May 25, 2012 The Cry of the Barren Kathleen Maples In the book of 1 Sam 1, we read about a woman named Hannah. She's living in an age where the the House of God is out of divine order, the ministry is corrupted by those who run it because they operate according to their own human reasoning and carnal desires and those in leadership do not know God at all. Hannah's husband had another wife, Peninnah. Every year, they travel from near Ramah, to Shiloh where at this time the Tabernacle was located. They would go, like everyone else to keep the feast of the Lord, offer sacrifices and worship. They knew God was the Lord, that He was holy, that He had been faithful and good to Israel since the birth of this nation which He himself brought forth from Abraham and Sarah. The people knew they were indebted to God. They knew they had sins to atone for. Consider how He wanted to be among them so badly! What love is hinted at by the requirement for so many sacrifices of animals just so He could remain among His willful, imperfect people! What does it say about priorities when we understand that God is willing to sacrifice the life and blood of hundreds of thousands of animals just to be near the people He created, and even ultimately shed His own Son's blood for the same reason? Humanity, especially in this age, in America, allows human suffering and even death to spare an endangered species of animal, plant or fish while fighting strenuously for the right to abort babies in the womb? Somehow, our priorities have become so twisted. Scripture says what is valued among men is abomination to God, and I'm sure the reverse is true. What God considers valuable is lightly esteemed by much of humanity. How far we have fallen from what we were meant to be. Hannah had some serious problems. In her own home, in her marriage, there were other problems. It's probable she was the first wife because she's named first. Yet, the Lord had shut her womb leaving her barren. So Elkanah had taken a second wife, Peninnah, and she had given him many children. Hannah had been unable to conceive and bear a child. Her heart longed for a new life, for a child. It was a reproach for a woman to be unable to bear children. She had to watch and probably help with the other wife's children while bearing the contempt, scorn and malice of the other woman just as Sarah had endured derision and contempt from Hagar. Scripture says Elkanah loved Hannah. It does not say he loved the second wife. She was taken because Hannah couldn't have children. This was a constant source of pain and humiliation to Hannah. Now it was nearing the time of the yearly sacrifice. Every time they went to Shiloh, it was such an ordeal for Hannah! It was one trip she always dreaded. Provision, clothes, food, all sorts of supplies had to be prepared for the journey. It was about 80 miles south from Ramah to Shiloh. It was the place the people came to present themselves and their offerings to the Lord, via the priesthood. It was hard mentally and emotionally for a sincere Hebrew to present themselves to a holy God, still much worse knowing you were so unholy that you must sacrifice the life of the best of your animals for your sins. It was a bloody business. Even worse, and very confusing was knowing you had to face a corrupt, lecherous and greedy priesthood to do it. Hannah dreaded the journey. Peninnah was always so spiteful. She never missed an opportunity to take jabs at Hannah, never letting her forget she was blessed and favored of the Lord because she had many children while Hannah had none. Her attitude toward Hannah was one of contempt, envy and disdain. She viewed Hannah as defective, inadequate and in trouble with God. Why else would He pass judgment on her and restrain her from bearing children if she had not sinned somehow? Why else would He leave Hannah barren? Peninnah envied Hannah, too. She was no fool. She knew her husband only married her because his precious Hannah couldn't conceive. She knew he didn't love her, he loved Hannah. This was a source of misery to Peninnah so she lashed out at Hannah, blaming her for this pain. 1Sa 1:6-7 And her adversary also provoked her severely to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb. And as year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat. Peninnah provoked Hannah terribly. She said grievous words, full of contempt, derision and arrogant presumption. She raged inwardly against Hannah, wanted to hurt and vex her, because no matter how many children she had, Hannah had something she didn't-her husband's love. Hannah was the one who always received a double portion from their husband. So Peninnah was a constant adversary and rival. She was determined to inflict pain, distress, anguish in Hannah every time she could. Today, God has a people who love truth and want to be spiritually fruitful. They want to bear this new life of Christ and bring glory and honor to the name of the Lord. Yet they are barren, without