Okay, so it’s happening again — that person is dong the same old thing, making the same old comments, not letting well enough alone, trying her best to ruin my day . . .
Arrrrgh . . . . . .
But is there something bigger going on behind the scenes? (In my case, probably not . . . well — maybe the Lord is trying to make me more patient or teach me to stick up for myself or something . . .) However, in Hannah’s case, there was ‘a bigger picture.’ Hannah may or may not have known about the bigger picture, but she might have been aware of some problems in the temple.
The priests were misusing their authority. 2 Samuel 12 – 17 tells how Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were treating both the Lord and the people.
2 Samuel 12 – 17
Eli’s sons were wicked men; they had no regard for the LORD or for the priests’ share of the sacrifices from the people. When any man offered a sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come with a three-prongred meat fork while the meat was boiling and plunge it into the container or kettle or cauldron or cooking pot. The priest would claim for himself whatever the meat fork brought up. This is the way they treated all the Israelites who came there to Shiloh. Even before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, “Give the priest some meat to roast because he won’t accept boiled meat from you–only raw.” If that man said to him “The fat must be burned first; then you can take whatever you want for yourself,” the servant would reply, “No, I insist that you hand it over right now. If you don’t, I’ll take it by force!” So the servants’ sin was very severe in the presence of the LORD, because they treated the LORD’s offering with contempt.
Eli was aware of what his sons were doing.
2 Samuel 25: Now Eli was very old. He heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they were sleeping with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meetings.
He tried to correct them. They did not listen.
Since the priests treated everyone’s offering with contempt, it is probable that the same thing happened to Elkanah. The offerings were made with the family present, so Hannah may have watched her husbands’ offering being misused.
And year after year, Hannah was provoked to tears by Penninah’s taunts. Finally, praying from a place of deep hurt, Hannah made a vow that if she was allowed to have a son, that son would serve the Lord all the days of his life. She would bring him to the temple — the temple run by Eli and his sons. She fulfilled her vow.
The Lord was angry with Eli and his sons. The priests would not take correction from their father and walk closer to the Lord. 1 Samuel 2:25b says: But they would not listen to their father, since the LORD intended to kill them.
The next verse talks about Samuel.
1 Samuel 2:26
By contrast, the boy Samuel grew in stature and in favor with the LORD and with men.
Hannah had a deep need. But ‘the bigger picture’ included the fact that the Lord saw that the priesthood was acting unfaithfully toward Him and interfering in the worship of the people. The ‘bigger picture’ was that the Lord wanted to make a change in leadership. He needed someone in the temple that He could raise up to lead the nation of Israel. His choice: Samuel, Hannah’s little boy. Hannah’s need for a son helped God fulfill his bigger picture of his plans for the nation of Israel.
Are the struggles we face part of God fulfilling his work in the earth? It is something to think about . . .
copyright: K Carswell, 2020
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, Copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by Permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible, Holman CSB and HCSB are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.