Saturday, May 29, 2010

Destiny's Irritation by Victoria Boyson

All Hannah wanted was a son, but God wanted a prophet for His people and a friend for Himself.

There was a certain man from Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah...He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none (1 Samuel 1:1-2). And because the Lord had closed her womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her (1 Samuel 1:6).

The story of these two women is not an uncommon one. God often uses irritating people to draw us closer to Him and to push us toward our destiny. God will put people in our lives that have what we want (and are willing to torture us with it) in order that we might seek Him for the fulfillment of the promise He has made to us.

Peninnah became increasingly smug over the fact that she had been given children and Hannah had not. And she used her children as a weapon to grieve Hannah. 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 (1 Samuel 1:7).

Moved to Desperation

God desired to do something great for Hannah, but first He would need to prepare her for it. God used Peninnah's deplorable behavior to provoke Hannah and irritate her. That is right, it is true that God needed to irritate Hannah. He needed to bring Hannah to the point of desperation, so much so that she would be willing to give Samuel to Him (see 1 Samuel 1:11).

Hannah's pain and disgrace must have been great or she never would have prayed such a prayer. Her desire for a child must have been agonizing, and now she had promised to give that child away? She had no guarantee of ever having more than one child at this point, but her mind was made up. The child would be given to the Lord.

To be without children during that time in history was a great humiliation for a woman. Women of this region were considered children, until they had children. Only as a mother would she be given the respect and authority due an adult. As Hannah got older her disgrace became greater, and she could not escape Peninnah's irritating remarks. This went on for years, until Hannah was so desperate to remove her disgrace that she made a promise to God: if He gave her a son, she would give the boy back to Him.

In bitterness of soul, Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord. And she made a vow, saying, "O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon 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."—1 Samuel 1:10-11

A Promise is Born

Hannah, at the very lowest point of her life, prayed her most desperate prayer. She pleaded with God to take away her barrenness and bless her with a son. "Don't forget me!" she cried. She saw everyone around her receiving blessings from God and getting the desires of their hearts, yet she remained barren. She reached the greatest point of misery she had ever known, and laid out her heart before God. Hannah vowed to make the greatest sacrifice any woman could be asked to make. Her sorrow was so great it turned her soul bitter. Out of this bitter sorrow, a promise was born.

Hannah's heart was open before God and her tears were never more sincere. Into this precious scene blundered Eli, but he did not see Hannah for what she truly was. She was a woman after God, but Eli mistook the most sincere and heart wrenching moment of her life for that of drunkenness.

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 will you keep on getting drunk? Get rid of your wine."—1 Samuel 11:13-14

Perhaps, at times, you have had similar experiences to Hannah's. Your heart was outstretched and open before God, but people around you didn't recognize it as anything out of the ordinary or special. To some you may even seem sinful, but they have judged you incorrectly. The very people we think should recognize our potential are the ones that accuse us of being unspiritual or lacking what it takes to fulfill our potential. Not only did Eli miss the importance of what Hannah was going through, but he also completely misinterpreted her actions toward God.

The Avenue of Offense

At this moment Hannah could have walked away offended, but her need was much too great. She was desperate and wanted what only God could give her, no matter what she had to endure to get it. Some of our greatest blessings come to us through the avenue of offense. Hannah could have walked away, humiliated and discouraged, but she did not. She explained herself to Eli. When he realized how greatly he had misjudged her, he felt so badly that he blessed her instead.

"Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of Him."—1 Samuel 1:17

She received a blessing from Eli that she may not have had he not offended her. She received his blessing as being from God and she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast (verse 18). She was confident that God had blessed her through Eli even though he had misjudged her. She may never have received what she needed from God, except that her longsuffering brought her the answer to her heart's cry. Hannah was not only a godly woman, but her son would eventually take Eli's place in the temple and restore to Israel everything that Eli's sons had lost.

A Growing Promise

Hannah had already conceived Samuel in her heart before she ever conceived him physically. The dream of him had already been growing inside her. She was pregnant in the Spirit with the promise of God. No one, not even Eli, could see the transformation taking place in her heart. It was between her and God alone. She had a secret, a hope, and a dream. When she was referred to as "barren" by others seeking to injure her, she clung to the hope of God's enduring faithfulness.

Similarly, when a woman is first pregnant, no one knows she is pregnant except her. No one else can see what is happening inside her. It is her secret. We, too, carry the promises of God secretly inside us. Others can't see anything special in us because God has hidden it from them. They may even misinterpret our desire for God to be something that is sinful or worldly. No matter how spiritual people are, they cannot see what God has hidden from them.

