Each year my bible reading started out in Genesis. I LOVE Genesis. We’re actually preaching through it at The Oaks Community Church this year and it’s been awesome so far.
I’ve written before how many women in the bible struggled with infertility. After discussing Rachel’s barrenness, the emotional struggles and the family dramas that ensues, Genesis 30 says:
“Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb. ”
A similar story takes place in 1 Samuel with Hannah.
2 “He (Elkanah) had two wives. The name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other, Peninnah. And Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children…4 On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. 5 But to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb. 6 And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb. 7 So it went on year by year. As often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat. 9 …Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. 10 She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. 11 And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life….”
12 As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman. 14 And Eli said to her, “How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you.” 15 But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. 16 Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.” 17 Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.” 18 And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.
19 They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord; then they went back to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her. 20 And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, “I have asked for him from the Lord.”
25 Then they… brought the child to Eli. 26 And she said, “Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord.27 For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. 28 Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to theLord.”
And he worshiped the Lord there.”
Some comforting reminders today:
- Hannah felt her infertility deeply. She wept and was so overcome she was only mouthing her prayers. God makes our hearts soft and he knows our sorrows. (Psalms 31:7)
- She prayed bold specific prayers. God loves when his children ask him for what they desire! (Luke 11 & 18)
- ONLY the Lord has power over life and death. He alone can close or open a womb.
- Time and time again, he takes away these women’s reproach, out of his deep love and mercy he remembers them and blesses them with children.
Sweet Lord I pray out of your deep mercy, love and grace you will remember us…