fruit. Others seem to be blessed with gifts in the ministry, with talent and ability and life. They are producing fruit but it's covered by a religious institution where crowds, routine, rules and traditions of men are the standard and methods of operation are much the same as the world. They have brought their drama teams to act out skits from Bible Stories, they have their dance teams to try to inspire people to worship while many of the songs they sing are self not Christ centered religious songs. They have their puppet shows, gyms, fellowship halls, and there is always activity going on. It's more like a social club than what God intended the church to be. They have an appearance of godliness at times, but they operate under a religious covering, led by human nature so there is no power, no life in it. Nor is there any hint in the Scriptures that this was how He wanted His message presented to the lost and dying of this world. NONE. The remnant, like Hannah, they cry inside, grieved at the impotence and lack of the true glory and presence of God in the House of God-and now the believer is the House of God. They know they themselves aren't where or what they should be yet they see by divine empowerment how wrong things are, how much the church misrepresents God. This grieves their heart and weighs heavily on their mind. They hunger for the reality of God, His life, His Presence, His divine order. Though they are barren, they refuse to join the status quo, despising the apostasy and flesh centered religions of men. This church world looks successful. The religious church separates itself with arrogance from the remnant, viewing them as apostate, rebellious, and sometimes even heretic who take the Bible too seriously. Those who misrepresent the truth appear blessed and successful and are held up as patterns by men craving success and recognition. They are so steeped in religion they don't even realize how wrong they are, but presume to believe they are right. When this mourning remnant goes to the altar to lay herself before the Lord, when she lifts her hands or her heart, she struggles against the accusations of a very malicious adversary. "What's wrong with you? Surely God judges you unworthy! Look at you! You know all that truth and you think you are better than them! Where does all that knowledge get you? You're just as powerless as they are. Where's this life He promised? This power? This holiness? You have to look no further than your own corrupt heart to find sin! Why do you insist on being separate? Look where it gets you! You're powerless, ineffective and barren-at least they are getting somewhere, accomplishing something! They have the fame, the power and money, the world knows who they are. No one knows you at all. You do nothing for God. You are a miserable failure! He's rejected you, His blessing isn't on you. You are worthless and useless to God and you failed Him so give it up!" Oh, how terribly the vultures of hell and dead religion will try to pick apart the sacrifice. Just as Abraham drove them away, so must we, with truth and faith. Surely these taunts of the enemy ring loudly in her ears, in her heart, tearing at the fabric of her being. It would be a warfare to press through all that just to come before God and pour out her heart to Him. Now, Hannah and her family, with all its problems, tensions, and burdens are heading to Shiloh. The taunts of her adversary daily ring in her ears every step of the way, every time Elkanah wasn't around. She endures the stressful presence of her adversary whose intentions are to wound and grieve her. Every word, every taunt is designed to cut deep, wound, scar, weaken and torment her and destroy her faith and spirit. Peninnah is a type of the devil, yes, but consider also how all through the Bible and even now, the devil works to lead God's people astray using religion that operated in the flesh, under the traditions and reasoning of men--even when Christ came among men? Did the devil not seek his own glory and control? This strategy of the enemy becomes very apparent as we read on through 1 Samuel. 1Sa_1:10 says Hannah was in bitterness of soul. She was angry, discontented, heavy with sorrow and emotionally rubbed raw from the constant wounding of the barbs directed at her. Verse 9 says she rose up. In the Hebrew, this word means to abide, to continue, endure, lift up, to rouse up, stand up, strengthen and stir up. This concerns her faith in God. No matter what her situation, no matter how miserable she was, she knew there was only one place to go-to prayer before this Holy and Just God. She had endured so much verbal and mental provocation and abuse by the other wife, she was sick and tired of being sick and tired. She was weary of the reproach. She longed for fulfillment. Who does Hannah turn to? She goes to the Tabernacle with such tortuous emotions raging inside her. What's waiting for her? Eli, an old, fat, and corrupt priest is on the judgment