Monday, April 18, 2011

Have you ever been the target of someone’s snide or insensitive remarks? There’s a lot of talk these days about children bullying each other, but adults are often guilty of taunting talk too. Because she was barren beloved Hannah was the recipient of cruel comments. I Samuel records the story of Elkanah and his two wives: Hannah and Peninnah. Although this was not God’ original intention for marriage, many Old Testament leaders had more than one life. Polygamy existed to produce more children to help in the family work and to assure a continuation of the lineage. The practice often caused serious family problems as we see in this story of Elkanah’s wives. The scripture tells us, “Peninnah had some children, but Hannah did not.” A childless woman in Hannah’s day was considered a failure, and barrenness was cause for humiliation and embarrassment. Year after year Peninnah taunted Hannah because of her barrenness. During time of feasting Penninnah scoffed and laughed at Hannah so much that she couldn’t eat. Penninah’s words must have pierced Hannah’s heart and eroded her self-confidence. How do you react to the criticism of others? We have a choice about how we respond to others. We can choose to be offended or not to be offended by the spiteful words of others. The words to the nursery rhyme, “Sticks and stone may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” are a lie. Words can hurt us, but we decide whether or not they will define us. We can choose to be offended by someone else’s venom or we can choose to allow God to be our defender. God, my strength, I am looking to you, because God is my defender. Psalm 59:9 In a desperate plea to God Hannah went to the Tabernacle and cried out in anguish. She poured out her soul to him in a heartfelt prayer. After giving her request to God and after receiving the blessing of the high priest, Hannah was filled with faith and returned home with joy and thanksgiving. And then she did what most of us have a hard time doing. She left her pain with God. Whatever trial we face, we can follow Hannah’s example and … 1. Pray fervently – She poured out her heart to God. Her prayer was heartfelt. Colossians 4:2a - Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.

2. Pray persistently – She continued devotedly in prayer.

3. Pray faithfully – She believed that God would answer her prayer. 1

John 5:14-15 And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for. Let’s pray fervently, persistently, and faithfully and choose to let God be our defender.


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