He loved her… more than every other woman. What she had to give or not give him was of no concern. He knew he wanted to give her everything. And be her everything. It was a pure kind of love. A fragrant kind of love. A zealous kind of love, that pierces the senses like pine and rosemary in mahagony teakwood. His fragrance came from the Lord. In time spent seeking Him night and day. His heart engraved with His words displayed through the love that flowed out of him like a fountain that cascades upward into waterfalls gardening the lavender in Heaven. He was a giver. A worker. A nurturer. A man of honor.
His name is Elkanah. And his bride… her name is Hannah. Like the rhyme and flow of their names adjacent to each other, they fit together perfectly. Because he loves her unconditionally.
Unconditional love manifests from God’s own heart. Imparted to you. Elkanah embodies this unconditional love, and because He leads with this strength Hannah will thrive in this unconditional love too.
We meet Elkanah in 1 Samuel chapter 1, and his loyal relationship with Hannah whom he loves.
“Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim Zophim, of the mountains of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite… This man went up from his city yearly to worship and sacrifice to the Lord of hosts in Shiloh. ” 1 Samuel 1:1,3
be with my spirit
Oh Lord of hosts
I offer You mine
in sacred robes
You made for me to grace
Oh holy One
at the gates
Elkanah travels to Lord’s house faithfully every year at the appointed time, because God’s glory is his foundation. Elkanah seeks the Lord as his top priority, offering worship and sacrifices. He is a noble man, an honorable man, a faithful man, and a God-fearing man who desires to give his best to the Lord.
Men become men from seeking the Lord and absorbing Jesus’ heart to then pour out.
“And those who know Your name put their trust in You, for You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.” Psalm 9:10
Trust in the Lord and God is with you.
This heart of worship for God marks Elkanah as a man of character and teaches his family this character. We will see how his worship and trust in the Lord complements Hannah who also worships and trusts the Lord.
People who love God attract people who love God.
Elkanah’s heart attracts Hannah and keeps Hannah because of his undying affection for her. We know of Elkanah’s overwhelming love and affection for Hannah because of his commitment to her despite what she cannot give to him as a wife. As we keep reading the story, we find out Hannah is unable to have children.
“And he had two wives: the name of one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.” 1 Samuel 1:2
Yet one is loved more than the other…
“And whenever the time came for Elkanah to make an offering, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, although the Lord had closed her womb.” 1 Samuel 1:4-5
Elkanah gave Hannah double what he gave the other wife.
Because He loved her.
Why did he have two wives then?, I asked the Lord… why not just have Hannah if he did not love Peninnah? She was the mother of his children, God said. An honorable man would not divorce his wife in this society especially when he already had a family of children with her. But he didn’t love her like he loved Hannah. And he was not willing to give Hannah up. So he takes two wives. This is a much different cultural norm than what we find today. But the nuance of this situation is very telling.
Elkanah did not need to have Hannah as a wife considering she would not render any ancestral progression for his lineage. But he wanted her to be his wife because he loved her… more than any expectation or cultural norm tried to place on her. Peninnah had given him many sons and daughters. But the Bible makes no mention of Elkanah loving Peninnah, only him loving Hannah. His love was not based on what a woman could give him. It was based on who the woman was. And everything Hannah was… caused him to love her.
This tells us Elkanah is a deep-hearted man, who sees worth in the soul. He finds worth in what rests deeper than than appearances and societal expectations. He does not love his wives according to their production. Otherwise, he would have given Peninnah double considering she had bore him so many kids and had a greater responsibility of taking care of them. But that does not make her more desirable to him.
Elkanah is pure in heart.
He loves for love. Simply love. No other requirements and no additional conditions. Pure love covers it all.
His love is unconditional. Just as God’s love is.
When you love someone unconditionally you foster peace in a relationship. Because this kind of love can only come from a supernatural source above ourselves and that is from God. Thus, it saturates godly peace in it. You create stability in the connection. Unconditional love produces trust, and this trust increases exponentially over time.
