Scripture reading for March 17: 1st Samuel 1-3
Have you ever been falsely accused of doing something wicked? How about a false accusation coming from a man or woman of God? How would you feel about that person who represented God? The temptation would be strong to get angry at the person or worse yet, to get angry at God for allowing such a thing to happen! Our story today has just such an opportunity!
Hannah was barren and sought God for a child . Her husband, Elkanah, had two wives. His other wife had children but Hannah cried out to God for a child. The Scripture specifically states that “the Lord had closed her womb”. (1st Samuel 1:6) There are several issues here that can cause us to question. First, why did this Israelite have two wives? It seems that in the Old Testament, this issue was not dealt with often. We do notice that there was rivalry and strife between the wives. This happens in other instances too. Think about Abraham and Sarah and her concubine Hagar! God allows certain behavior, but does not say it is right. Jesus pointed his followers to Genesis and the pattern of one man and one woman. (Mark 10:5-9)
Another issue is the Lord closing Hannah’s womb. Why would God do that? I thought that God was a life-giver and wanted to bless His people? It seems that in several instances, people God used faced difficulties that forced them to deal with the only one who had an answer–God! We can think of Abraham and Sarah or Isaac and Rebbecca as starters. They had to go to God for an answer and God opened their wombs and brought forth a special child! Both of these difficulties could bring accusations on the Lord.
Another accusation in this passage comes from Eli, the priest. As Hannah is praying desperately for a child, weeping and crying out to the Lord, Eli thinks that she has had too much wine and is drunk! He even tells her not to come drunk and to give up the wine! (1st Samuel 1:12-16) What a message for a pastor to give to a humble seeker of the Lord! To her credit, she did not become angry or disrespect him. She patiently explained her dilemma and Eli blessed her. God answered her prayer and she got her child! Not only that, she had three additional sons and two daughters! God is truly good!
Our reading today should help us deal with false accusations. It is easy to jump to conclusions when we read a passage of Scripture. All Scripture is inspired by God and must be weighed by other passages and God’s heart and Spirit. We must not make snap judgments! May the Lord grant us all grace today to operate on the facts, not on speculation or false assumptions!