Monday, April 25, 2011

the character of Hannah

This part four of the Heart of Hannah series, if you're just joining us click here to start at the beginning.

Hannah's charater was absolutely remarkable. She was a woman who lived out honor with great poise and lowliness.

After Hannah had her mini-breakdown and cried to Elkanah (I mean who wouldn't? She's got no children and her husband's other wife is a mean lady who likes to taunt her and show off her offspring), she went straight to the temple and she poured herself out over the Lord.

"She, greatly distressed, prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly." (1 Samuel 1:10)

She didn't hold on to her resentment. She didn't go back to Penninah's room, take off her jewelry and put on vaseline to throw down.

No. Instead she chose the Mary thing. She poured herself out over her Maker. She poured her heart out to Him knowing He would answer. (more on her prayer life next time)

And what happened after this?

The high priest, watching by the temple gates thought she was drunk. He essentially told her to put away whatever she was drinking. Hannah, in the middle of her distress was called a drunk.

"Then Eli said to her, 'How long will you make yourself drunk? Put away your wine from you.'" (1 Samuel 1:14)

Yeah, at this point I might've lost it. Seriously.

Yet Hannah with grave dignity and lowliness of spirit responded with a remarkable vulnerability and no offense.

"But Hannah replied, 'No, my lord, I am a woman oppressed in spirit; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have poured out my soul before the LORD. Do not consider your maidservant as a worthless woman, for I have spoken until now out of my great concern and provocation." (1 Samuel 1:15-16)

In the midst of her pain, she again responds with grace and grave dignity. She never fought back in human standards.

She never dishonored Eli as the high priest. He was human and she understood this. She honored his authority and received his rebuke (though misplaced) as an opportunity to learn.

She responded in love, not offense.

Matthew Henry says it this way;

"It ill becomes us to be rash and hasty in our censures of others, and to be forward to believe people guilty of bad things, while either the matter of fact on which the censure is grounded is doubtful and unproved or is capable of a good construction. Charity commands us to hope the best concerning all, and forbids censoriousness. She had been reproved by Elkanah because she would not eat and drink, and now to be reproached by Eli as if she had eaten and drunk too much was very hard. Note, It is no new thing for those that do well to be ill thought of, and we must not think it strange if at any time it be our lot. When we are unjustly censured we should endeavour, not only to clear ourselves, but to satisfy our brethren, by giving them a just and true account of that which they misapprehended."

Are you a woman of character like Hannah? I want to be. I want to be like Hannah Jesus. In what areas could your character grow to be more like Hannah?

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