“And whenever the time came for Elkanah to make an offering, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, although the Lord had closed her womb. And her rival provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb. So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, that she provoked her; therefore, she wept and did not eat.” 1 Samuel 1:4-7
Though it would probably not comfort Hannah, it helps us to remember that Hannah is not the first barren woman noted in scripture. We remember Sarai/Sarah and how Genesis 11:30 hangs like a dark cloud over the next 10 chapters of Genesis. Rebekah had no children for the first 20 years of marriage, and we find a soap-opera turmoil swirling around the barrenness of Rachel.
God raised up mighty Samson from the fruitless womb of Manoah’s wife. And who would have guessed that old, childless Elizabeth would give birth to John the Baptist? Barren women seem to be God’s instruments in raising-up key figures in the history of redemption, whether preservers of Israel (Joseph, Samson, Samuel) or the forerunner of the King of kings Jesus (John the Baptist).
Hannah, therefore, shares in a “fellowship of barrenness.” And it is frequently in this fellowship that new chapters in God’s history with His people begin – with nothing. God’s tendency is to make our total inability His starting point. Our hopelessness and our helplessness are no barriers to His work. Indeed, our utter incapacity is often the prop He delights to use for His next act.
This matter goes beyond the particular situations of Biblical barren women. We are facing one of the principles of the Lord’s modus operandi. When His people are without strength, without resources, without hope, and without human gimmicks – then He loves to stretch forth His hand from Heaven.
Once we see where God often begins, we will understand how we may be encouraged in the Hope of God’s Word and unchanging character.
Elevating your Faith with daily Bible reading and devotionals written by Steve Wiggins.
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