“Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father.” (Galatians 4:1-2 NKJV).
Elkanah had two wives; the name of one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Although Hannah was greatly loved by her husband, yet she had no child because the LORD had closed her womb.
But, Peninnah had children and always provoked Hannah severely to irritate her and to make her miserable. Consequently, Hannah became a woman of a sorrowful spirit, full of complaint and grief (1 Sam. 1:15-16).
Hannah remained a miserable and sorrowful woman for many years, praying and complaining but God would not open her womb that she might have children.
It was not that God was wicked or insensitive to the plight of Hannah, but God was waiting for the time when Hannah would be well matured to receive the special son He wanted to give her.
Until God saw that Hannah had grown up and developed in godly character; God did not release Samuel to her. As long as Hannah was reacting in a negative way to Peninnah’s provocation, taunt and mockery, she was not yet mature in God’s sight to receive or handle her blessing.
God would not open Hannah’s womb until she stopped being a miserable and sorrowful woman. But, when Hannah rose up with a resolution to rejoice in the LORD regardless of Peninnah’s provocation, the LORD remembered her and opened her womb.
The Scriptures records in 1 Samuel 1:
17 Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him.”
18 And she said, “Let your maidservant find favor in your sight.” So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.
19 Then they rose early in the morning and worshiped before the LORD, and returned and came to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the LORD remembered her.
20 So it came to pass in the process of time that Hannah conceived and bore a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, “Because I have asked for him from the LORD.” (NKJV).
Moreover, God had to wait patiently for Hannah to grow up to a point when she was willing to let go of her hand the blessing she had been desperately seeking for. While Hannah was desperately seeking for a child, God was also diligently seeking for a new priest and prophet that would replace Eli before Him.
God had foreordained Samuel to be a substitute for Eli and also to be born through Hannah. However, God would not open Hannah’s womb to conceive Samuel until God was certain that Hannah would be willing to release Samuel for His purpose, service and glory.
As long as Hannah wanted Samuel only for herself, she was immature to have Samuel. But, when Hannah grew up to a state of maturity where she wanted Samuel only for God’s purpose, pleasure, service and glory, her womb became opened and she had the child she had prayed and waited many years to have.
What a great lesson for us today!
Your spiritual maturity is one of the major factors that determine when God will manifest His power and glory in your life and situation.
God desires above anything else to see you grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. God wants you to develop godly character.
The Scripture clearly reveals that God’s ultimate desire and purpose for His children is to grow up into Christ in all things, to become fully conformed to the image of His First Beloved Son, Christ Jesus.
Paul aptly states this truth in Ephesians 4:
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. (NKJV).
Also in Romans 8:
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. (NKJV).
As it was in the case of Hannah, God will wait patiently for you to know, recognize, understand His purpose and grow up or mature to freely, promptly and cheerfully give back to Him whatever He has given you for the accomplishment of His purpose.
In His love for you, God will hold back what you are seeking for until when you have discovered and understood His purpose and you are mature to use what He gives you for His purpose, and not just for your selfish pleasure, satisfaction and ambition.
God sometimes holds back what you are passionately seeking for because He loves you and knows you are not yet mature to handle it without letting it affect your life or your relationship with God and others negatively.
Beloved, the truth is that there are many things you are desperate to have now that you are not yet mature to handle. Although you may not be happy with it, yet out of His love for you, God will not let you have them now.
God is much more interested in developing your character than making you happy!
Like Hannah, are you bitter, sorrowful, miserable, or envious of other people’s blessings?
You need to deal with that!
You need to learn how to rejoice and stay calmed even in the face of provocation!
Until Hannah changed her attitude, response or reaction to Peninnah’s provocation, she never got the child she was passionately seeking to have.
Are you still greedy, stingy and selfish?
You must seek to overcome your greediness, stinginess and selfishness!
God will not release into your hands anything that He will have to wrest or forcefully take out of your hands for others!
Whatever you cannot cheerfully and promptly release for God’s pleasure, purpose, service or glory whenever God demands for it is what you are not yet mature to handle or manage for God.
Therefore, above anything else you are seeking for in life, give much attention to your spiritual growth and godly character development, and you will be amazed at what God will commit or entrust into your hands.
Friend, the more you mature or grow up in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, the more you will know, understand, enjoy, experience and appropriate your inheritance, rights and privileges in and through Christ Jesus.
Prayer: My Dear Holy Spirit, teach and help me daily to grow in the grace and knowledge of my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and to be increasingly transformed into His image and likeness in every sphere of my life, in Jesus’ name. Amen.