Hannah is a daughter of Zion. She is a child of God. Who is a child of God? The gospel according to Saint John, chapter one, verses twelve and thirteen say:
“But as many as received him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
This passage explains to us how to become a child of God. It says that you must believe His name. Jesus is the name referred to in the passage. The first step of becoming a child of God is to believe that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. John 3:15 and 16 say that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. Apostle Peter, a man of God full of the Holy Spirit explained the mystery of being a child of God to the rulers and elders of Israel in Acts of the Apostles, chapter four, verses ten to twelve when he said:
“Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
The scripture says in an assertive manner that it must be known to all people – Israelites and non-Israelites alike that Jesus is the only name we should believe in order to be made whole and be saved. However, it must be borne in mind that it is not enough just to believe. Our earlier passage (John 1:12) in part says that as many as received Jesus, he gave power to become children of God. Those who believe must take further steps to receive the man they believed. They must also believe and receive His doctrines. They must live their daily life by the texts of the scriptures. The above point is very pertinent because faith alone without accompanying work is vain. Some people proclaim that they are believers. In other words, they believe Jesus, yet they have not genuinely received Jesus into their lives. To receive Jesus entails embracing His Word of life and living his pattern of life. The letter of Apostle James to the brethren explicitly explains the above point. He questioned in James 2:19 and 20:
“Are there still some among you who hold that ‘Only believing’ is enough Believing in one God? Well, remember that the demons believe this too – so strong that they tremble in terror!
Fool! When will you ever learn that ‘believing’ is useless without doing what God wants you to? Faith that does not result in good deeds is not real faith.” (Living Bible).
Apostle James went further to illustrate in a pragmatic manner this situation with the case of father Abraham. He expects believers to follow the same pattern, said he in James 2:21-24:
“Don’t you remember that even our father Abraham was declared good (saved and approved) because of what he did when he was willing to obey God, even if it meant offering his son Isaac to die on the altar? You see, he was trusting (believing) God so much that he was willing to do whatever God told him to; his faith was made complete by what he did, by his actions, his good deeds. And so it happened just as the scriptures say, that Abraham trusted God and the Lord declared him good in God’s sight, and he was even called ‘the friend of God’. So you see a man is saved by what he believes.” (Living Bible).
The emphasis is mine.
A child of God is not just a mere believer, not just hearer, but also the doer of the word of God. Apostle James straightened the above fact by calling on brethren to get rid of all that is wrong (sinful) in their inside and outside lives. Says he in James 1:21 and 22:
“Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (New King James Version).
I have seen many ‘Christians’ who would confess that they believe that Jesus is the son of God; that he died and shed his blood for the remission of sin; that he has resurrected and he is now seated at the right hand of God and so on. Yet, they are not true children of God. There are many of these people in the church today.
In some cases, they occupy key positions in strategic ministries. This reminds me of one brother in our university days. He was then an active member of the catholic mission. He was a member of prayer warrior of charismatic ministry. The said brother believes the name of Jesus yet, there was no much difference in his lifestyle and that of unbelievers. He will attend both morning and evening mass, arrange the hall, visit brethren, sing hymns, give his offerings and attend retreats etc. He was only religious and not a convert.
In all these, the said brother did not know that he was far from being a child of God. He will take Holy Communion every morning and seasonally give gifts to men to make up for his sins. Once in a while he goes to the priest and confesses his perceived sins. The Reverend father will normally pray for him and instruct him to recite his rosary for a number of times. In one particular occasion, he mistakenly ate meat (beef) on a Good Friday (that is the Friday before Easter). He felt and believed after this incidence that he cannot make heaven again because he had eaten the blood of Jesus. The best that could happen to him is that if he dies, his soul will proceed to purgatory. Purgatory according to the teaching of the agents of the devil, is a condition or place of spiritual purging of souls departing this life in grace of God but requiring to be cleansed from venial (pardonable and excusable) sins before they ultimately get to heaven. It is a place of temporary suffering or expiation. According to this school of falsehood, when you are in purgatory, you will pay the penalty of your excusable sins, thereafter, you will be pardoned and you proceed to heaven – God’s dwelling place. Don’t ever accept such teaching. It will unmistakably lead someone to eternal doom-hell.
The brother labored under this yoke of a threat of either going to hell or at best going to purgatory for many years before he eventually had an encounter with His Lord and savior – Jesus Christ.
