Statement to his childless wife to console her childlessness: “Am I not more to you than ten sons?”
How about, instead, saying (and meaning), “Are you not more to me than ten sons....?” Much better – but he didn’t say that.
Don’t be misled, though. Elkanah did love Hannah. Every year when he went to Shiloh with his two (yes, two) wives to worship and to sacrifice to the LORD of hosts there he would give presents to both wives – but Hannah always received double the gift that Peninnah (the other one, who had children) received....
Elkanah, like so many of us men, put forward an unreal solution to his wife’s deep need. In fact, his solution disclosed the problem with him instead of the solution for her. He knew - it was clear to him - that he was valuable. She should be well satisfied with him and not long for a child.
All Jersey folk – without exception – have deep human needs. Are Jersey folk being provided with unreal solutions? One “solution” on offer is, rather obviously, the promise of happiness through things. (Shades of Elkanah here again with his “double gift” once a year to his childless wife.)
An aspect of that unreal solution is difficult to write about. It has to do with so very many pictures – in the JEP, on TV, on the internet – of very attractive females. When incorporated into advertisements they are saying, for example, (to the men) “you’ll see me on this holiday so buy it” or (to the women) “you’ll be like me so buy this product.”
These unreal solutions attract because they promise quick results. But speedy pleasure is not the same as truly meeting real human needs.
When Jersey folk begin to think – yes, please think – they realise that promises of speedy pleasure are stony-hearted and false. They keep me “happy”, provide me a “fix”, keep me voting for the “right” people, keep me working hard for the “right” boss. Even the attractive females are there only to get me to “buy” – promising the fulfilment of all my deep human needs in a way that will profit the advertiser. Elkanah lives again to repeat, “Am I not more to you than ten sons?”
Religion is another thing on offer. That, too, is unreal, a promise that is not factual, that is an illusion. “Do this and you will be happy.” “Believe something not true and you’ll fool yourself that your deep needs are met.” “Religion is the opiate of the masses.”
That’s religion. But Jesus Christ of Nazareth is no illusion. His birth, life, teaching, deeds, death and resurrection are facts of history. His key recommendation to those who followed him on the night before he allowed himself to be murdered (so as to be able to forgive all murderers who U-turn to him) was not, “Do this” but, wonderfully, “Take; eat.” Freely have the full benefit of my dying as a sinner in your place and the full benefit of my life, the everlasting life of God within.
And before Jesus came, all that he would be and would do – totally for others - had been placed on factual record in the archives of the nation of Israel in the 2000 years prior to his coming. This man has impacted four thousand years of human history. He is for real.
This man factually gave himself for others. On earth he did only the will of his Father God, whose giving, therefore, is also factual – and meets all deep human need. Effectively Jesus says to Hannah and to all who U-turn to God (as she did), “You are more to me than ten sons.”
Hannah thought her deepest human need would be met if she had a child. Hannah began to be happy – see 1 Samuel 1:18 - when she knew that the God of Israel (the God of Our Lord Jesus Christ) factually heard her cry...