seat watching the religious activity going on around him. He had a prominent seat at the entrance to the outer court of the Tabernacle. In the Hebrew, the word for seats in 1Sa_1:9 means throne, or covered seat (meant to be a visible type of the mercy seat) where God's High Priest was available to the people, to help them with their issues and rule over the people with mercy, justice and truth in righteousness. The judgment seat at the door of the outer court began with Moses. (Exo_18:13- 26) Jesus mentioned the Pharisee's sitting as Judge in Moses' seat or place, in the NT. (Mat_23:2) Recall also, Solomon who sat on his throne making wise decisions when the two women came before him claiming to be the mother of the baby. This judgment seat was occupied by an apostate man. Many of the Bible Dictionaries I consulted for information on Eli, his name, and lineage, describe him as a pious man. I disagree. How can you be devout and fear God and allow your children to profane in the worst ways the holiness of God in and around His house? God said if you love your children, or your land more than Me you are not worthy of Me. Eli, an old man now, whose eyesight was dimming, delegated his priestly duties to his wicked sons, Hophni and Phinehas. They abused the people, extorting unlawfully that which had been set apart for God of the sacrifices, taking it for themselves. There was no fear of God among these sons, and very little regard for God's honor and holiness in Eli, else he would restrain and discipline them for their sins when he could. They defiled the women who had came to be set apart and serve at the door of the Tabernacle. From the time of Moses, there was a large group of women who served. There were women who came to offer service-such as sewing or helping in menial ways. But there was another group who would present themselves to the Lord, and dedicate their lives to His service rather than marriage and children. This was what the "women who served at the Door" was intended for and it was to be voluntary. This is also likely where the inspiration for nuns came from. We can find a reputable example of this in the New Testament concerning Anna. Because of the lack of character in the ministry, surely, there was a lack of character in the women who came to 'serve' at the door of the Tabernacle. That's not to say that some of them were willing and some were unwilling when Eli's sons defiled them. This illustrates how corruption in the ministry can and will beget corruption in the congregation. Those who would set themselves apart for God, these the enemy will always seek to corrupt. The glory of God was departed from this place in reality. The symbol of it, the Ark, was still here but the reality, the weightiness of the glory and Presence of God was gone. God was so misrepresented by the clergy that the people hated and dreaded coming here to offer their sacrifices. They knew Eli's sons would take what was meant for God, as well as take more than they were supposed to take and in resentment many had long ago stopped bringing their best to offer to God. This is why in 1Sa_2:12-25 we read about their abuse and Eli's apathetic response. He warns them by their behavior they cause God's people to transgress. Hannah approaches the Tabernacle with a burdened heart. Her home life is full of tension, strife and conflict. Her heart is heavy, angry, very discontent. She is under heavy oppression of sorrow, provoked by her husband's other wife. She's so grieved and bears reproach over her barrenness. Many interpret it as the sign of disfavor with God. It's likely she stood off to the side, near the entrance or Door, with her head down and covered as she silently poured out her heart privately in this public place. She wasn't trying to draw attention to herself or tell others her problems. But something drew Eli's attention to her, for the Word says "as she continued praying, Eli marked her mouth." He noticed her lips were moving but nothing came out. Her prayer wasn't short, unlike the hurried prayers others offered in their desire to get away from this place. She continued praying, in no hurry to say a lay me down to sleep prayer and get back to her own business. As the conviction, depth of her emptiness and need swelled up and out before the Lord, she was in no hurry to leave. She was crying out to God for a new life in the presence of a corrupt ministry and religious system. She cries out because of her impotence, barrenness, for her ineffectiveness to be removed. Hers was not a selfish prayer for this life she was crying out for was one she freely offered back to God. Without the power, Presence and life of the Holy Spirit, we are also barren, empty, ineffective and powerless. Meditating on that consecration aspect of her prayer, the implication is she is well aware of the need for a righteous and just ministry in the house of God. I don't believe she realized what God would do in her and through Samuel. But