Monday, June 03, 2013

Nor Is There Any Rock Like Our God

Now there was a certain man…and his name was Elkanah….He had two wives: the name of one was Hannah and the name of the other Peninnah; and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.

Her rival, however, would provoke her bitterly to irritate her, because the LORD had closed her womb. It happened year after year, as often as she went up to the house of the LORD, she would provoke her; so she wept and would not eat.

Hannah’s trial was lengthy and deeply personal. The text says, ‘year after year,’ which to us would mean many Christmases and many New Years Eve’s coming and going with no change in the situation. It also meant that Hannah watched Peninnah’s children growing up while her womb remained closed. Every birthday meant cake for Peninnah’s kids and taunts and barbs for Hannah.

There are those that would have ceased going up to the Lord’s house. They would have caught church on television initially perhaps then slowly any memory of trekking to worship would be forgotten. So too would any deep hope of change in the situation.

One can only respond to, “So, when are you going to have children with Elkanah,” so long. Worst case you will grow bitter but not if you have hope and that hope is built (as Jesus said) on solid ground.

That’s the twist in the story; isn’t it? Peninnah had two children and was caustic and bitter. Hannah was heartbroken and ached but her perspective was fixed on the one who gives hope and changes circumstance. The contrast between the two is drawn in citing Hannah’s heart and God’s focus in the story.

The Lord remembers Hannah and she conceives. God pulls through for Hannah in the end. Not that He’ll do the same thing in the same way for everyone. It’s more about God faithfulness to Hannah and her perseverance and hope. As she sings in her song of thanksgiving, “There is no one holy like the LORD, indeed, there is no one besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God.”

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