"So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk."
I Samuel 1: 9, King James Version
"When You're Cast Down"
"It is an amazing thing for a soul that believed herself to be advanced in the way of perfection, when she sees herself thus go to pieces all at once."
What event in my life cast me down emotionally or spiritually?
"We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world."
"Why are you cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, my Help and my God."
Psalm 42: 5, Amplified Bible
Have you, like the Psalmist David so painfully describes, ever felt as though you were cast down to the ground? Crushed in spirit and depressed in your heart? In your eyes, life couldn't get much worse?
This is how Hannah felt after days of traveling in a caravan to Shiloh with a husband who could not comprehend why she wasn't eating and was so depressed. And on the other side of her was Peninnah, wife number two, who mocked the fact that Hannah's prayers had gone unanswered.
By arrival time in Shiloh, as this dysfunctional family gathered for their meal, Hannah wouldn't eat a morsel. She was so cast down she could only weep.
However, our text today in I Samuel 1: 9 has two words that would be so easy for us to skip over. They actually appear almost inconsequential -- that is until you find out exactly what they mean. The Bible says Hannah "rose up." If this sounds as though she got up and left the table, you'd be thinking along the lines I was. But this isn't what happened and the reason I know is the insight the Hebrew translation gives us into this phrase and what was going on in the mind of Hannah when she abruptly left the table and went to the tabernacle.
In the Hebrew, the word "rose" is used with a wide variety of meanings. Unbelievably, all of them are appropriate in describing what Hannah was doing.
Here are just several ways the Hebrew translates the word "rose." "To hold. To stabilize. To strengthen. To abide. To endure. To accomplish." Now I want to take these six words and put them together in an attempt to clearly portray what Hannah was doing by "rising up" and going to her Father at Shiloh to pray.
Hannah recognized that her world was falling apart. The ground on which she was standing was shaking. Has this ever happened to you? Unexpectedly you lose your job. Your spouse gets sick. A child is sent to prison. You are diagnosed with breast cancer. Your husband tells you he wants a divorce. And your world, as you know it, starts to fall apart. What makes it even more painful is when those around you make fun of your God. "Where is He now?" they ask. "Why isn't He answering your prayers?"
This is what Hannah faced. And when she did, rather than attacking her attackers, she "rose up" and went to her heavenly Father. She went to Him so she could hold on to Him when she couldn't hold on to anyone else. She went to Him to stabilize her world, not to someone or something earthly. She received her strength for the day from her Father who promised her that He was her, "rock and sure foundation." Hannah chose to abide in her Father's love because she knew it was in His presence where she could endure until the day God had accomplished His purpose in her life.
Hannah's story of great sorrow and disappointed dreams is a lesson to you and me on holding on to our Father who will stabilize and strengthen us. It is a lesson on abiding in our Father's presence and enduring until the day He accomplishes His purpose in your life and mine.
In the 18th century, Joseph Hart, a minister and hymn writer penned the words to a well-known hymn, "Come ye sinners, poor and needy." Prior to his own conversion he had denounced Christianity, but like Hannah, he too found the healing he longed for in the presence of his heavenly Father.
"Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,
Week and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity, love and power.
Come, ye weary, heavy laden
Lost and ruined by the fall;
If you tarry till you're better,
You will never come at all.
I will arise and go to Jesus,
He will embrace me in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Savior,
O there are ten thousand charms."
"Adversity is the diamond dust heaven polishes its jewels with."
"Lord, Hear My Prayer"
A paraphrase of Psalm 102
"Lord, hear my prayer when trouble glooms,
Let sorrow find a way,
And when the day of trouble comes,
Turn not thy face away:
My bones like hearthstones burn away,
My life like vapoury smoke decays.
My heart is smitten like the grass,
That withered lies and dead,
And I, so lost to what I was,
Forget to eat my bread.
My voice is groaning all the day,
My bones prick through this skin of clay.
I hear my enemies reproach,
All silently I mourn;
They on my private peace encroach,
Against me they are sworn.
Ashes as bread my trouble shares,
And mix my food with weeping cares.
Yet not for them is sorrow's toil,
I fear no mortal frowns—
But thou hast held me up awhile
And thou hast cast me down.
My days like shadows waste from view,
I mourn like withered grass in dew.
But thou, Lord, shalt endure for ever,
All generations through;
Thou shalt to Zion be the giver
Of joy and mercy too.
Her very stones are in thy trust,
They servants reverence her dust.
Heathens shall hear and fear thy name,
All kings of earth thy glory know
When thou shalt build up Zion's fame
And live in glory there below.
He'll not despise their prayers, though mute,
But still regard the destitute."
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $10.00.
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