Desperate women required (1 Samuel 1)

20130902-002912.jpgI was reading 1 Samuel 1 and it struck me first of all how what is perhaps one of the greatest books in the Bible begins with a woman with difficult family issues and a desperate desire for a child.

God does often use women in very significant ways at key points of redemption history: not least at the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The Bible is very far from being anti-woman.

I do wonder wherever you or I might choose to stand on the complementarian / egalitarian spectrum if we truly give enough credence to the vital roles women can and should play in advancing the Kingdom of God. Perhaps we should learn to expect to see God using women more, even if it may well be in a different way to the men.

God cares for those others despise

This woman was despised by her rival: “you can’t have any children!” She was dismissed by her husband: “pull yourself together woman, surely my love is enough for you” and finally to add insult to injury she was distrusted by the prophet: “you’re drunk!”

It struck me how often that is the experience of women, but also men. Other people can be incredibly cruel and insensitive at times. Us husbands just don’t get it sometimes (see the video Its not about the nail, but understand that sometimes a problem really isn’t so easily solved!).

I wish I could learn to be more empathetic towards my own wife. Sometimes my attempts in that direction are just pathetic. Some of it is a men are from Mars, women are from
Venus thing. Surely this story from 1 Samuel demonstrates that perfectly, since I really doubt the husband was intending to be as unhelpful as he comes across as!

Urgent prayer can look strange sometimes
It’s very interesting to me that she is accused of being drunk because of her urgent prayer and her “under the breath” speech. To me this has always reminded me of Acts when the Spirit falls. I guess tho everyone listening could understand at least one of those speaking, the rest would all have sounded like gibberish. The prophet was very wrong to despise her for her prayer language. I only wish that everyone today had moved on from a similar dismissal of modern tongues. Whatever you think about the true nature of that activity, many millions of your brothers and sisters find it draws them closer to God. Please don’t assume the worst, or mock us. You don’t have to agree with our view, but please appreciate that those of us who pray what appear to be incomprehensible words are surely doing nothing worse than this woman?

Desperate prayer gets Gods attention.

This lady must have been pretty desperate to have been willing to strike a deal with God to give her child back to him. The thing that struck me most and I am embarrassed to admit this is that I do not think I am as desperate or as grateful to God about anything as this woman was.

My own children were given to us so easily. It seemed that every time we wanted to conceive we did. If I could understand more the pain of childlessness and the thankfulness of those who receive a miracle birth perhaps I would have a different attitude about my own five. The truth is that each of them were our own miracles. And we did dedicate them back to The Lord, and meant it. But if The Lord was to call even one of them to his service on a different continent would I joyfully see them off, knowing that every year I’d had them with me was a precious and undeserved gift, or would I pout and complain because secretly I think of them as mine rather than on loan from HIM?

Ironically if you hold other people lightly, God allows them to be more of a blessing to you.

Pray for me. Pray for yourself. That we may both be a little more like this woman.

About Adrian Warnock

Adrian Warnock has been a blogger since April 2003, and part of the leadership team of Jubilee Church, London for more than ten years, serving alongside Tope Koleoso. Together they have written Hope Reborn - How to Become a Christian and Live for Jesus, published by Christian Focus.

Adrian is also the author of Raised With Christ - How The Resurrection Changes Everything, published by Crossway. Read more about Adrian Warnock or connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

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  • jenny

    Talking about women and Bible : I wonder if men are bothered by what is written in the bible such as:

    - women are a “helper” for men; Genesis 2:18 ▻ …is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him….; the word “helper” does not means “equal”, and we can not blame this on the translation

    - women do not talk in the church – 1 Corinthians 14 – “…Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but [they are commanded] to be under obedience, as also saith the law….”

    - women are barren , Luke 1:7 – “…And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren..” …Today we know that 50% of couples are barren because of a male issue.

    It would be nice to know why there is no woman among the authors of the Bible… is it because women were not allowed to learn how to read/write at that time ? Reading /writing was learned mainly, mainly in the church; but as long as women were not allowed to talk in the church at that time and many centuries after…….

    • Doc Savage

      Hello Jenny. If you’ve ever watched Fiddler On The Roof, it is an excellent portrayal of the Jewish woman’s part in early 1900′s Russia. As a Messianic Jew and Pastor, I can recall holidays when all the women got together and prepared the meals for all the Holidays. I loved Gefilte Fish, but did it smell when they were making it. But yes also in Shoul (Synagogue) the men sat on the left side and the women sat on the right side. I miss the 50′s and all the Aunt’s & Uncle’s I had. I miss the reading of the Torah, when the Rabbi, and Cantor would pull their Tallas over their heads and arms extended out, because the Angels came and sat on them during that time. But if you think women played a subservient part, absolutely not. Women then were the pushers to the lazy Husband. Women were the Praisers showing pride towards their husbands. I had 1 Aunt and Uncle that were extremely Orthodox, and followed Rabbinical Law to the max. I was always missing that not having parents that wanted kids. I spent my childhood jumping from family to family. The Love for each other was so strong, regardless of who I was staying with at the time, is why I’ve had 35 years of Marriage I wouldn’t trade 1 day for. My wife is Catholic, so we make a good mix, I’m the Mutt.
      God Bless Jenny,
      N’Christ, Jesus,
      Pastor Marc

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