her desire was to have a new life, a son she was willing to dedicate to God. She wasn't just coming to God to get something, she was willing to give it back to Him, for His purposes. Irritated by this, totally bind to what was happening here. Eli is watching her carefully. He watched, waited, noticing she didn't leave in a hurry like the others. It's ironic this woman, unbeknownst to her or himself was praying for his replacement. He mistakes her for one of the 'women who serve at the Door of the Tabernacle'. Apparently, it was a common thing for them to be intoxicated, something which he is not pleased with, but helpless to restrain due to his age. When we do not restrain and discipline our children when they are young and tender, as they grow up and mature, they will get out of control, as had Eli's sons. Watching Hannah, he's disturbed enough to publicly rebuke and accuse her of being drunk. "How long will you be drunk? Put away your wine from you!" he says. His own house is corrupt and out of control, his sons pervert the priesthood, defile the women who serve around the Tabernacle, abuse the people who come to offer sacrifices through extortion and intimidation with threats of violence. They don't even know the God they are to represent and here he sits accusing this woman who is pouring out her heart to God. She has a God-given burden and comes to weep and pray before the Lord and he has no clue, no discernment to what is happening. He knows things are wrong at Shiloh, but has made no effort beyond a few words to do anything about it and now it has passed the point where he could have made a difference. His public rebuke of Hannah reveals his frustration, but also his lack of discernment, arrogance and presumption. Who is he to rebuke another with his own house so out of order? He would presume to correct her but not his own sons? Those he had allowed to operate unrestrained in their wickedness until now he couldn't restrain them if he tried surely ruined his credibility in the eyes of the people. She could have turned on him in her distress and lashed out at him with those very valid arguments, but instead Hannah responds to Eli's rash accusation with humility and meekness. He had just greatly insulted her by assuming and trying to identify her as one of the women who served at the Tabernacle Door. They were considered worthless, wicked, vessels devastated and ruined by evil. It was well known that they were having affairs with Eli's sons. There was sexual immorality, infidelity, and because of this they were commonly thought of as 'daughters of Belial', meaning worthless, without profit, ungodly, wicked. She says "No, my lord, I'm a woman with a sorrowful spirit. I haven't been drinking at all, but I have poured out my heart before the Lord. Do not consider me a daughter of Belial. I just had so much to talk to the Lord about, and so much grief so that's why I prayed as I did." Realizing his mistake, his attitude quickly changed. Hannah hadn't responded with outrage at his insult, nor had she said 'mind your own business! Who are you to accuse me?' No, she'd quietly explained herself. She hadn't been disrespectful. And God had heard her prayer. The answer was on the way. In the meantime, Eli's sons went about visiting each camp of the Israelites, as they were preparing to bring an offering to the Lord, as they were preparing the priest's portion, boiling it in a cauldron. They would come and take the best part for themselves, rebelling against the divine commandment which gave them the breast and shoulder of the sacrifice. The fat, meaning the best, most tender part was to be burnt on the brazen altar before the Lord by the priest as a burnt offering of dedication and worship to the Lord. What was left was to be used to feed the worshiper and his family. Eli's sons came and took raw meat that had not been boiled, against God's law, and took their part before God got His. They also took the best part (God's part) for themselves, as well as taking more than their share which deprived the worshiper and their family of needed food. If the people refused they would take it by force. They were hard, brutal, and selfish. Their abuse of the people and their position of power left the people hating to come to Shiloh to make an offering to the Lord. Likewise, today, there are many religious and selfish men and women in the house of God. They talk about God's power but it's not present in their churches and instead of wondering why, seeking God for answers, they lean on their own understanding and strength. Many are ruling over God's people with harshness, abusing their position of authority, concerned only for self, that the people fall in line as they think they should be. Because they preach the Word of God based on their limited human understanding, they preach a dead letter that wounds, discourages and often kills spiritual desire among God's people. Many give up in despair and walk away. Their ministry