Time Out of Mind-God is Near the Broken-Hearted

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

1 Samuel 1:7 (NIV)
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 (MSG)
This went on year after year. Every time she went to the sanctuary of God she could expect to be taunted. Hannah was reduced to tears and had no appetite.
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“So it happened year after year, whenever she went up to the house of the Lord, Peninnah provoked her; so she wept and would not eat.” -AMPLIFIED

First Samuel begins with the introduction of a man; his name was Elkanah. Elkanah had two wives Peninnah and Hannah. Peninnah had children and Hannah did not. That statement alone, in that period of time, would have been self-explanatory. Women were expected to reproduce and when they were unable to it was thought that they were cursed of God. Hannah was devastated because she was childless. To top it off Peninnah was a mean-spirited woman and a bully who taunted Hannah because she had no children.

We are told that every year Elkanah faithfully took his family up to Shiloh to worship God. This is an important fact that we need to understand; for much of the rest of Israel was, at this point in time, in a state of chaos. Remember, this would have taken place during the time of the judges; for Samuel was the last of the judges. We must remember that at this time too people had generally turned away from God and the state of the nation of Israel was in disorder. The children of God were far from where they needed to be with Him. The book of Judges ends with these words, “During that period, there was no king in Israel, and everyone did what seemed right to them.” -Judges 21:25 (VOICE)

It is significant that Elkanah faithfully took his family up to the Tabernacle to worship Jehovah. “Every year this man went from his hometown up to Shiloh to worship and offer a sacrifice to God-of-the-Angel-Armies. Eli and his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, served as the priests of God there. ” -1 Samuel 1:3 (MSG)

We find that Elkanah was a man who included his whole family in his worship of Jehovah, God Most High. He took seriously the directions of the Lord when He said, “Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” -Deuteronomy 11:19 (NIV)

Scripture also gives us this little bit of information, “When the day came that Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions [of the sacrificial meat] to Peninnah his wife and all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he would give a double portion, because he loved Hannah, but the Lord had given her no children. Hannah’s rival provoked her bitterly, to irritate and embarrass her, because the Lord had left her childless.” -1 Samuel 4-6 (AMP)(Their story is reminiscence of Leah and Rachel.)

Year after year Elkanah and his family would travel up to Shiloh to worship God. And year after year Hannah suffered, not only over her state of childlessness, but also because of the constant harassment of Peninnah.

Time out of mind is a phrase that conveys the meaning that this had been going on longer than Hannah could remember. She had suffered in quiet humiliation and her spirit was broken. Elkanah tried to comfort her as best he could, “Why are you crying and not eating? Why are you so sad, Hannah? Don’t I love you more than any 10 sons could?” -1 Samuel 1:8 (VOICE)Nothing, though, was soothing the hurt that she felt in her heart. She was a woman of sorrow and acquainted with grief.

God’s love reaches out to the broken-hearted. Scripture points this fact out time and time again:

* “When someone is hurting or brokenhearted, the Eternal moves in close and revives him in his pain.” -Psalm 34:18 (VOICE)

* “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds [healing their pain and comforting their sorrow].” -Psalm 147:3 (AMP)

* “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the rock and strength of my heart and my portion forever.” -Psalm 73:26 (AMP)

* “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be death; there will no longer be sorrow and anguish, or crying, or pain; for the former order of things has passed away.” -Revelation 21:4 (AMP)

God is near the broken-hearted. If you are experiencing hurt and pain today, press in close to your Heavenly Father and let Him heal your broken heart.

My Prayer:
Lord, I can understand Hannah’s broken heart; for I have experienced it too. You promised that you could heal my broken heart; so here it is. I come to you with all my hurt, pain and brokenness and ask that you to be my Strength, Portion and Healer; as only you can. Take the sorrow, pain, anguish and crying and fill me with your peace, love and joy. Thank you.

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