On top of that, I did a short Bible study on Hannah. As I thought about Hannah's childless status, compared to Peninnah's abundance of children, my thoughts were drawn to that other similar pair: Jacob's wives, the sisters Leah and Rachel.
In both cases, one wife had baby after baby while the other appeared barren. The barren wife conceived after God intervened. The husband loved the barren wife more than the childbearing wife.
All four women had cause to complain. Leah and Peninnah were unloved; Rachel and Hannah couldn't have children.
But how did they react?
- With each child, Leah gave credit to God (The Lord has seen, the Lord has heard, I will praise the Lord.)
- Rachel complained to Jacob ("Give me children or I'll die.")
- Rachel did pray about it (Gen 30:22 [God] listened to [Rachel] and enabled her to conceive.)
- Peninnah provoked Hannah on purpose.
- Hannah poured out her heart to God.
- Rachel stole her father's gods.
- Hannah gave her miracle baby back to God.
Four women, similar problems. The heroine (in my eyes) of the first story, the unloved wife Leah, becames the villainness of the second story (Peninnah). Hannah stands out as a woman who trusted God.
The difference? How they reacted to their circumstances.
If I need encouragement to choose to trust God in spite of what is happening around me--all I need to do is to go back to these two object lessons.
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