus lived to serve OTHERS!!! Philippians 2:4-5, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” When Jesus endured the cross with joy (Hebrews 12:2), He was thinking of OTHERS!!!

The reason why Jesus had joy is because He knew what it meant for mankind, that anybody could be saved by simply believing on Him as their Savior. Acts 10:43, “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” According to the preceding verse, everyone in the Old Testament who was saved, got saved through faith alone in Christ. NO ONE has ever been saved by works, nor by faith plus works, which would mean God owed them salvation (Romans 4:4-5). God doesn't owe any human being anything, except to cast us all into a burning Hell forever!!!

I love verse 3 of chapter 2. This is Hannah speaking to her enemy, Peninnah:
1st Samuel 2:3, “Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.”
I love these truths! The Lord is a God of knowledge (He is omniscient). And by Him actions are weighed. Psalms 139:1-6 teaches that God sees everything. He knows when we lie down and when we rise up from our bed. God knows what we are thinking, hoping and planning. Nothing is hidden from the eyes of God. Hebrews 4:13, “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” 

Hannah was vindicated of Peninnah's persecution by the Lord. God gave Hannah five children! Amen. I love this Bible verse:
1st Samuel 2:3, “Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.”
Only by man's pride comes contention. Proverbs 13:10, “Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.” So many people today bellow out selfish words filled with pride and arrogance, injurious of others. The newsmedia are arrogant and proud! Many people are filled with pride and don't even realize it. The man who elevates evolution as truth, while disregarding God's inspired Word as rubbish is sinfully proud against God.

Many people feel just like Hannah did, helpless. They are hurting inside and have an enemy (or enemies) who make matters worse, as did Peninnah cruelly toward Hannah. Psalms 18:17, “He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me.” God is bigger than our problems and enemies. Hannah felt despised and hopeless, yearning to bear children, so she prayed and God answered her prayer. What an awesome Savior!

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