You love your own soul when you love others this way. It comes back to you. Without unconditional love, partners doubt the other’s feelings and intentions, their level of commitment and their devotion. Eliminate the doubting… love without boundaries. Unconditional love is your key to a beautiful relationship.
Elkanah is symbol of Christ in 1 Samuel, both through his name and through his love for his Bride.
Elkanah loves His wife, Hannah, deeply. Regardless of what she can give him or not give him. And right now, Hannah cannot give him anything. Her womb is barren. She cannot give Elkanah the sons that would solidify a family heritage. In a patriarchal society based on lineages marked by sons, Elkanah’s love for a barren woman is unconventional. And so beautiful. He proves his love is real for Hannah by His affection for her despite her inability to conceive children. This only reveals Elkanah’s character, and showcases Him as a relentless lover just like the Lord. Selfless and giving. He does not seek to use Hannah for his own gain, He only wants to love her because He loves her. He does not see Hannah as a means to an end. She is not a baby-maker for him. She is not a legacy creator for him. She is just a woman, who only has herself. And that is all Elkanah wants. He loves her… more than the other woman.
Real love is what God desires. Much more than anything you can give to Him.
Hannah’s womb was closed at this point in the story but her heart was not. Her heart and soul was like Elkanah’s. She trusted in God and will go so far as to give everything to Him… we will read about this by the end of the story. But now, she is barren.
The Bible says of Hannah: “The Lord closed her womb…”
It was God who made Hannah barren, not Hannah.
It was not her own doing nor her dna. It was the Lord Himself who saw a healthy, vibrant womb inside of Hannah and decided to close it… and He had a reason. That He might provoke Hannah to understand the meaning of contentment and true worth in who she was as a woman in her own skin.
Your barrenness is not a result of your lack.
It’s a result of God’s desire to make a miracle.
So He shuts doors and purposefully make things impossible so that He can step in and do the impossible, showcasing His supremacy as God. God wants to prepare you and beautify your heart first.
“Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” Matthew 19:26
God loves being a miracle worker.
Do you want a miracle?
Embrace the lack for a season so God can produce the miracle for you.
At this point in the story, Hannah cannot see the future miracle here yet. Hannah struggles with her reality of infertility, wanting to have a baby herself and having to endure pestering from Elkanah’s other wife, Peninnah, for not being able to have a baby.
“And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb. So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, that she provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat.”
1 Samuel 1:6-7
Despite the other wife’s provocation of shame, Hannah kept showing up in the house of the Lord. She knew Elkanah loved her deep down. She needed to remember that truth when the other woman would speak against that truth of love.
Don’t let anybody’s negativity keep you from going into the house of the Lord.
Barrenness was never meant to be Hannah’s destiny.
Love was her destiny.
Love was her daily nourishment.
Hannah had the love of Elkanah’s heart, in a way that Peninnah did not. This is likely the main source for Peninnah’s complaining as she would notice the double portion that was given to Hannah in her childless wing of the house while she was given a single portion.
God blesses whom He wants to bless.
God is the One who blesses you.
Don’t rely on someone else to bless you.
Rely on God Himself to bless you and provide for you.
“And my God will supply all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”
Elkanah did not put his faith in Hannah to produce his legacy.
He put his faith in God.
Thus, his confidence is reliable and steady.
Love is all that Elkanah wants from Hannah… to give her love.
“Then Elkanah her husband said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? And why is your heart grieved? Am I not better to you than ten sons?” 1 Samuel 1:8
I love Elkanah’s confidence…
Elkanah reminds Hannah that their love is strong because of each other, not because of what they can give to each other.
Do you only love someone for what they can give you? That is not love… Love gives. Love sacrifices. Love loves you for your core.
Elkanah loves Hannah because He is confident in His identity in God.
He knows how worthy He is. How attractive he is. How captivating he is. How desirable he is. How meaningful he is. He sees himself as worth even more than 10 sons… which in this society is extremely valuable for the family heritage and benefit of the community. 10 sons, young and able, strong and reliable would solidify a family’s wellbeing for years to come and make it possible to expand the family as these sons marry and have children of their own. Elkanah says… I am better than even all of those hypothetical 10 sons. He has all of that in him, just him. He’s right… with God in you, you are the greatest treasure of all.