causes people to view the Word and ways of God through eyes of contempt and suspicion through wounded eyes. It causes people to dread coming to the House of God, only to leave hungry and hurting, abused and confused. They, like the sons of Eli, rule by their customs and traditions of men rather than the true Word of the Lord because they don't know Him. They don't understand Him because only the Holy Spirit can reveal Him to us and through us. They only know God by the precepts (teachings) of other men, so all they know is an inaccurate representation and what fear of the Lord, if any, they espouse to have is taught by men. Yet they think themselves God's anointed and cling tightly to their ways, refusing to consider they may be wrong. Their perception of God, however flawed, is often manifested by how they behave. They think God is like themselves. Isa 29:13 Therefore the Lord said, Since this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: And there is more: Psa 50:16-21 But unto the wicked God says, What have you to do to declare my statutes, or that you should take my covenant in your mouth? Seeing you hate instruction, and cast my words behind you. When you saw a thief, then you consented with him, and have been partaker with adulterers. You give your mouth to evil, and your tongue frames deceit. You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother's son. These things have you done, and I kept silence; you thought that I was altogether such a one as yourself: but I will rebuke you, and set them in order before your eyes. Think this might not apply to the church? To you? To us? Let's examine it a little more deeply and see because these are heartbreaking Scriptures. To the wicked-meaning one is wrong, guilty of sin against God or man, What do you think you're doing? You speak My Word, You talk about My decrees, the boundaries and limits I set in My law, you even celebrate it. You accept My covenant, by your words, but hate the chastisement, the correction and discipline that is part of My Word so you cast that part off. As a result, when you see a thief, you are pleased to accept him, you approve of what he does because you like the smooth flattery of his tongue and have made that your portion with those who are apostate and are guilty of spiritual adultery. You set your mouth free to speak evil, to serve that which is a fraud with guile. You speak against your brother-you sit yourself in the judgment seat and declare his faults! You slander your own mother's son. That word slander comes from a root word that means to push over, to be or make a stumbling block that will cause another to fall. God says you have done all these things, and because I said nothing, you thought I was like you, that I would use such a one as yourself. But I will correct and judge you, I will chasten you, and set things in order before your eyes. That doesn't sound like God's talking to the world. He's speaking to His own people. To those who have a religious mouth and hypocrite's heart-and are blind to that. But even to these, He says consider, understand what you have done, you that forget God-you that cease to care what I think or say, lest I break you into pieces so none can rescue you. It is that one who offers as a sacrifice praise, confessing his sins, being thankful, that glorifies Me. To him who sets his way, his path right will I let experience and see My deliverance and prosperity. So there is an offer of mercy and forgiveness from God for such conduct. To accept this mercy will require a great humbling of self, and admission of guilt. But many will refuse it, so sure they are right, that God is like them. Pride will blind them causing them to presume they understand God when apart from the individual ministry of the Holy Spirit to each one of us, Who alone can reveal God-reveal His nature and way and truth to us, impart His life to us, we cannot know God. This is the result of carnal and religious men in positions of authority in the church. People talk the talk but do not walk the walk and this is the number one reason the world scoffs at Christianity. Some try to live it, but they live a life based on religion, duty and tradition rather than in fellowship and communion with God. They find their entertainment in the same places as the lost. They talk and act like the lost much of the time, occupied with things of the world rather than Christ, rather than taking His yoke, bearing His burden for the lost, being separate, and praying and seeking God. A truly accurate representation of God brings with it, as Paul said one who preaches the Word with the demonstration and power of the Holy Spirit and rely on nothing else but the Holy Spirit and the Word of God to transform people's hearts and lives. Those who don't present to other professing Christians as well as the world, a message of confusion and mixture- they say one thing, but live another. They bear no fruit except corruption and destruction. He's