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1 Sam. 1:1-18 FROM BARRENNESS TO BROKENNESS
Intro: In the 16th Century a man named John Knox was used by the Lord to bring many people to faith in Jesus in Scotland. Those days were hard days for the true church. Bloody Mary was persecuting true believers in the name of the Roman Catholic Church. Many hundreds were burned at the stake for their faith. In the midst of this horror John Knox stood out as a beacon of faith, courage and zeal for the Lord Jesus Christ. At one point, as he prayed in the garden outside his church in Edinburgh, he was heard to pray “Great God, give me Scotland, or I die! His burden was so great for His people that he would rather have died that see them go to Hell.
The passage before us presents a woman with a similar burden. Hannah was not interested in souls; she was interested in babies. Her story has something to say to the church today. We are interested in souls! Like Hannah, the Lord seems to have closed the womb of the church. I want to talk about Hannah, her barrenness, her burden, her brokenness and her blessings. This passage shows us how God can move us from barrenness to blessedness.
I. v. 2, 5-6 HANNAH WAS BARREN
· Hannah had no children. Why? It was not Elkanah – He has children, v. 2. It was not their relationship, v. 5. It was not her health; she was in her childbearing years. Hannah was barren because God, for His Own reasons, had closed her womb, v. 5-6.
· It seems that the Lord has closed the womb of the church. We have everything we need to see souls saved, but no babies are being born. We have preaching, teaching, singing, worship, etc. There seems to be no drawing and convicting power in the church. His convicting power is absolutely necessary if we expect to see souls saved, John 6:44; 65.
· Why? We can only speculate, but I would like to offer a few possibilities. God will not:
1. Send babies into a cold, dead environment.
2. Send babies into an environment where they can be led astray, Matt. 23:15.
3. Send babies into an environment tainted by sin. Ill. Grieve the Spirit – Eph. 4:30)
4. Send babies into an environment where they are not wanted.
· We must never forget that God is sovereign in this matter of salvation, Jonah 2:9. You and I cannot send anyone to Hell either by what we do or by what we do not do. God saves whom He pleases when He pleases and where He pleases. However, we can create an environment in which God is more likely to move. (Ill. Clean, holy, excited, worshiping, loving, close to Him and to one another, etc.)
II. v. 6-8 HANNAH WAS BURDENED
· This was a home enmeshed in trouble. Peninnah mocked Hannah and caused much anger and pain in Hannah’s heart. (Ill. V. 6 provoked her sore and make her to fret both carry the idea of pushing someone to the point of anger. Ill. fret = To thunder; to rage)
· These problems broke Hannah’s heart. She wept and refused to eat. Her “heart was grieved. This phrase has the idea of being angry. Hannah was angry at Peninnah, and perhaps even at the Lord! Hannah was burdened because she was childless. Ill. Peninnah didnt care; Elkanah wasnt really burdened, he had other children. Hannah, however, was heartbroken and it showed!
· This is the kind of burden we need at the house of God for the lost. We meet and pray; we talk about the lost; but there seems to be no deep, heart-rending burden for those perishing in sin. (Ill. Paul’s burden for the Jews – Rom. 9:1-3; 10:1)
· How long has it been since you really carried a burden for some lost soul; since you fasted, prayed and sought the Lord for their salvation? How long has it been since the thought of souls perishing in Hell brought you to your knees and sent you out to tell others about Jesus. We need a burden!
III. v. 9-16 HANNAH WAS BROKEN
· These verses give us clear information that Hannah was broken by her barren condition.
· v. 10 Bitterness of soul This speaks of the pain of a broken heart.
· V. 16 The word complaint refers to trouble. The word grief refers to provocation.
· v. 11 Hannah made a vow to the Lord. She wanted to be a child so bad that she was willing to give the child back to the Lord.
· Hannah was brought to the end of herself. She found herself broken before the Lord. She confessed her inability and cast herself on the Lord ability.
· If we are ever going to see the Lord move in great power in these days, we are going to have to come to a place of brokenness. We are going to have to realize that nothing we can do will ever save a soul. We are going to have to confess our own inability and seek His power.
· We are going to have to do like Hannah and bow before the Lord, trusting His power alone to get the job done. If we are ever going to see souls saved in these barren days, we must humble ourselves before the Lord. We must reach out for His power. We must recognize our own impotence. We must get broken before Him!
· Like Hannah, we must come to the place where we want to see souls saved for the glory of God alone! (Ill. Not for numbers on a report; not for bragging rights; not for our own self reasons, etc.)
· Can you honestly say that you are broken in the presence of the Lord? What I mean by brokenness is simply that we come to a place where we are yielded totally, in body, mind and spirit, under the control of the Holy Spirit, Rom. 12:1-2, Eph. 5:18.
IV. v. 17-23 HANNAH WAS BLESSED
· Ill. The Context – Hannah called on God. He heard her and He gave her a son. (Ill. Hannah’s faith – v. 18. She took the words of Eli to heart and believed God.) Hannah gave her son back to the Lord.
· Every time God opened a closed womb in the Bible, a great character was born. (Ill. Isaac, Joseph, Samson, Samuel, John the Baptist.) Who knows who will be saved in this place if God were to open the womb and save souls here?
· When Edward Kimball witnessed to 17 year old D.L. Moody he could not have known that just that one conversion would lead to millions being born into the family of God. You never know what God will do!
Conc: When the church gets properly burdened and broken before the Lord, He might just open the womb and let us hear the cry of newborn babies.