You are a diamond in the eyes of God.
See yourself for your true worth. At your core…
You see others’ true worth when you discover your worth in the eyes of God. When you know God loves you just for you, it teaches you how to love others for who they are.
“Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:31
Elkanah knows His worth.
So Elkanah also knows Hannah’s worth.
And he loves her… for her. Because he has experienced what it means to be loved for who He is, by God.
Elkanah is a man who is self-confident as a result of being God-confident and his peace in the Lord is going to bring out the best in Hannah, provoking her to seek the Lord even more.
The best love advice is this: be loved by God and fall in love with Him. That is how you become a zealous lover. That is how you display: Elkanah love.
The name Elkanah in Hebrew means “God is zealous.”
Thus, Elkanah love is zealous love.
Zealous love = unconditional love.
God loves you zealously… faithfully… passionately… because He loves you, and it’s not grounded in what you do for Him. It’s rooted in what He feels for you.
God feels love for you that He will not stop, no matter what you do or don’t do for Him.
Elkanah exemplifies zealous love in the story by how He loves Hannah in her barreness, carrying the legacy of the family on his back and not expecting her to to do that on her own. He loves her without restraints. With full passion and devotion. He loves her without conditions.
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” John 15:12
Zealous love is a loyally faithful love that persists every second and with the same passionate ardor as before. It reflects the sacrificial love of Jesus. It never stops giving. It never stops loving.
Elkanah’s zeal for the Lord challenges Hannah towards zealous love also.
Hannah learns how to Give everything to God because her husband gave everything to her never expecting anything in return. He is a godly example for her and a beneficial spiritual partner.
Elkanah loves Hannah in her barrenness. Now, Hannah is going to learn how to love the Lord in His barrenness towards her, by not giving her the children she wished she had. She is also learning to be content with Elkanah also and not feel pressured by him to conceive, nor shamed for the fact she can’t. She is also learning to love Elkanah equally for not being able to give her children. They both are in this crisis together. Yet right now, only one of them sees that it does not change their love for each other: that is Elkanah. He is the rock of the family. He is the stabilizer in the relationship. He is the one who keeps his heart trusting in the Lord. So this provokes Hannah to also trust in the Lord.
By telling her, “Am I not better than 10 sons?” he gently reminds her that having a baby is not the main foundation of their love. They are. They are the 2 lovers. Without their love being rooted in conditional love where nothing else is needed or expected, they cannot have pure love with each other or with God.
Jesus is enough.
You need His presence in your relationship to thrive on the inside of your heart and soul.
Real love loves you for your core internally, not for what you produce externally.
“I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.” Hosea 6:6
Love beckons you to know the other. It doesn’t beckon an offering, it beckons love. Only love. Showing love. Giving love. Experiencing love.
You need a partner who will remind you that God is enough, and because God is enough, that you are both enough for each other. Just you. In your pure essence. At your core. You need a partner who love you for you. Who will live and lead with a heart of contentment, not a list of expectations places on you. Who will see your worth and value everything God created you to be.
You need a partner who loves God more than everything, and who will love you like God loves you… like the treasure you are.
Elkanah loves God… and because He loves God, He loves Hannah so perfectly in giving affirmation and loving wisdom.
Ladies, don’t settle for anything less than a man who will provoke you to love and trust the Lord all the more.
Elkanah is the one to provoke Hannah into even more purity of heart in who she is as being enough. Enough for him. And enough for God. Hannah does something now…
“So Hannah arose after they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh.”
1 Samuel 1:9
Hannah gets up and goes to pray after hearing what Elkanah says.
His zeal incites her zeal.
His love for her releases the pressure stored up.
Now she can pour out her heart to God honestly, knowing that her husband fully loves her and so does God.
“And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. Then she made a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.”
1 Samuel 1:10-11
God wants to hear the raw anguish in your heart. Ignoring our real emotions severs intimacy with the Lord. Give it to Him… and in doing so, you will find the strength to give Him everything and the peace you longed for rising up in the wake of that sacrifice.
