It was that time of the year. The time of the year when the Israelites journeyed to Shiloh to worship and sacrifice unto the LORD. The families would come to express their divine honor to God.
Elkanah, and his entourage, were just one of the families who traveled to Shiloh each year.
Now, Elkanah had two wives. Peninnah and Hannah. I guess, back in the day, some men had more than one wife. I just cannot imagine knowingly sharing my man with another woman. But that’s me. Moving on!
I need for you to get this picture. To me, it was like every year the Elkanah family went on vacation to Shiloh. A very special vacation I might add. This was a time of celebrating and thanking God for all that HE had done for them and all that HE would do. They would feast on the best and their hearts, and bellies for that matter, would be full. I imagine people you might only see once a year are there. You have an opportunity to fellowship. Hearts filled with praise. A happy time for all.
Now, Peninnah had kids by Elkanah. Peninnah seemed, to me, to have an attitude, too. Each year she would rub in Hannah’s face the fact that Hannah had no kids by their shared husband. Imagine the words she would whisper to Hannah. Hurtful. Digs. Maybe things like, “Sure he says he loves you more but what man doesn’t want kids? He is just trying to make you feel good. If these kids didn’t mean anything to him then why does he keep coming back for more. Seems to me I must have something you don’t have.” You get the picture?
Each year as Elkanah and his family would feast on the best, Elkanah would give portions of the offering to Peninnah and her kids. He would then give a more generous offering to Hannah as an expression of his love. You can tell hubby is clueless because he somehow thought that the generosity made it all okay. The hubby clearly didn’t understand Hannah’s pain because he made statements like, “Am I not better to you than ten sons?” Now, I don’t know about you but this would not be considered a statement of consolation for me, if I were in Hannah’s shoes. And Hannah says nothing. Smart move girl. Smart move.
See, Hannah was barren. Her womb that is. For years she was not able to conceive. The bad part about it was, as I mentioned, her husband had another wife, and the other woman, so to speak, was able. Oh, and as you can see, she (the other woman) seemed to be a spiteful little witch. Sorry. Lost it for a moment. So, what I meant to say was, her adversary provoked Hannah to remind her of her barrenness. ☺️
Think about it. Even if the other wife wasn’t egging her on, Hannah still had to look and listen to the kids. Imagine when they called Elkanah. Daddy! Papa! Or whatever they chose to call him. Each time she heard them address him it had to hurt. It had to remind her of her condition.
So, yearly, the family, that is the husband, Hannah, and the other woman, and her children went up to Shiloh to worship, and to sacrifice unto the LORD. Yearly, Hannah was miserable. For Hannah had a void. Hannah felt unfulfilled.
But look at Hannah’s attitude. Look at her character. Her adversary provokes her year after year after year and Hannah doesn’t fuss her out. Think of how it must be triggering so much inside of Hannah and not only does she not take it out on the other woman, but she doesn’t even express her discontent with her seed sharing sap of a man. I meant her husband. Elkanah. Think of how painful this situation was. Without a doubt.
Through it all Hannah doesn’t even let her adversary provoke her to anything other than godly behavior. Hats off to ya Hannah! Hats off to ya!
Instead, when Hannah had enough she went off and cried to the LORD. She takes her anger, hurt, despair, frustration, all of it to the LORD.
Whew! In closing, all I can say is let’s pray.
Grow me to be like Hannah. Oh God, I want to be a woman who will cry out to YOU in the midst of my despair. In the midst of my barrenness, anger, frustration, grief, or season of discontent. In the midst of what seems to be so unfair. Remind me to run to YOU and in so doing confidently know that I am safe there bearing my soul. Mold my character, which in turn will be reflective in my attitude, so that the world will see that I am different because of YOU.
