During the Old Testament period it was an embarrassment for a married woman not to have children. In fact women who had given birth to a child would tease those who had not. This is the situation that the woman Hannah faced. Scripture tells us that Hannah’s husband loved her above all “but the LORD had shut up her womb” (1 Sam. 1:5-6).
Hannah, and the rest of her family, went yearly to the house of the Lord in Shiloh (1 Sam. 1:3). While in Shiloh Hannah “was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore” (vs. 10) due to her still childless condition. 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” (vs. 11). God answered the prayer of Hannah in a positive way by letting her conceive and bare a son whom she named Samuel (vs. 20).
Hannah had no way of knowing whether or not God would allow her to bear more children. She therefore might have been tempted to not go through with her vow by giving up her son in service to God. However scripture tells us that Hannah did fulfill her vow after the child was weaned (vs. 22-28). God then rewarded Hannah with more children (1 Sam. 2:21).
God granted Hannah her petition because of her faithfulness to Him. God does the same for people today. James 5:16 tells us that “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Our Lord is a God that works in the life of His people. He didn’t just create and then sit back to see what happened. Scripture also tells us that God answers the prayers of those who are obedient to His word: “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight” (1 John 3:22). Our God is a God who gives to those who ask.
In Christ, Steve Preston
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