Just like a baby hidden in the womb, so are the promises God has given to us. He speaks to us of our future as if to impregnate us with His will and purpose for our lives.

We want to tell the whole world what God has spoken to us. But the promises that the Lord has given to us should be treasured in our hearts and not shared with others who may not be able to see that which God has hidden from them.

Destiny's Irritation

God desires to do great things for us as well. But, like with Hannah, He must drive us to desperation so great that we are willing to give to Him the very thing we are asking Him for.

God uses people like Peninnah, to irritate us (see 1 Samuel 1:6) and provoke us until we are willing to do whatever it takes to receive our destiny in Him. The closer we are to the fulfillment of our destiny, the greater the irritation becomes, until we give up our claims to our destiny. We give up our dreams in exchange for His will; our ambitions for His plan.

In return, we not only receive what we were hoping for, but more than we have even dreamt of. Hannah not only got the son she desired, but her family line was established, through Samuel, as priests to the Lord forever. In addition to Samuel, she was also blessed with five other children.

God desires to do much more through us than we think is possible, but it must be done His way. Through His mercy, He keeps us from accepting less than all He has for us. All Hannah wanted was a son, but God wanted a prophet for His people and a friend for Himself.

Promise Through the Pain

In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord—1 Samuel 1:10

I have heard people say that God would not do anything to them that would cause them to suffer. They say, "God wants to bless me!" and I say, Yes, God does want to bless us, but some of our greatest blessings come out of our greatest pain. If we do not experience the pain, it is more difficult for us to appreciate the blessings we are given. It did not please God to cause Hannah such misery, but He could see the future and He needed Samuel. The only way He could get the promise to her was through the pain.

God does see your struggle and your pain; He hurts with you and weeps with you. He is begging you not to give up, because He can see your future and it is great! "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope" (Jeremiah 29:11).

The Lord's presence remained with all of Israel through Samuel, because Hannah chose not to give up on the dream she had in her heart. She chose to believe that God loved her and saw her as special even when others did not.

If the Lord has given you a dream or a promise of something so wonderful that others cannot receive it, keep it hidden in your heart as a secret treasure, until the moment of its birth. Some things should be kept between you and the Lord. He is jealous for your heart and wants you to Himself. Do not look for acceptance from anyone but Him; hold onto the God who loves you. His will will be done!

Pray this with me: Dear Father, Keep alive in me all that You have promised me. Cause all the circumstances that I must walk through to turn me toward You, not away from You. Help me to seek You and Your approval, and not the approval of others.

Victoria Boyson
Speaking Life Ministries


  1. I can't understand how I've missed the import of this great story and act of God. Right now, it brings forth the struggle within myself; and the need for acceptance I feel. I can see that I need only to seek Gods approval, and He will bless me with his own plan. Thanks Victoria and Robert Ralph from Texas

  2. In 2006 I was given a gift of a puppy on Mothers Day after the loss of a beloved dog I had for 12 yrs.I had also been going thru alot of other emotional pain. I asked the Holy Spirit to name my new puppy and He gave her the name of REYAH- Hebrew for "close loyal friend".
    Over the course of the last 4 yrs this dog became my shadow, my friend, my comforter. I am single,alone, and now very broken. She became who I cried to, and snuggled up to, for she would never hurt me, only love me, and before I knew it, I looked to her instead of God for comfort.
    She has come down with severe arthritis at only 4 yrs old. I had been lamenting God to heal her for 2 yrs! I couldn't understand WHY God would not heal my best friend...I knew He could!
    The other day a friend told me to ask God what was holding up her healing? I never thought of doing that!In the point of misery for my dog, I laid out my heart before God.I prayed a most desperate prayer, and in His still small voice He said " Marianne you have misplaced affection,I want you to love on me, spend time with me like you do with Reyah! I was so impacted by the revelation, I was severly broken and sobbed before God for a long time that day. I was the reason Reyah wasn't healed! I had put Reyah before God and didn't even realize it! I cannot explain what that did to my heart! Like Hannah, He drove me to the point of desperation so great that I am now willing to give to Him the very thing I am asking Him for.
    I brokenly repented for allowing Reyah to take God's place in my life, and have turned my heart back to Him. I still pray God will heal my "close loyal friend", for "no good thing will He withold" from those who dilegently seek Him. I have put God back as the first love in my life, not Reyah.
    This article has come to me only 1 week since all this has happened. God is confirming His Word to me in this awesome article Destiny's Irritation.
    MB in Eastern NC


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