You can only have as close as relationship with someone as much as you share with them what is honest and raw. God wants to get that close to you. Hannah does so as she pours out her heart to God, and she puts all of her trust in Him now. Not in her identity as a suppossed-to-be-a-mother-by-now is gone and her identity as loved-by-God is enough. Now, she vows that even if she does have a baby she will give him up…
Wow, what a progression in a matter of minutes. That is what raw honesty talking to God does for you.
She goes from anguish about not having a baby… to peace in giving up a baby she does not even have, if she does indeed have one. This is a quite a remarkable vow to make, and will be incredibly difficult if it should come to pass… to give up the very baby she had waited on for years. But in this moment, Hannah finds favor from the Lord.
“Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him.” And she said, “Let your maidservant find favor in your sight.” So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.”
1 Samuel 1:18
Hannah was no longer sad from that day forward.
Hannah believed she had favor from the Lord.
Favor from God gives you a radiant face.
Go into the house of the Lord… give everything to the Lord… that is the healing.
You need an encounter from Jesus, in order to be healed deep in your core. Deep in your heart. Hannah could not experience the core healing she needed without God Himself touching that part of her. Elkanah could not go there… only God could. Elkanah could provoke her to seek Him, but in the end she needed God to touch her in a way only He could.
Once Hannah had a touch from God, it blessed her intimacy with her husband and this is when she conceives.
“Then they rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord, and returned and came to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her.“
1 Samuel 1:19
Elkanah makes love to Hannah as soon as they got home. This further shows us she was the one he loved. This passage never makes one mention of Elkanah making love to the other woman. He only makes love to Hannah now. He knew their lovemaking may not give them a child, but he was not doing it for that. He was doing it because he wanted Hannah. Just Hannah. I also see that Hannah believed in what she vowed to the Lord when she said if He gave her a baby that she would give the baby to the Lord. So she had a different expectation this time than the last time her and Elkanah were intimate. She knew God may give them a baby. And if so, she was still willing to give him up to the Lord as she vowed.
Verse 19 says, “the Lord remembered her.”
It takes two to make a baby.
Elkanah love + God’s love = a miracle baby.
You need God in your love-life to experience a pure love life.
Husbands… love your wives with Elkanah love and you bring Heaven to earth.
Heaven’s voice will touches earth through their son, Samuel, birthed for this very purpose of speaking God’s words in the earth and prophesying over leaders and kings.
“And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel had been established as a prophet of the Lord. “
1 Samuel 3:20
Godly love creates ministers for God.
I’m reminded of David and Bathsheba, whom after they went through the tumultuous season following David’s pursuit of her and losing that baby because of the infidelity, they get married and do indeed remain together and were very much in love. In fact, this is the only woman ever mentioned in the Bible where David “made love” to a woman. She was the only one he loved.
Their love creates another miracle baby.
“Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and made love to her. She gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon. The Lord loved him.” 2 Samuel 12:24
“The Lord loved him…” what a powerful statement. They produced the wisest King who ever lived. And this story is written in the very booked named after Samuel, Hannah and Elkanah’s son.
Pure lovemaking creates God’s anointed.
Pure lovemaking between two people who love Jesus and are not trying to make love to reproduce end up producing humans who God anoints. Because there exists a purity in the connection of love present, where each person is not seeking to anything other than love the other.
God blesses that kind of love.
Without-motives kind of love.
Love that honors the Lord.
Don’t pressure your spouse to give you a baby before it’s time… don’t pressure yourself either. God knows when the right time shall come. Let your love for one another deepen your foundation of intimacy and strength in the Lord and trust in Him.
“So it came to pass in the process of time that Hannah conceived and bore a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, “Because I have asked for him from the Lord.”
1 Samuel 1:20
What have you asked for from the Lord?
Are you willing to give it back to the Lord also? Hannah was. She did not ask in order to receive only for her own gain. She asked that it may bless the Lord. Samuel would live his whole life there in the house of the Lord, and go on to be one of the most prolific prophets of the Old Testmanet, ministering to Kings of Israel. All because of one man and woman who decided to make peace with her barrenness and give a gift to the Lord instead.
