You are unable, cursed, and hopeless, but...

July 26, 2017

 

Peninnah had children.  Who was Peninnah and why does it matter?  Peninnah was a wife of Elkanah and she was fruitful and proud.  She seemed to have everything, but the true love of her husband. And that is all that we know about her, because she played only a very small part in a very large story.  Elkanah had another wife and her name was Hannah.  She was barren, but dearly loved by her husband.  Peninnah would bully her and make her cry because she had no children, so Hannah was desperate to give Elkanah a son even though he loved her without giving him an heir.  She cried out to the Lord, making a promise, that if God would give her a son, then she would give him to the Lord for the rest of his life.  God answered her prayer and she gave birth to a boy who they named Samuel.  Hannah had good reason to feel insecure.  Although she was loved, she wasn't physically able to give her husband what she knew he wanted.  While to us it is backward and even barbaric, Hannah's primary role as a wife was to birth children.  That was a social norm and she was incapable.  The childless were seen as cursed and useless.  Peninnah didn't make it any easier.  She had plenty of children and made sure that Hannah knew the differences between them.  So here was woman who saw herself as unable, cursed, and hopeless.  It would seem that she was truly insecure, but...she turned to God for help.  Now it's very likely that she tried everything to get pregnant.  She ate certain foods and drank certain liquids with hopes of kickstarting her reproductive system, all to no avail. She probably tried certain powders and used particular folk remedies that the older ladies told her would work.  The only solution to her problem had to come from God, so in her bitterness she poured out her soul to the Lord.  Many of us have very real reasons to be insecure.  We feel unable, ill-equipped, hopeless, and even cursed.  Nothing has worked to change our situation, and in comparison to others, we feel useless and become bitter.  The answer is personal responsibility, but not self-help.  It is taking the right steps, but it isn't looking to improve yourself through all the remedies that others recommend.  It is standing in the presence of God and saying "help!"  It is looking to the God of the Insecure to bring about the security that we need.  He is the only solution.  See how secure Hannah becomes after Samuel is born.  She gave her son to be raised by another in the presence of God and her heart rejoiced in the Lord.  She kept her promise even though it cost her, and God blessed her with more kids.  It was Hannah who later prayed "There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God."  Those are the words of the secure; secure in Him.  Peninnah had children, but Hannah had the God of the Insecure.

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