27 March 2022: A mother tested and rewarded

Bethel Baptist Church
Worship Service @ Home
27 March 2022

Service available on Youtube, or as text (below), or for audio see the Podcasts page.


Let us continue to pray for an end to the war in Ukraine. Let’s pray for the Lord’s blessing on all mothers!



Please read: 1 Samuel 1:1-28

I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.

1 Sam. 1:16

Today we are celebrating ‘Mothering Sunday’ which will bring to the surface a whole range of emotions in various people from celebration, appreciation, to mourning and pain. In this remarkable story of Hannah, whose name means favour or grace, and for sure she needed both in the impossible situation she finds herself in. It was enough for her to be barren, a terrible stigma attached to barren women in those days and amongst her people. To make matters worse we read twice in two verses (1 Sam 1:5-6) that the Lord had closed her womb. That must be very difficult to deal with. If that wasn’t enough we read that probably according to the culture of the day Elkanah had taken another wife, Peninnah, and she had provided him with the necessary children.

Things would have been a lot easier for Hannah if Peninnah had been gracious and showed her love and favour, empathising with her and even offering Hannah the responsibility of bringing up a couple of her children. But we don’t see any of that rather what do we read:

Because the Lord had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her.

1 Sam 1:6

One thinks of an oyster and the pearl it produces as a result of an irritant within. If this was just for a short time maybe Hannah could bear it but we also read about Peninnah’s provocation of Hannah:

This went on year after year.

1 Sam 1:7a

Interestingly, it seemed to get worse when Hannah went up to Shiloh to worship the Lord,

Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat.

1 Sam 1:7b

If we make a list of all that Hannah went through in these years in addition to the above, she had a very depressing time of it:

a) A husband who didn’t understand her,

Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”

1 Sam 1:8

b)  A priest who didn’t understand her,

Now Eli the priest was sitting on his chair by the doorpost of the Lord’s house. In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”

As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.” “Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”

1 Sam 1:9-16

All this pain that Hannah went through though amounted one remarkable answer to prayer in the birth of Samuel who went on to be a deeply devout and godly man, a prophet and priest used by God to bring the nation back to Himself, and anoint the right future king in the line of Messiah. Such power and effect do a mother’s prayers generate, Amen!

Quote of the week

“You have omitted to mention the greatest of my teachers – my mother”

Winston Churchill, on being asked to check a list of those who had taught him.

Verse of the week

Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her … a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

from Proverbs 31:28-31

Let’s Pray

Gracious loving heavenly Father, we thank you for all mothers and pray that they might know your grace and favour upon them; in and through Jesus Christ fill them with Your Holy Spirit, Amen!