An incidence is typical in Acts of the Apostles, chapter eight as a classic case of “believers” who are not children of God. The Bible here tells us of the story of Simon, the sorcerer. Simon was at the city of Samaria when Evangelist Phillip, full of the Holy Spirit stormed the city with the gospel of Christ. The scripture says he wrought signs and wonders. As a result, many people, including Simon gave heed to his message.
Thus, Simon believed and was water baptized along with other believers. Apostles Peter and John subsequently went to Samaria to visit the brethren. On this occasion, they decided to pray and lay hands on them for the baptism of the Holy Ghost, as they were not yet baptized with the Holy Spirit. When Simon saw that the Holy Spirit was given by laying of hands upon people’s heads, he offered money to buy the power of God saying:
“Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 8:19)
Peter rebuked him for his ungodly behavior. He referred to his action as wickedness and evil thoughts. Peter also got the revelation of the state of Simon’s mind as he said that there was jealousy and sin in his heart. He emphatically said to Simon that his heart is not right in the sight of God and therefore called on him to repent and ask God for forgiveness.
Acts 8:21 to 23 say;
“Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.”
As earlier questioned, who is a child of God? The above passage reveals clearly what it further takes to be a child of God.
A child of God is that Christian whose heart at all times is right in the sight of God. This is a great poser for every Christian.
Simon, although a believer and water baptized was said to be under the bondage of iniquity. This disqualified him from being a child of God. He was numbered in Philip’s team. He saw raw miracles. He shared in the euphoria of what happened in Samaria. Yet, his name was not in the book of life. If he had died at the time in question, those of us on earth will wrongly assume that he is resting in Abraham’s bosom whereas he would have ended in the company of the rich fool in eternal hell.
According to the word of God, we can know for sure by our actions that we are on the side of God, as our conscience is usually without guilt. But if our heart condemns us as a result of our wrongs, we have no confidence in the presence of God. This calls for immediate repentance as children of God.
Activities are not synonymous with being a child of God. Simon was a zealous and active believer, yet, he was laboring under the yoke of sin. A child of God besides believing in the name of Jesus must make conscious efforts to depart from sin and sinful habits. We are called to live a transparent life using the Holy scriptures to mirror our daily activities.
The Bible tells us in first Samuel, chapter one, verse three that Hophni and Phinehas, (the two sons of Eli) were priests in the tabernacle of the Lord of hosts at Shiloh in the time of Elkanah. However, these two priests were subsequently described as morally bankrupt and evil inclined. Their sins were grievous in the sight of the Lord. God Himself accused them of greed and disrespect. First Samuel, chapter two, verse twelve reveals that the supposedly priests were not children of God, but the devil. This buttresses the fact that you can be a believer, a bishop or a senior apostle as the case may be, yet, you may not qualify as a genuine child of God. The name or title one carries does not necessarily make him or her a child of God.
When Simon suddenly realized that he had no part, nor lot in the kingdom of God, he did something about his situation. He listened and accepted what Apostle Peter said to him. He was asked to repent, forsake his sins and pray to God for forgiveness. He never argued or justified his wrongs. Simon answered:
“Pray ye to the Lord for me that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.” (Acts 8:24).
The Lord sent a prophet to tell Eli and his children of their sins. They did nothing about their situation. The Lord for the second time used Samuel to warn Eli and his children of their sins and the dreadful judgment that would come upon them. Yet, they never bothered to repent. 1 Samuel 3:18 says:
“And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him. And he said, It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good.”
When David heard of his sin and the judgment of God, he fell on his face and repented. God had mercy on him and forgave him. Why would any man want to destroy himself when the grace of God abounds? The Bible says that if God holds back His blessings or afflicts His people because of their sin, if they humble themselves and pray and turn from their wicked ways, then He will hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal them. (2 Chronicles 7:13 and 14). In 1 John 1:9, the Bible strengthened the above passage when it says:
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
At the beginning of the chapter, it was stated that Hannah is a child of God. How did the writer come to the conclusion? The scripture says by their fruit we shall know them. Every tree is known by its fruit. So also a child of God will produce the fruit of righteousness. The child of the devil will produce the fruit of iniquity. This is aptly stated in the gospel according to Saint Matthew, chapter seven verses sixteen to twenty three. It says:
“Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
We shall now examine the ‘fruit’ of Hannah.
THE ‘FRUIT’ OF HANNAH.
- Hannah confessed with her mouth that she is not a daughter of Belial.
(1 Samuel 1:16) The New International Version (NIV) of the Holy Bible says that she should not be taken for a wicked woman. The Good News Version says that Hannah looked straight into Eli, the man of God and declared that she is not a worthless woman. That is her testimony. If she lied, the scriptures would have revealed it. Her conscience was void of offence towards God and man. Compare and contrast this with the case of Eli’s children. In 1 Samuel 1:3, they were described as priest of God ministering in Shiloh.
