An Answered Prayer
Book of 1 Samuel Chapter 1
As we begin this study into the first Book of Samuel, we should understand that we do not know by whose hands the Holy Spirit used to author the books of Samuel. We can believe that Samuel probably wrote some of the books that bear his name, but no one knows for sure who the writer was.
If we rightly divide the Bible, we know that the Books of Samuel were written to the Israelites, but we also know that all the Bible is written to the Church.
The Books of Samuel gives us a historical record of the transition of the nation of Israel from the era of Judges to the era of Kings.
This book gives us a record of the birth and the establishment of the monarchy.
We also know that these things were done in rebellion to Jehovah God!
The era of Judges became a corrupt era, and the era of the kings would not be much better, in fact we could say it was worse in many ways.
We do know that each king was to rule and serve under the authority of Jehovah God, just as the Judges were to rule according to the Word of God.
We will see how the sovereign power of God moves events to bring about His purposes and to work out all things for the good, the good of all those who follow Him.
God can make some good come from any dire situation!
This study of the first Book of Samuel begins with prayer just as throughout our lives we need to begin each day with prayer.
Prayer is the source for receiving all things of God!
Jas 4:2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, “yet ye have not, because ye ask not”.
Jas 4:3 Ye ask, “and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts”.
We can see that all things are available through prayer, but our own actions are the greatest deterrent to the answering of our prayers.
In this first lesson we meet Hannah, the barren wife of Elkanah and we need to pay attention to how she prays.
*1Sa 1:1 Now there was a certain man of Ramathaimzophim, 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:
1Sa 1:2 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.
We first met Elkanah who was the father of Samuel. He lived in Ephratah, an old name of Bethlehem. (Bethlehem Ephratah)
This is the same place where Jesse and his son David was born, but more important it is the same place where Joseph, a descendant of David, took the Virgin Mary for the Lord Jesus to be born in a stable, because there was no room for him in the Inn.
This was the very first sign that the world did not want to make room for our Savior.
The world still does not to make room for the Lord Jesus Christ, but this will not stop the return of Christ.
Even today the world still rejects the Lord Jesus Christ and still refuses to make room for the Lord Jesus and His Church.
Elkanah was a Levite in the same line as Heman the singer, but it does not seem that he performed any usual Levitical duties.
We immediately see that he had two wives which was his rebellion against the Word of God.
God still says a marriage is between one man and one woman in the way He created them!
God does not change even if the world changes.
The world is always wrong when it goes against the Word of God.
This is not my opinion; it is simply Biblical Truth.
All children are important to this world!
We have no idea how all those aborted babies could have changed our world for the better!
Children were important to the way of life of the Hebrews and Hannah his first wife was barren.
No doubt that Elkanah felt it was more important to have many children than to obey the Word of God.
We always seem to forget that God will provide our needs if we stay true to Him.
This was just as important to the Jews as it is to the Christian today.
Obedience is the greatest quality we can show to our Heavenly Father!
Obedience to God may be considered:
(1) as virtual, which consists in a belief of the Gospel, of the holiness and equity of its precepts, of the truth of its promises, and a true repentance of all our sins.
(2) actual obedience, which is the practice and the exercise of the several graces and duties of Christianity.
(3) perfect obedience, which is the exact conformity of our hearts and lives to the law of God, without the least imperfection.
This last one is peculiar to a glorified state, though it should be our aim to always be obedient to the Lord.
As all true Israelites did, Elkanah went to the Tabernacle to worship three times a year as directed by the Word of God.
The Tabernacle was located in Shiloh at this time, where it had been since Joshua led the children of Israel into the Promised Land.
*1Sa 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.
Elkanah came from a priestly family that were to become the ancestors of skilled musicians who would serve in the Tabernacle and later the Temple.
Elkanah was a bigamist!
Elkanah had conformed to the culture where he lived instead of remaining in the culture that God had decided for him!
It is bad enough when the world turns carnal as it has today, but for the priests to do the same things again as we see today, it shows us just how wicked our societies have become as they had in the time of Samuel.
Elkanah had lost his faith in the Lord!
Bigamy and polygamy are transgressions against the Lord just as much as any other sin.
We seem to forget that all sin has only one punishment.
It separates us from our Holy God!
Marriage is to be between one man and one woman, their sex determined at their birth, and together these two become one flesh.
Two people of the same sex cannot become one flesh!
This union is the way God has chosen for the human race to continue and the values of human life to be learned!
All the great values of life are to be found in the union of the husband and wife and established in the family they establish.
Every family is to be a “type” of the Church family!
Gen 2:23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
Gen 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Because of what Elkanah had done, Hannah was in deep sorrow and broken hearted and there was strife in the home that was unnecessary.
Though the family remained devout, it is obvious that Elkanah the family priest had lost his faith in the ability of God to take care of his family.