In Jesus Name,
Be Strengthened and Encouraged in HIM,
Don’t let your adversary provoke you to anything other than godly behavior. Liz Tate
Behold, God is great, and we know HIM not! The number of HIS years is unsearchable. For HE draws up the drops of water, which distill as rain from HIS vapor, which the skies pour down and drop abundantly upon [the multitudes of] mankind. Not only that, but can anyone understand the spreadings of the clouds or the thunderings of HIS pavilion? Behold, HE spreads HIS lightning against the dark clouds and covers the roots of the sea. Job 36:26-30 AMP
Next week we start a new series. The series was written primarily from my time in the First Book of Samuel during my season of sitting in near silence. When I reflect back on that season, I am overwhelmed with emotion. Just a year ago, I was unable to hear anything in my right ear and if I remember correctly about 18% in my left. I didn’t know what my future held but I had faith and hope and trusted God with HIS plan for my life.
Most of you know today, I sit here, with cochlear implants, and I can hear amazing well. I am astonished at all the sounds. I now know my dog snores REALLY loudly, and you know birds are awfully noisy at times. But it’s all music to my ears. I am very grateful.
I know that I have said this before, but I must say it again. I am so grateful for all of you who stood with me in faith. The fasting, the prayers, the words of encouragement, you name it, are etched in my heart. I love you MUCH!
I could not think of a better way to start a series than to give God the glory for the work that HE has done in my life both physically and spiritually. The season of silence has ended and I have entered a new season. I don’t quite know what this season holds for me but I know this: HE never ceases to amaze me.
With that said, I am excited about this series and hope that this series blesses you beyond measure.
Until next week,
Be strengthened and encouraged in HIM,
It was a hectic morning. I had to attend an all-day meeting with several top executives. I was already nervous because I had to present. It didn’t matter how many times I presented, nine times out of ten I got nervous until I was about five or ten minutes into the presentation. Then the jitters dissipated... until next time.
Anyhow, back then my day typically started at five in the morning because at the time the kids were in school, and their buses came quite early. We would leave the house before the sun came up, and the sun would typically start its ascent as I drove to work.
On this day, I arrived at work, and as I stepped out of the car, into the sun, and looked down at my feet, to my shock and dismay I had two different color shoes on. The same style shoe but one was black and the other dark, dark blue. I thought this could not be happening.
I knew I didn’t have enough time to go home and change and I didn’t have another pair of shoes to slip into. So, I hurried to my office and sat there in a near panic. I have to share one more fact so you can appreciate what happened next. At this time in banking there were very few female executives, and typically I might have been the only female in meetings of this nature. This day was no exception.
When the executive assistant came in I asked her if my ‘mismatched feet apparel’ for the day was noticeable. Her answer was horrifying. I still remember it to this day. She said, “Honey, do you think any of these men in here ever notice your shoes?” She actually said something slightly different but this response pretty much sums up the point. We both laughed but inside I thought I would die.
So, now, with skepticism planted in my bosom I could barely think straight, let alone present. Long story short, she was right. No one ever noticed my shoe shambles. Not once throughout the day. Believe you me I would have known if they had noticed. I would have been able to read their body language, if not the expression on their face.
You know what though? The amazing part of all of this is that God used this awkward encounter as a teaching moment so many years later.
See, recently I was out buying sandals and while in the store a pair of sandals seemed to call my name. Actually, two pair. The sandals were identical and came in both black and dark blue. As I glanced over at the sandals, I had an instant flashback to my ‘mismatched feet apparel’ day. I laughed as I suddenly realized the day really wasn’t all that catastrophic in the grand scheme of things. In fact, in the end, wearing two different color shoes was a non-event.
But, at that time, to me, my life was doomed. Shuffling along. Eyes to the ground. Absorbed with the thing right in front of me. So focused on looking down I forgot to look up.
Therein lies the answer. Change your perspective. Look up. Flip flop your focus.
Be Strengthened and Encouraged in HIM,
Set your mind on things above… Colossians 3:2 NIV
Hey There! I'm Liz
Founder of Ezra728 with a purpose of creating inspiring messages to strengthen and encourage primarily us gals across the globe. Guys, don't fret. You are definitely welcome, too.