Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim Zophim, of the mountains of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite.
And he had two wives: the name of one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.
[1 Samuel 1:1-2 NKJV]
Here is the beginning of a major part of the Old Testament story. As is often the case it begins with a genealogy. This is important because it traces the family line and tells us that the importance is because of their heritage — they are God’s people.
Two women, both wives of Elkanah ( his name means ‘God has created’). Peninnah (‘jewel’) and Hannah (‘grace’), but while Peninnah had children, Hannah had none. What follows is a story repeated on a number of occasions in Scripture, where a barren woman is able to bear a child after pleading with God in prayer. The child then grows up to be The Lord’s servant in the most amazing way.
The picture we are given is one of faith and hope, maintained through prayer resulting in joy and peace ... and God is glorified. This has a rosy glow to the experience, but the reality is harsh and arduous. Hannah struggled with her situation, not helped by Peninnah’s provocations.
Then she made a vow and said, “O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.” [1Samuel 1:11 NKJV]
Only when Hannah gave away her deepest desire to The Lord did the situation change. Our Heavenly Father wants to bestow so much upon us, but He can only do so when we give up our right to ourselves and seek Him foremost.
See also 'No Razor Shall Come Upon His Head'
The only platform from which the holiest saint on earth is ever heard is the platform mentioned in Hebrews 10:19, we have ‘boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus’. There is no other way.
When we come into the presence of God, the human side of our praying makes us realise that if we are ever going to approach God and pray acceptably, it must be by the ‘piece of God’ in us, which He has given us.
GEORGE and GILL STEWART