Two Grieving Women – by Roy Daniel
Hannah and Rachel
There were two women from different eras who felt grieved and depressed for similar reasons: Rachel (wife of Jacob) and Hannah (wife of Elkanah.) Both of their husbands had two wives. In both cases the other wife had many children while they had not. Hannah felt her husband’s other wife treated her like an enemy. (1 Sam 1:6) Both felt unfulfilled, insecure and grieved due to lack of children to a point of “melting emotionally” in front of their respective husbands.
These men responded differently. When Rachel cried out to Jacob, “Give me children, or else I die.” (Gen 30:1) he angrily answered, “Am I in God’s stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?” (Gen 30:2) However, when Hannah wept and fasted to God in front of her husband he said “Am not I better to thee than ten sons?” (1 Sam 1:8)
These two husbands faced the same need expressed by their wives but reacted in different ways! They both were limited in what they could do to help their wives. Hannah felt despondent. We read her words (after a temple prayer) in 1 Sam 1:15, “I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have … poured out my soul before the LORD.”
Her husband could not help her and so she poured out her soul before the Lord. A husband cannot be God to you. “Only God is God” is a great lesson we desperately need to learn. We read of Hannah (1 Sam 1:6) and Rachel (Gen 29:31) that God shut up their wombs. The same is said of many women in the Bible.
This lesson is echoed when Naaman came to the king of Judah to ask him to heal him of his leprosy.
The king answered “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy?” (2 Kings 5:7)
The beautiful thing is God heard their prayers and cries. He gave both women children. Hannah had a little child called Samuel who she lent to the Lord to serve at the temple. (1 Sam 1:28) God honored her for this by visiting her and allowing her to have many more children. (Gen 29:31)
This once despondent woman now sang a song of praise.
In this she hardly mentioned what God had done for her, but focused on who God was to her. This is an amazing lesson that God, through hard times, wants to reveal Himself to us in a more deep and personal way!
The Attributes of God
She spoke of God’s Holiness (1 Sa 2:2), that God is a rock. (i.e. Almighty and Immutable – never changing.) That God had the right and power to promote or demote. (i.e. He is Sovereign. 1 Sam 2:6-8) and that He is judge. (1 Sam 2:10)
1 Sam 2:2 There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.
1 Sam 2:6-8 The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up. The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up. He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD’S, and he hath set the world upon them.
1 Sam 2:10 The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.
To many people the attributes of God are abstract concepts that are not precious in that they are merely academic and not personally experienced. God allows grief so that we have the choice of either becoming bitter or learning who He is in trials. It is only in the darkness that I can experientially appreciate my torch. God sometimes answers our desperate, temporal, physical and emotional needs directly. He gives us children and provision in answer to prayer. Other times the hard times continue for a season, like Job, or even until death, like the many christians who died in prison, but in every case God is willing, ready and able to become more real according to who He is in scripture. He is a very present help in time of trouble. (Ps 46:1) And He is all He said He is. (Ex 3:14)
Do you realized the value of a trial is not just an opportunity to trust in God, but a time where God intends His attributes to become real to you through Jesus Christ in a way you have not experienced before? (Col 1:19, Col 2:9)
By Roy Daniel www.roydanielfamily.com