First Samuel chapter one verses ten to twelve say:
“And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore. And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head. And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked her mouth.”
The first and the usual thing Hannah did from the passage above is prayer. I said the usual thing because verses three to eight of this same chapter say Hannah and her family go to Shiloh on yearly basis to pray to God amongst other things. It is good to pray because it is one means of reaching God. As a matter of fact, God ordered Christians to always pray. The Bible says in the book of Luke chapter 18 that in one occasion Jesus told his disciples a story to illustrate the need for persistent prayers and to show them that they should keep praying until the answer comes. We shall come back to the issue of prayer.
The Bible says that this time she introduced a vow in her prayer. This is the unusual element to the yearly routine business in Shiloh. Hitherto, the custom was to pray, worship and give a token offering to God. A serious situation demands a serious approach. Hannah vowed a vow and she called on God on the strength of her vow to look with mercy and compassion her afflictions. She promised that if God will remember her on the strength of her vow, she will give back to God the long awaited son when he comes. This isn’t a light promise. She has spent most of her life time believing God for the fruit of the womb. Most people, Christian or non-Christian won’t want to part with such a child when it finally comes.
Jesus said that the greatest love is that a friend should give his life for another. Hannah vowed to give her ‘man child’ for the service of God and mankind. It was not a common vow. It was a vow of destiny. No wonder, the vow opened heaven on her.
The moment the vow was made, something unusual happened. The Bible says in verse twelve that suddenly, Eli, the priest noticed her mouth moving as she was praying silently. This is another way of saying that her vow commanded divine attention. Without divine attention, the heaven cannot open. Every blessing of God starts with divine attention. Eli was God’s representative on the earth in the days of Hannah. How come that out of the millions of people who gathered in Shiloh, it was only Hannah that was noticed? It was because of her vow.
Look at the conversation that followed from verse fourteen. God said through Eli, “you are never serious”. Hannah in verse fifteen responded “no my Lord, no unserious person will make this kind of vow” she went on to affirm that she is not a daughter of the devil but God. Then Eli said:
“Go in peace and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of Him.”
From this moment her story changed. She was favored and left Shiloh reassured. She was no longer the woman with a sad countenance. The Bible says, she regained her appetite. God remembered her. She conceived and bore a man child in fulfillment of her petition. In critical time and in long standing problems, prayers should be made with a vow or a gift. In Psalm 50:5, 6, 14 and 15 the Bible says:
Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice. And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge Himself… pay thy vows unto the most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.”
Vows are powerful sacrifices in the sight of God. Vows that are redeemed answer for you in the day of trouble. When Jonah was in the belly of the fish, he prayed and confessed that he will surely fulfill his vow. Said he:
“But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.” (Jonah 2:9)
God responded immediately to his prayer and delivered him from the belly of the fish. Jonah 2:10 says:
“And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.”
It is interesting to note that the fish did not vomit Johan into the water. Whatsoever God does is perfect. Strengthen your prayer with a powerful vow like Hannah did, and it will open the heavens for you. As soon as their baby was weaned, she took it to the tabernacle of God in Shiloh. The baby was finally left with Eli the priest in fulfillment of her vow. Said she,
“For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD.” 1 Samuel 1:27 and 28.
It was revealed in chapter two of first Samuel that Eli again blessed Elkanah and his wife. This was because of her faithfulness in redeeming her vow. The result of this blessing was an open heaven upon her. The Bible says that God visited Hannah and she bare three sons and two daughters.
“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 they went unto their own home. And the LORD visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the LORD.” (1 Samuel 2:20-21)
The Bible says in Proverb twenty-eight and in verse twenty that a faithful man will flourish in God’s blessings.
Hannah asked on the strength of her vow a male child. Her prayer was granted. As she redeemed her vow, the faithful God gave her both male and female children. She ended up having five additional children. Her quiver became full. It was her vow that opened heaven for her. It cured her barrenness and made her a mother of many. The Bible says that children are a gift from God. They are God’s reward to families. Happy is the man and woman who have their quiver full of them. Such family shall not be ashamed. They shall have the help they needed when arguing with their enemies.
Hannah’s vow opened heaven for her. The promise of God which says none shall be barren was fulfilled. She became a mother of many, a happy and a fulfilled woman in the Lord.
May God honor your vow. May He deliver you from all your adversaries and afflictions as you vow a vow that will eternally affect your destiny in Jesus name. Amen.
Pastor Patrick Mejeidu
Provincial Pastor NAR5, P6.