Bless the Lord, just because He is worthy to be blessed.
Love the Lord… for Him. And find your heart satisfied from the encounter.
When you seek to bless the Lord, the Lord will bless you in return.
“And Hannah prayed and said:
“My heart rejoices in the Lord;
My horn is exalted in the Lord.
I smile at my enemies,
Because I rejoice in Your salvation.
2 “No one is holy like the Lord,
For there is none besides You,
Nor is there any rock like our God.
3 “Talk no more so very proudly;
Let no arrogance come from your mouth,
For the Lord is the God of knowledge;
And by Him actions are weighed…
7 The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
He brings low and lifts up.
8 He raises the poor from the dust
And lifts the beggar from the ash heap,
To set them among princes
And make them inherit the throne of glory…
“He will give strength to His king,
And exalt the horn of His anointed.” 1 Samuel 2:1-10
Hannah sings with joy as she gives her son Samuel to the Lord, and would only be able to see him once a year when she visited Shiloh with Elkanah to worship the Lord there. But her whole heart is happy and joyful about it. She did not even expect anymore children after this.
But the Lord decides to visit Hannah… and something happens after this visitation.
“And the Lord visited Hannah, so that she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile the child Samuel grew before the Lord.”
1 Samuel 2:21
Visitations from Jesus bless your core.
Visitations from Jesus ignite miracles in your core.
The core of who Hannah was is healed and liberated from barrenness from one visitation from Jesus. His presence liberates her. His love is the source of all love that her and Elkanah have put their faith in thus far.
You want the Lord to visit you… that is where the miracle happens.
This verse does not say that Elkanah made love to Hannah. It clearly says that the Lord visited Hannah. This is the same kind of verbage used to describe the virgin birth, which speaks of the Holy Spirit coming upon her in Luke. The Lord personally does something to heal and open Hannah’s womb and cause her to conceive. These are miracles from the hand of God. So from that point on, whenever her and Elkanah would be intimate she was able to bear children.
Barrenness is not your destiny… Miracles are.
This is where you learn what zealous love really means. Unconditional love in one another and with God is a vital foundation that must be conceived and birthed first before anything else can come to fruition. God takes his time with the ones whom he loves and has great plans for. Trust Him along the way and gain spiritual stamina needed for the leadership he is using you for.
God always wanted to bless Hannah.
He just wanted to provoke her heart to the place of radical sacrifice first. So that she would live the rest of her life this way… with radical faith and trust in the Lord to provide for her and remind her she was enough, just her.
He still loves her… the way he did when he first saw her and first chose her. He was not expecting anything from her but he knew what he had in mind for her and him. A million journeys and a thousand stories waiting to be told of their love story unfolding before them. God’s love story unfolds for you… and still is… everyday.
I am enough
and You are enough
in the bright
wake me up
when I need to remember
and God is dreaming
more for us
than I could imagine
my love for you
Your love for me
and I will forever be
in love with You
with zealous love
Experience Elkanah love. Never settle for less.
Trust in the Lord. Love each other. For the person God created them to be in their core and their purest essence.
“So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love.” Ephesians 3:17
If you love Him, remain rooted there in love.
Jesus wants your heart. He doesn’t need you to use other accoutrements. He just wants the basics. Simple. Heart to heart. Soul to soul. Everything stripped away but you and Him.
God loves to love you… He loves to surprise you… He loves to bless you… He loves to show up in the places of your life you think cannot be touched by God, but then He does. He’s still orchestrating more for you… planning more for you… let His presence come and rest with you… His visitations are your highest view of Heaven where His Spirit lands to indwell you with Himself. Your core blessed and elevated to see beyond what the years hold… where eternity begins and angels behold the glory of the Lord. Jesus is coming close to us… let Him come closer to you… and dwell with you where you are.
nothing more is needed
when You’re with me
and I’m brimming
with Your peace
I just want You
and You just want me
so we can be here
come closer to me Lord
and be here forever
“When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.”