Barren to Bearin'
(1 Samuel 2:30) Wherefore the LORD God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the LORD saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed. This second chapter sets forth an amazing juxtaposition: a faithful mother who lent unto the LORD (1SAM 1:27-28) against a less-than-faithful father whose sons stole from the LORD (1SAM 2:12-17) and who honoured his sons above the LORD (v.29). True to her vow that she would dedicate her child to God's service (1SAM 1:11), Hannah deferred not to pay (ECC 5:4-5) and so honoured God. God had (per our text) in kind honoured her. The once barren woman was made a joyful mother of not just a child, but of children (PSA 113:9). God had turned the tables on Hannah's oppressor, "...so that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble" (v.5). No investments ever pay off like investing in God. That which is lent to, given unto or given up for the LORD He shall surely repay with interest (LUK 18:29-30). Hannah and Elkanah willingly surrendered their son to the LORD and the LORD rendered unto them manifold return: "And Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife, and said, The LORD give thee seed of this woman for the loan which is lent to the LORD...And the LORD visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters" (vs.20-21). She had said, "...the barren hath born seven..." (v.5), yet the natural sum of rest of her brood was five. But if Elkanah was better to her than ten sons (1SAM 1:8), Samuel was worth at least two, for he would be a very special son: a Nazarite (1SAM 1:11), a priest, a prophet and a judge in Israel (1SAM 7:15 c/w ACT 13:20). Hannah had good reason to rejoice in the LORD (v.1) and the children of the promise may glean a lesson from her. When the world is infatuated with the Jerusalem which now is and is in bondage with her children after the flesh, and true Christian faith seems to be as numerically outnumbered and insignificant as Noah and his seven (1PE 3:20), the Holy Spirit directs us to remember that "...Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all." Therefore, "...Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not: break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband" (GAL 4:25-27). Jesus Christ, Whose royal lineage Samuel first anointed, has promised, "...I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee" (REV 3:9). "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give YOU the kingdom" (LUK 12:32).