Samuel

Great Women of The Bible Challenge-Hannah

Hannah- The woman of prayer

Bible Reference- 1 Samuel 1, 1 Samuel 2

Family Background- Hannah was married to a man called Elkanah (who was the son of of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph who was an Ephraimite). The Bible says her husband was from Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim. Elkanah had another wife called Peninnah who had children, Hannah had none. Hannah was Elkanah’s favourite wife. Hannah later gave birth to Samuel, three other sons and two daughters.

Name Meaning- Hannah in Hebrew means favour or grace

Who is Hannah?

Hannah, is one of the most famous characters of the Old Testament. Like many others in the Bible, she was barren.  At that time, not being unable to conceive was considered shameful.

Yearly, Hannah and her husband went to worship  the Lord at Shiloh. The Bible says ‘Year after Year’ , which suggests Hannah and her family went frequently to worship the Lord. The Bible describes Elkanah’s love for Hannah, as he would give her double portion to sacrifice because of his love for her. His other wife, Peninnah reminded her of her sorrows constantly. The Bible says she provoked her until she wept and would not eat. Her husband reminded her that he loved her by asking her why she wept, was sad and that his love was more than ten sons.

Hannah, was in the house of the Lord  praying and weeping bitterly. She made a vow to God, that if he gave her a son she would give him to God for all of his life.  She continued to pray and Eli, the priest observed her mouth. She was praying so intently that her mouth moved without words coming out. Eli thought she was drunk. Hannah told Eli, that she was pouring out her heart to God. Eli, moved by Hannah’s pain told her to go and that God will give her what she has asked for.

Afterwards, Hannah and her husband went back to their home at Ramnah, they slept together and she became pregnant. She gave birth to a son, called Samuel. She named Samuel, ‘Because I asked the Lord for him’.

Hannah had made a promise to God, to give him back for God’s service. Hannah kept her promise. She gave her son to Eli, where her child was trained in ministering and priesthood.

God honoured Hannah for keeping her promise. She gave birth to three more sons and two daughters. Hannah’s son Samuel, grew up to be the last Judge for Israel, a prophet and counselled Israel’s first two Kings (Saul and David).

Why is Hannah great?

Hannah, is one of the most well known women of the bible.  She was the mother of Samuel, who himself was a great man of God. I believe Hannah is great for several reasons: she was perseverant, had extraordinary faith, she kept her promises, prayerful and lead a godly life.

Hannah was perseverant, she never gave up on God. She continued to pray day and night and never lost hope. She prayed year after year and was frequently at the house of God. She prayed until people thought she was drunk. It reminds of when Paul, said that we should pray without ceasing. This is what Hannah did and God answered her prayers.

Hannah had extraordinary faith, it was a peculiar type of faith. To be  praying for the same thing year after year  is incredible. Especially, when her rival wife Peninnah was poking fun at her constantly. Yet, her hope in God remained. True to her name, she walked in grace and did not retaliate. Even though God had shut her womb, she opened up her heart even more to God. As Eli told her to go home, notice how she went and was no more weeping. She believed that God had answered her prayers.

I admire Hannah for keeping her promise: to  give her child back to God. Remember this was her first child that she had prayed for many years. The sacrifice that she made, blessed her even more. She was rewarded, Hannah and her husband gave birth to five more children.

Hannah was a praying woman. She prayed without ceasing. Even though what she had asked for did not come immediately, she continued in prayer. Even though she was barren, she still believed and through her pain she found refuge in prayer. She took her worries to God even when she was sorrowful. In 1 Samuel 2, it gives us Hannah’s prayer. She gives thanksgiving for God’s goodness.

What can we learn from Hannah?

The lessons I believe we can learn from Hannah is to never give up. Hannah never gave up and pressed on in faith.  She never doubted God’s abilities. After years and years of waiting on God, her prayer life remained constant even though her rival wife irritated her. Many of us would give up, but Hannah didn’t.  Hannah teaches us to never give up, to remain prayerful, to lead a godly life, to have faith and to stay perseverant.

Stay Blessed

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Great women of the bible challenge- ABIGAIL & Anna

I hope you all are having a lovely weekend. I decided early in the week that I would do a ‘Great Women of the Bible Challenge’. This is where I would look at two great women of the Bible each week. I want to be a great woman and there is nothing better than drawing inspiration from powerful women. I was inspired by my best friend who was doing something similar. I saw the great effect it was having on her and thought I need some of that lol! I can’t miss out! This week it starts with Abigail and Anna. Hope you are all blessed by it. Enjoy!

Abigail- A woman with beauty and brains

Bible Reference1 Samuel 25:1-42; 2 Samuel 3.3

Family background– The Bible does not point to Abigail’s family history or background. All we know she was married to Nabal. The meaning of Abigail’s name indicates that maybe her father was a joyous person.

Name Meaning– Father’s joy or gives joy

Who is Abigail?

We are introduced to Abigail in 1 Samuel 25:3.  She is married to a man called Nabal who was very wealthy.  Nabal could be viewed as the  modern day Donald Trump. He owned property in Carmel and  4000 goats and sheep.

Abigail’s description in the Bible was that ‘she was an intelligent and beautiful woman’. She was a woman with beauty and brains. Today, many believe that their beauty that will open doors for them. Yes, this is true at times. However, beauty does not last forever. Abigail demonstrates in this passage how important it is to have intelligence. She shows women that beauty and intelligence work hand in hand. Her intelligence equalled her beauty. To have a beautiful mind and a beautiful appearance is highly admirable and something that many should inspire to have.

Why is Abigail great?

