She made a vow and said, "O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head."1 Samuel 1:11(NASB)
There are many beautiful instances in the Bible where barren women are blessed with a child. Our thoughts immediately turn to Sarah, the wife of Abraham, through whom the promised Seed was to be born, and to Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, who was born to be the voice, crying in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord Jesus.
We also recall Rebekah and Rachel, through whom was to be born the promised Messiah of Israel, and in the book of Psalms we read that God makes the barren woman abide in the house, as a joyful mother of children.
Perhaps the woman who touches our heart most powerfully is Hannah. Her heartfelt tears of longing, and passionate prayers to the Lord for a child, must reverberate through the soul of every woman who has longed for a baby, yet has been denied the joy of conceiving.
Hannah was deeply loved by her husband, Elkanah, but had to endure the mocking taunts of her prolonged barrenness, from his second wife. Year after year she would travel to the house of God in Jerusalem, to plead her case before the Lord.
No wonder after so many years of disappointment she made a vow to the Lord: O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head.
God is not bound to answer our prayers the way we desire, nor to fit in with our preferred timing. He is not obliged to respond to the crazy vows, positive declaration or affirmative oaths that are promoted by Word of Faith teachers, and those that promote the prosperity gospel. Vows are strongly discouraged in Scripture, and the story of Jephthah illustrates the foolishness of making vows to the Lord, which is why we are discouraged from making oaths – for none of us know whether or not we will be able to fulfill them.
However, God in His grace did listen to Hannah, and granted her request, and she brought forth a beautiful son called Samuel – whom she gave back to the Lord. Samuel means, “God has heard” and this precious babe, grew up to become one of Israel’s most well-loved and powerful prophets of God. Hannah was blessed by the Lord, and was permitted to fulfill the vow that she made to God.
Many consider that Hannah’s beautiful prayer of praise and thanksgiving, influenced the song of Mary, whose supernatural conception, centuries later, would bring forth the Messiah of Israel: My heart exults in the Lord. My horn is exalted in God, was Hannah’s exultant prayer of praise and thanksgiving, My mouth speaks boldly against my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation… The bows of the mighty are shattered, but the feeble gird on strength… The LORD will judge the ends of the earth. He will give strength to His King, and will exalt the horn of His Anointed.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the lovely story of Hannah, the maidservant of the Lord, whose prayer for a son was so graciously answered. You are a God who still answers the prayers and petitions of the humble, and today, we lift up those women, who long for a child to bless their lives, but who have remained barren. We believe that Your power to hear and answer our pleadings, is the same yesterday, today and for ever. And so we pray that You would hear and answer the desires of those, who today are crying out to You for a child. This we ask in Jesus name, AMEN.