Elkanah had joined in the immoral society that was around him just like many who call themselves Christians have done today.
Jdg 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
God expects us to separate ourselves from the ways of the unbeliever!
2Co_6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
It seems today that the family has just about disappeared in America because marriage is no longer the foundation of the family.
A marriage must remain the union of one man and one woman the sex they were assigned at birth by God Himself!
People are so confused they do not know if they are male or female and people would rather to just live together without being married because they do not want the responsibilities of family.
People are afraid of making a commitment!
Men in America have grown pathetic!
We should understand that a broken heart is the cause behind many of the problems we see in America today.
Just as Hannah suffered in deep sorrow and a broken heart, we see many more today suffering because we do not see ourselves in step with the world.
Thank goodness I have no desire to be in step with this world!
I would rather seek to be in step with the Word of God that I can trust!
Like Hannah, I place my faith and my trust in the Lord of all the Heavenly Host.
God is the Lord of all the Heavenly Hosts, the angelic armies.
God is also the Lord of the human hosts, those who now live in glorified bodies in Heaven.
It is the Lord Jesus who will very soon subject all those who oppose Him!
It is the Lord God of Heaven who is the Supreme Ruler of all His Creation!
We should notice that Eli, the High Priest of that day, had two wicked sons and we see their names mentioned in this passage, Hophni and Phinehas who were themselves priests, but they used the priesthood to do evil, wicked, and immoral things.
It was now time for Elkanah to make his offerings to the Lord.
Out of the sacrifice of these peace offerings, we should know that the greatest portions went back to the one who offered them, and was eaten by him and his friends or guests, before the Lord.
Out of these portions, he shared with his family as the master of the feast.
He gave a double portion of this meat that had been sacrificed, to Hannah.
*1Sa 1:9 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.
1Sa 1:10 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.
We see that Hannah actually lived a life of misery, and her misery peaked at the time of this festival.
All Hannah knew to do was to take her misery and her burdens and give them to the Lord.
This is a fitting example for us all!
I love to pray at the altar of God at the end of each service.
It just seems that I am a little closer to God surrounded by so many others who love of the Lord.
Hannah went to pray in the Tabernacle.
Her soul was full of bitterness and her eyes were full of tears. This was a broken woman!
Hannah was so desperate to be a mother that she made a vow unto the Lord.
Every child needs a mother and a father and the Lord Jesus Christ!
To be without a mother or a father is terrible enough but every child need Jesus!
These things cannot happen in a home where there are two men trying to be a family, because Christ is not in that home.
These things cannot happen in a home where there are two women are trying to be a family, because Christ is not in that home.
Hannah made a vow to the Lord.
*1Sa 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 razor come upon his head.
We might understand why Hannah prayed this prayer but should also notice that this vow was the vow of the Nazarite, which is a complete separation of our lives from the world and to give our life to the Lord.
No doubt this is a vow of repentance, but Hannah had a condition that the Lord would give her a son and she would also give this son to the Lord all the days of his life.
Hannah had rededicated her life to the Lord and then she made a baby dedication for her first baby.
If we put this in perspective, we can know that this is exactly what Father God has done for each and every believer.
He has given His Son Jesus to every believer all the days of His life which is eternal, forever.
The key to Hannah’s prayer was faith and obedience, and then the vow to give her firstborn son.
The key to our relationship with God the Father is faith and obedience, and we receive the vow of His only begotten Son Jesus the Messiah.
Hannah says she is God’s servant, His handmaiden.
God does not ever forget His servants and being a servant of God is not like being a slave, but we should keep in mind that the Lord Jesus Christ when He died, He paid for each one of us with His blood and should He ask us to be His slaves then we should be His slaves.
But Jesus says I will make you my brother or my sister and you will be part of my family and my friend.
Like Hannah we all desperately need the Lord!
We desperately need the Lord to meet our needs!
We desperately need the Lord to remove our burdens!
Hannah spoke from her heart, and we must also do the same.
Hannahs prayer was short, so a prayer of need does not have to contain many words, but only the words that are necessary because God listens to our heart.
One thing was sure, Hannah expected an answer to her prayer, and this is the faith we need in all our prayers.
Many of our prayers are an utterance of our agony and the Holy Spirit will even help us to pray these prayers.
Hannah’s lips were moving but her prayer was silent and Eli the High Priest and Judge of Israel was watching her.
*1Sa 1:12 And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked her mouth.
1Sa 1:13 Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken.
1Sa 1:14 And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee.
Instead of being an understanding priest, Eli immediately became a judge.
It is so sad when many Christians act this way in the Church.
We are not called to judge; we are called to witness.
Eli’s main calling was the priesthood, but he failed in this just he failed to be a father to his sons.
