Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. 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. 1 Samuel 1:9-10
We’re told in 1 Samuel 1 verse 6 that “Because the Lord had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. Then in verse 7 it says, “This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat.
From the two verses above, it is crystal clear that she was a God fearing woman; only a woman who has the fear of God in them will go to His house year after year. However, despite her faithfulness in appearing before the Lord this way, we’re told that He had closed her womb. So her inability to have children was not caused by man, the Lord who knows all things was in control of the situation of her womb. Hannah’s rival Peninah on the other hand, was blessed in the fruit of her womb, and for that reason she kept provoking Hannah each time they went up for the yearly worship. This went on year after year; while Hannah was busy praying to God year in year out for Him to open her womb, Peninah was busy provoking her in order to irritate her. In the verses 9-10 cited above, on one of such occasions after they had finished eating and drinking, Hannah stood up! She had had enough of the insult and abuse from her rival, it was now time to get up from her place of comfort. Perhaps she had been praying about it all this while, but this time around her prayer took a whole different turn. This time, she wept bitterly onto the Lord and poured out her soul to Him. This time she did not only pray, she also made a vow to God.
Peninah must have been jealous of Hannah since she was the most loved one among the two, so maybe her goal was to provoke Hannah so much so that she would give up praying or going to Shiloh altogether. But that did not stop Hannah. Rather, her rival’s behavior towards her moved something inside of her; a righteous indignation welled up on the inside of her, and she STOOD UP and went to the house of the Lord. Only this time she went alone, with no other family member, not even Elkanah her husband.
Just like Hannah, there are times in our lives when we need to have that righteous indignant in our spirits that would make us STAND UP and go to the Lord alone, with no other person. There are times when like Peninah did Hannah, the devil would provoke us in order to get us irritated, but rather than become provoked, we ought to be righteously angry and go to God in deep prayer, pouring out our soul to Him.
Peninah was never mentioned again after Hannah got the victory, her face was hidden in shame. She had thought that her attitude towards Hannah would push her away from going to the house of the Lord, but on the contrary, it propelled Hannah to her desired destiny. Hannah ended up becoming the mother of a son who became the greatest prophet at the time, to Peninah’s shame. Same thing with us today. What the devil thinks would take us far away from God, if we are persistent in prayer and refuse to give up, that situation will rather draw us closer to God, and we shall have our desired breakthrough, just like Hannah.