The irony that I heard Hannah is that “her lips were moving but her voice was not heard” (1 Samuel 1:13 NIV). But I definitely heard in my spirit “Hannah” at the end of our church service (5/8/2016). I knew immediately that it meant a glorious breakthrough was imminent in a similar pattern as the story of Hannah played out—she who birthed the great prophet Samuel. As it was testified of Samuel—“Not one of his words fell to the ground” (1 Samuel 3:19)—so I testify of what God is birthing now by the resurrecting testimony of Jesus which is the spirit of prophesy: a prophetic anointing so strong as to make not one word of that true testimony fall to the ground.
At the near time of the glory departing from Israel a barren woman in great anguish of heart prayed so earnestly that she “poured out her soul before the Lord” until she had nothing left to vocalize. That of course was Hannah, whose name means “gratuitous gift.” Peninnah, the other wife of Hannah’s husband Elkanah, whose name means “pearls,” makes for an interesting contrast. Pearls develop in excruciating pain but in beautiful form and luster when an intruder enters into an oyster’s world and IRRITATES ITS MANTLE. “Because the Lord had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival [Peninnah] kept provoking her in order to irritate her. This went on year after year” (1 Samuel 1:6-7 NIV).
Finally “In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, ‘Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life...and the Lord remembered her. So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, ‘Because I asked the Lord for him’” (1 Samuel 1:10-11, 19-20 NIV).
The backdrop of Hannah’s time, besides a near, constant and irritating rivalry inside her home, was a blind and impotent religion, government and society. A famine of the full and true word of God is irritating and provoking many souls to pour themselves out before the Lord until prayer percolates in their hearts and becomes unspeakable to natural ears. As David—who was anointed by Samuel—said, “I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth while in the presence of the wicked. So I remained utterly silent, not even saying anything good. But my anguish increased; my heart grew hot within me. While I meditated, the fire burned; THEN I SPOKE WITH MY TONGUE [emphasis mine]” (Psalm 39:1-3 NIV).
Hannah, year after year, watched her antagonist prosper while anguish and barrenness was all she received. But like as one Samuel is greater than a thousand Sauls and worth the protracted wait and pain, so one word spoken in season and under the anointing is worth more than a thousand words spoken out of turn and without God upholding them.
Not long after Samuel was weened, Hannah fulfilled her vow to the Lord to give him over fully to the Lord. Just as Sarah’s womb had to die before the promised child Isaac (meaning “laughter”) could be miraculously born, so Hannah’s womb only came alive from the dead to birth Samuel (meaning “heard of God”) after she died to herself fully by pouring out her soul to emptiness in straitened prayer. Desperate times require desperate measures, and just as Hannah had to sacrifice her firstborn son in order to have other sons, so we are brought to a sacrificial crises. Many are those who quote Revelation 12:11 as “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony” without finishing the thought that they also “DID NOT LOVE THEIR LIVES SO MUCH AS TO SHRINK FROM DEATH [emphasis mine]” (NIV).