Covenant-Maker or Covenant-Breaker?

old-church-in-Jerusalem-200x300“God, if you give me this one thing…”

Tucked about 20 miles north of Jerusalem in the small village of Shiloh, a heart-broken Hannah sat under the watchful eye of Eli, the priest. The blackness threatened to consume her. Taunting voices tempted her. Am I worth anything without a child? 

The rivalry. The cruel remarks. The misjudgment of others. Hannah was overtaken by the weight of childlessness.

She had sacrificed most everything. Hannah’s husband, Elkanah, loved her greatly but couldn’t understand the depth of her agony. She distanced herself from family activities. She refused to eat. And her social status was a mockery, shamed by her barrenness.

Embittered-in-spirit, Hannah flew straight to God. She poured out her soul like a flask of costly oil. The aroma of Hannah’s sacrifice floated right into the hands of God’s goodness and mercy. Here she was safe.

Safe to vent. Safe to wonder. And safe to strike a deal with God.

“God, if you give me a child—” Hannah stood straight. “I will give him right back to you.”

Hannah knew what she wanted and wasn’t afraid to go after it, no matter the cost. She chased God’s favor. Through the pursuit, God rescued her and she discovered hope (See 1 Samuel 1).

If you give me this God, then I will …

How many of us desperately seek the Lord when we are in trouble? Barter with him. Beg intervention in out-of-control or undesirable situations. Yet we often don’t honor the covenants of desperation. A covenant is binding, bringing two parties to work together. Much like a contract, both people have a part. If we honor our part, there are rewards. If we don’t, consequences.

Hannah doesn’t suggest that God sits like a year-round Santa Claus, ready to dole out whatever we ask. Rather she teaches that we must surrender the very things our soul desires. A pure relationship with God leads us here eventually, anyway—to a place where we learn to look beyond our needs and wants and see only Him.

Oh that I could be more like Hannah, willing to totally surrender to God the very gift He gives me.

Hannah’s desires were fulfilled with the birth of Samuel. And later, she honored her covenant, delivering a toddler Samuel to Eli at the temple. And a formerly infertile Hannah went on to mother three more sons and two daughters. Ah, the sweet aroma of covenantal rewards.

Dare we be like Hannah? Dare we plead for the very thing we want, yet surrender our dreams to God when they finally arrive? The question, while shocking some, deserves consideration. Strengthen us, Lord.


Jo Ann Fore is an author, speaker, and writing coach. She is passionate about making a difference in the lives of other women. Most noted for her authentic vulnerability, Jo Ann captivates her audience with faith-filled messages caramelized with a powerful promise of hope. Find out more about Jo Ann here. 

6 thoughts on “Covenant-Maker or Covenant-Breaker?

  1. I like your question, “Dare we plead for the very thing we want, yet surrender our dreams to God when they finally arrive?” Both Hannah and Abraham demonstrated that sort faith, and in both cases, God honored their faith.

    Thanks for sharing, Jo Ann!

  2. Jo Ann, trust me I would give God all if I knew what to give. The first book of Samuel was the first book in the bible I read completely. I know what it is to pray so hard that my entire body was in pain because I was so sad. I understood Hannah’s pain. If I knew what to give I would have. I’m at that point. If I only knew I would give to God and fight to keep my word to Him.

  3. Thanks for being willing to speak “convenant”, utter “keep commitments” in this enlightened world of anything goes. I like it. There’s safety there. Comfort, even, in being a woman of our word.

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