not a God of the dead but the living. Only the Holy Spirit makes alive. But this kind of ministry produces only actors-or hypocrites and is often harsh and abusive of the people under its authority. We must come to know the Lord ourselves through the ministry of the Holy Spirit as we spend time alone with Him in prayer, in the reading and study of His Word. As we show up to learn, He is there to teach and instruct us and we must follow His instruction, trusting Him for the power and understanding to do so. Those with a God-given hunger for reality, who see these things and know things are not what they should be are not well received among the church. If they try to speak out and warn people, they are often met with suspicion, accused of heresy, or rebellion, and warned God will get you if you don't stop this. Who are you to teach me anything? I know the truth. They don't want their routine messed up. They don't want things to change because they are comfortable with the way things are. Many reject the messenger because he or she may not look like they think that person should look. It's heartbreaking, because Jesus said My sheep hear My voice, they know My voice. But to the Pharisees, who called Him a liar, you cannot hear or understand My Word. You are of your father, the devil and his desires, (his longing for power, for recognition and worship, and control) govern your behavior. He that is of God hears and understands My Word but you don't because you're not of God-meaning, their nature, their desires were the same as the devil's, not God's. Still, they believed they served God. They did not like the looks of the Messenger, who came with humility and kindness-something they viewed with contempt as weakness. He didn't dress to suit them, for He didn't dress to draw attention to His physical appearance as they did, nor did He wear fine, rich and expensive clothing or set about making for Himself a reputation. He was not educated in their religious institutions, so they discounted Him as an ignorant Son of a carpenter. Hannah lived at a time of upheaval, both in her home and in her nation. Her country was under divine judgment because of the corruption in the leadership, in the ministry. There were rumors of war because of the activity of the Philistines which had to be stressful. The House of God was so out of order it was more of a system of leaching off and abusing the people of God. Hannah was just a woman, tormented by the presence of another in her marriage. She was grieved at her impotence and inability to have a child. Yet she did not go to her husband for comfort or help. She did not go to Eli for help. She fought the inner discouragement that will inevitably arise when you look around and all you see is perverted and there seems to be no justice. She rose up, stirred up her faith and went and poured out her heart to God at the Door of the Tabernacle. Jesus is the Door. She prayed in the presence of a nearly blind priest who cared more for the extra meat his sons brought in than the honor of God. She didn't come to get something from God for selfish reasons. No, she came seeking something from God that she could and would give back to Him. God heard her. Something happened when she continued praying. She was praying out of a desire God had created within her. It looked impossible all around her to think things could or ever would change. Divine judgment and wrath hung over her nation like a thick storm cloud that was just a few years away from becoming a reality. The House of God had been corrupted and was impotent to do anything to prevent it or safeguard the people. When she left that place that day, her appetite had returned, there was a peace in her heart that could have only come from God, because she didn't look sad anymore. She received her answer after she got home and within a year, Samuel was born. She kept him home until he was weaned and then she brought him to the Tabernacle and presented him to Eli who was reminded God still heard the cry of His people. The priesthood is still corrupt, people were still mistreated by Eli's sons. The rumors of war with and threat of danger from the Philistines were growing more prevalent. It was surely a cloud over their heads that could lead to anxiety and discouragement, fear and depression. She's just brought her precious son to the Tabernacle, to leave him there to be trained by this old priest. Yet her faith is not in the man but in God. Much can be discerned by how she prays after this as she's worshiping the Lord. She says my heart is triumphant, it's jumping for joy because of the Lord, in who He is and what He's done! When she says my horn is exalted, she's saying her vessel as a container of (HIS) strength, oil and light has been broadened, made bigger because of the persecution of her enemies. Had God allowed her to have children with no Peninnah, Hannah wouldn't have been through her Gethsemane. It was the persecution of the enemy that drove