I find it fascinating that Abigail was this beautiful and intelligent woman yet her husband Nabal was mean and surly. Abigail was painted in a good light whilst her husband was painted in a bad light. It seems like Abigail and Nabal were opposites. I think Abigail must have been patient to be married to a man who was not kind. This would take a lot of understanding. It also suggests she was down to earth and humble. The way the bible emphasises her beauty, she could have the attitude of  ‘I am far too hot for this, bye’. However she respected the value and the institution of marriage. I think we can learn from Abigail where we should have patience with unkind people. It also teaches us to be humble and down to earth. Just because you are a ‘hottie’ or a ‘great beauty’ does not mean you should be boastful or have a proud heart.

David moved to the desert of Paran whilst he was there he treated Nabal’s shepherds well. The scripture points out that that Nabal’s shepherds even spent time with David and his companions. At this time David was in the wilderness, he sent his ten young men with a kind message of good health and long life. They heard that it was sheep wearing time and wished Nabal to give them whatever they could find. Can you imagine the rude behaviour Nabal displayed to David’s men? He told them ‘Who is David?’, ‘Who is the son of Jesse?’. This demonstrates Nabal’s churlish behaviour. He definitely knew who David was. How can you mention his father’s name and claim that you don’t know him? As for this Mr Churlish, I think he knew David and that he is the King in waiting. I think Nabal just did not like David. Can you imagine someone displaying that kind of behaviour to Prince Charles? Or Prince William? That is what Nabal did. Adding insult to injury he refused to give food to David’s men. He also said that he would not give it to men that he knows from no where when the food is for his shearers. This shows Nabal’s selfish, harsh and brutal character.

Word got back to David. David was ANGRY. The Bible mentions strapping the sword thrice. David meant business and was coming for Nabal Churlish. A servant told Abigail of her husband’s lack of social graces. The servant mentions that Nabal is such a wicked man that no one can talk to him. The fact that the servant came to Abigail, suggests that she was the logical one in their household. This can be seen when the Bible says she ‘acted quickly’. She went out without telling her husband to meet David with food supplies. A woman of this period, probably risked the anger of their husband by going out without permission. I applaud and commend her bravery! She did what she had to do, to save her household.

When Abigail saw him she fell with face down to the ground. I love the respect, humility and submission she showed David. She mentions that her husband is just like his name-foolish.No wonder his behaviour is foolish. She asks David to spare her household. I love that Abigail knew who David was in the Lord.

‘ The Lord your God will certainly make a lasting dynasty for my lord, because you fight the Lord’s battles, and no wrongdoing will be found in you as long as you live. Even though someone is pursuing you to take your life, the life of my lord will be bound securely in the bundle of the living by the Lord your God, but the lives of your enemies he will hurl away as from the pocket of a sling. When the Lord has fulfilled for my lord every good thing he promised concerning him and has appointed him ruler over Israel, my lord will not have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having avenged himself. And when the Lord your God has brought my lord success, remember your servant’

Indeed, Abigail was a wise woman. She recognised who David was. She had a great understanding and judgement of David.  I believe that David was moved by Abigail’s wisdom and judgement which lead him to to preserve Nabal’s household. He states that if it was not for Abigail’s wisdom he would have destroyed Nabal’s household. He respected Abigail for the care she had for her husband and household.

When Abigail returned home, Nabal was having a party and was extremely drunk ‘holding a banquet like that of a king’. How did Abigail deal with her husband? I know many of us could not do it. I certainly could not. She told him later of her actions when he was sober. The Bible describes that he had heart failure and become like stone. He died ten days later.

David then remembered Abigail. He sent his servants to ask Abigail to become his wife and she accepted willingly. Lol, who would not remember Abigail? A woman of beauty, intelligence, wisdom, bravery and humility of course David would want to marry her. She saw herself as a servant and even was ready to wash David’s servants feet. Such humility!

Abigail is mentioned another time in the Bible, as the mother of David’s second child.

What can we learn from Abigail?

I have learnt a great deal from Abigail. Her story is an example of submission, courage and wisdom even in times of danger. Abigail was truly an amazing woman. She was respectful and humble. I love the way she was so humble to fall down to the ground. This really moved me. I know many of us would be like I aint bowing down for nobody. However Abigail’s bowing down is something that we can learn from, that we should be respectful, humble and submissive.

Anna- The Prophetess

Bible ReferenceLuke 2:36-38

Family background-Anna was the daughter of Phanuel. The name Phanuel means the face of God. This suggests that Anna may have come from a family that seeked God or a devout religious family. She was from the Asher Tribe. Anna had a husband, but he died.

Name Meaning– Grace or Favour

Who is Anna?

Anna appears in the Bible in Luke 2:36-38.  The Bible describes her as a prophet. So Anna was a woman of God who heard and spoke from God. She was a widow, she had been married for seven years but her husband died. The scripture describes her as very old.

Why is Anna great?

Anna was great because she seeked God’s face and presence. She never left God’s temple, fasting and praying everyday. She knew the importance of worshipping God. She recognised that Mary and Joseph’s child, Jesus was the saviour and gave thanks.

What can we learn from Anna?

I admire Anna’s longing to be with God at all times. It seems like she was a woman who loved spending timing with God. The constant fasting and prayer showed she wanted to draw closer to God. Nowadays many of us regard fasting as old fashioned. I, myself was guilty of this some time back. However I have realised the importance of fasting and prayer. Fasting and praying are key principles in our faith. Jesus himself highlighted the importance of fasting and praying. It is important to fast and pray because we may need to seek God on important decisions in our lives. It also makes us stronger against the flesh and can bring breakthroughs. Anna knew the importance of fasting and praying.

 

Stay Blessed

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