Notwithstanding, their true character was subsequently revealed. 1 Samuel 2:12 says that:
“Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial and they knew not the Lord.”
They were stealing and fornicating in the temple of God. According to scriptures, the sins of the young men were very great before the Lord. They treated the people’s offerings to the Lord with disrespect. Their father became worried. He confirmed that he heard from people of their wicked deeds. Are there no children of God who rob God of their tithes and offerings? Our body according to the scriptures is the temple of God. Are there no Christians who defile their bodies through fornication? What about the ungodly utterances that defiles the body?
Since Hannah is not a daughter of Belial, she invariably is a daughter of the Living God.
- Hannah was a peace lover.
The Bible says:
“Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
Although Peninnah was a strange woman in her family, she made peace with her. The scriptures say that Peninnah was an adversary and often provoked her. She ignored her. Hannah knew that God required her to make every effort to live in peace with all men. Anybody who is not prepared to live in peace with others cannot be said to be a child of God. The Bible says our adversary is the devil. The devil has children and they are known by their ‘fruit’ of trouble. They make trouble at home, in the place of work and in the church like their father, Satan. They accuse brethren every day. Satanic spirit was in Peninnah. The Bible says in Isaiah57:20
“…. the wicked are like the troubled sea when it cannot rest. Whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God to the wicked.”
The unbeliever cannot live in peace with others, because the Prince of Peace is not in him. Hannah, though, often provoked by Peninnah, lived in peace with her.
- Hannah sincerely loved God.
Her conduct points to the fact that God is her Father. She worshipped God. The Bible says that God is a Spirit and He is seeking for those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. She went to Shiloh yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the Lord. In spite of the fact that God was responsible for her delayed child bearing, there was no record that she murmured against Him. The scripture says in all things, we should give thanks to God for that is His will for us. It was the love of God in her heart that enabled her to worship God in her travail.
Most of us find it difficult to worship God when we are going through unpleasant experiences. Here is a woman who in spite of her affliction gave her offering, made a vow and redeemed it. The Bible says:
“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, … (1 Samuel 1:11)
Hannah kept her vow. In verses 27 and 28 of the same chapter, she testified that the Lord having granted her petition she lent the son to the Lord as long as he lives. The Psalmist said in Psalm 15:1 and 4:
“Lord, who shall abide in your tabernacle? He that swears to his own hurt, and change not.”
Only people of integrity redeem their vows. Hannah demonstrated her love for God when she offered her only son back to God.
- She was also a giver.
She sowed in the life of Eli the Priest. No wonder Eli blessed her with her husband. As a result of the blessing of the man of God, the Lord visited Hannah. She conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. The Bible says when you give; it shall be given back unto you, good measure.
- She was a woman of faith and prayer.
She was never moved by her adversary. Her faith was firmed in God’s word which says there shall nothing cast their young, nor be barren. She did not go outside God’s way for solution. The Bible says in 1 Samuel 1:10 that she prayed unto the Lord. In her testimony she said:
“For this child I prayed and the Lords hath given me my petition which I asked of him.” (1 Samuel 1:27).
- She further made a prophetic prayer.
In 1 Samuel 2:1-10 which was laden with revelation of the mercy, power and glory of the Lord. She exalted God when she worshipped God. She said amongst other things that there is none holy as the Lord, neither is there any rock like our God. In verse nine, she said that God will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness, for by strength shall no man prevail. She puts her trust in God, and he enlarged her mouth over her enemies, therefore she rejoiced in God’s salvation.
- She brought up her son Samuel in the way of the Lord.
It takes a child of God to bring up children in the fear of the Lord. Many Christians including Ministers of God have failed to instruct their wards in the way of the Lord.
- Hannah never for a moment forsook the assembly of brethren.
Is there any reason to doubt her credentials as a child of God? Absolutely none!
It is for the above reasons amongst others that her vow was a sweet smelling savor unto God. No wonder her vow opened heaven for her. The Bible says that the sacrifice (offering) of the wicked is an abomination to God. You cannot buy God with your offering. God wants your heart before your offering. No wonder the Bible enjoins us in Matthew chapter six, verse thirty-three to seek the Living God and His righteousness first. First thing first. Hannah did the first thing and God honored her prayer.
Pastor Patrick Mejeidu
Provincial Pastor NAR5, P6.