Why did Eli think this?
Because of the motions of her face and body.
Because of her passion.
Because of the fervency of her prayer.
A priest would have seen the truth.
A judge would think evil of her.
When we pray, we do not have to be heard by those around us!
God said to get alone with Him, and we can do this even with a crowd of people around us.
Rom 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Rom 8:27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
No doubt Eli had heard many a prayer and a great many would consist of many words and many boastful words.
The difference being the prayer of Hannah was answered!
The Temple of Hannah was her heart.
The ruler of the heart must be our High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ.
1Co_6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
Hannah informed Eli that she was not drunk.
In fact she had not been drinking wine nor any other strong drink, all these things available in Bible times.
Not every word for wine means alcohol when used in the Bible!
In fact, most of the time when we see the word “wine”, it means grape juice, fresh or not so fresh.
The Lord Jesus made the freshest of grape juice in His first miracle of the New Testament. Check me out.
*1Sa 1:15 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.
1Sa 1:16 Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto.
Are we wrong to judge Eli? We are wrong to judge anyone.
It is the Word of God that will be the Judge of all people.
Hannah believed it was the will of God for her to be a mother and she was right!
We must always pray according to the will of God, and then we will know that He hears us!
Isa 55:6 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
Isa 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
Hannah told Eli she was simply pouring her heart out to her God.
We must never judge according to the appearance of things.
Joh 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
One thing is certainly true, when we act like the Lord Jesus Christ, then we will certainly be misunderstood in this world!
Tit_2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
If we are not seen as being peculiar to this world then, maybe we need to renew our relationship with the Lord!
Hearing these truths, Eli gave assurance that God would hear her prayer.
Every prayer that God hears, will also receive an answer even though it may not be the answer we are seeking.
God will never go outside His will for us to answer our prayers!
Hannah boldly said to Eli that she was a handmaiden to God.
Handmaiden meaning a servant to the will of God for her life not some worthless, wicked woman.
What was Hannah to do?
When we leave a prayer of this type, then we should walk away at peace with ourselves and at peace with God, because we know He heard our prayer and we know if He heard our prayer, He would surely answer that prayer.
*1Sa 1:17 Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him.
1Sa 1:18 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.
We must understand that to make a prayer of any value there must be definite objects for which we plead.
Many times we spend our prayer time talking about many subjects, but our soul is not concentrating on our main subject, and God will not see us as being serious.
Our prayers should concern the plan God has for us!
We are wrong to go to God telling Him what blessing we are designed to have.
God has a dump truck full of blessings ready to give to us, but we must be serious about the will of God for our lives, until we go home to be with the Lord.
We must be searching for the “Grace” of God for our lives.
Grace being God’s Riches At Christ Expense!
Hannah walked away after finishing her prayer no longer sad, content that she had poured her heart out to God who had His ears open to hearing her.
*1Sa 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.
1Sa 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.
There were some reliable results from Hannah’s prayer. God heard her prayer and that prayer stayed with Him as all prayers do.
The prayer of Hannah stayed on God’s mind, and we know every child of God are of equal in importance to Him.
Whatever part of Hannah that kept her from conceiving a child was now healed!
We should have no doubt that God has been answering prayer from the beginning of human history!
The very reason God saves us is to answer our prayers!
Luk 18:7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
Luk 18:8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
Our duty as Christians is to continue to pray all the days God will give to us!
Mat 6:5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
Mat 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
Mat 6:7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
Mat 6:8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
We should be specific in our prayers!
Php 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Php 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Our prayer life is the most important gift from God we have, after our salvation and is part of God’s Grace.
God empowered the body of Hannah to have children.
Samuel was her first child, but he was not her only child.
The name Samuel means “God heard”.
Hannah may have had some doubts about Jehovah, but those doubts no longer existed!
Samuel was God’s gift to Hannah, just like every child is a precious gift to that mother who conceive that child. A gift from God.
So many of these precious gifts have been destroyed before they were ever born, and God has every one of them with Him in Heaven today.
God knows our needs, but God will always listen to us when we are gripped by sorrow or a broken heart.
Now God still hears all our prayers, but it is good to know that we can touch the heart of God.
We look at Heaven as being above the stars, but it is also good to know that the Lord is close enough to hear our prayers even when we pray like Hannah, our lips moving but the words are silent to those around us.
We rob ourselves of this great privilege of prayer if we keep back anything that we could have asked for!
Jas_4:2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
Now we may not get everything we ask for, but it will because God knew it would not be right for us, but we will surely never get what we think we want if we do not ask for them.
When we pour out our hearts with “thanksgiving” we will receive the things that are in the will of God for our lives!
We need to thank the Lord God for what He has done, for what He is doing, and for what He will do!
Rom 15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
1Pe 1:8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
1Pe 1:9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.