her to cry out to God, who could create within her the desire to bear this sanctified life He would give her. She's been filled with this new life that is dedicated to God, consecrated to His purpose and there was a physical result, a manifestation, a demonstration of the power of God that would be seen in this new life. And I will rejoice, be glad in Your deliverance, your saving power, in Your victory! There's no one holy as the Lord! He is a sanctuary for His people. There is none except Him! Neither is there any rock- a strong and mighty refuge for His people! Speak no longer with arrogance and pride, saying grievous and hard things to wound because the Lord is a God who knows what you are doing and He weighs your deeds on His scale and He alone tests their measure to see if they are equal to what His justice demands. The strength of mighty men are broken, dismayed and crushed. Those who falter, who stumble , who fall because they are cast down, and weak, are surrounded with God's force, valor and virtue. They that were satisfied, had all they could ever want have ended up searching for a way to work to earn bread to fill their hunger and those who were hungry have ceased to be for now the barren have been given a new life! They have borne fruit, had many children while she who had many children is sick and weak and feeble and mourns. The Lord kills and revives. He brings down to the grave and raises up. He humbles and brings to ruin, and makes one to grow and increase. He raises up, strengthens and upholds the poor, who mourn in the ashes and dust! He lifts up the beggar, the one who is destitute and in ruins, and raises him up from the rubbish and gives them a seat among those who are generous, willing and noble. He empowers them to make them take possession of their place before His throne of glory, to take possession of their inheritance there. He holds the world in place, and He will guard, protect and preserve the journey and way His saints travel. Those who are wrong, guilty and wicked will be astonished and hold their peace in their darkness and ignorant misery. It is not by human strength that men prevail. Those who hold a controversy with, who complain against or contend with God shall be broken down into fear and confusion. From on high He shall trouble them, He will rule and execute judgment as the Judge of the earth. He will give strength, majesty, praise, boldness, power to His King, and raise high the vessel of His anointed Messiah! God has comforted and educated her about some things and it spills out in her prayer of gratitude and praise. He's given her a song of praise, beauty for her ashes. He has revived her! This is a song of victory! It's an illustration of a church that is beaten down by the constant warfare and accusations of the enemy who always seeks to make her feel worthless and inadequate, beyond help and hope. And this remnant that truly desire to be consecrated to God, to see His name lifted high and honored for who He is, have been made to feel useless in the social gatherings and activity that goes on in much of the church today. So many have come to join that church that have never even met Jesus Christ much less been born again! But that system that seems to reproduce and bear so much fruit will not stand before a holy God. No, He will bring His remnant down to the place of desperation where they are depending only on Him, knowing in their flesh dwells no good thing! He allowed the persecution of Hannah. It's impossible for her to bear or possess this new life unless He gives it. But He is preparing her all the time to receive this new life. He takes her through this valley of suffering and strips out all confidence in self and man's traditions because He's making room for the life He will pour in and through her. The children Peninnah had would live for themselves, ruled by the customs of Israel. But the child God gave Hannah would live for God and know Him, love Him. Hannah had been made to understand these things, so she could rejoice! In her sorrow He was emptying her of herself, her desires and plans and hopes until all that was left was an overwhelming desire to have a life consecrated to God alone. Oh God help us see and be willing to follow You where ever You want to take us!! Let us allow You to empty us of ourselves, part with all that mess that we are to make room for more of YOU! In the midst of a corrupt system You had already pronounced judgment on You still heard the cry for revival that Hannah made-that You would unlock her barren womb and pour new life into it and through it that would be set apart completely for You! Oh please do it again, Lord! And fill us with Your holy love so that You will be able to sweep across souls bound in chains of sin and set them free knowing they will have a place to go where they won't be abused, mistreated and spiritually killed by those who claim to represent You!
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