Covenant-Maker or Covenant-Breaker?

March 10, 2019 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Jo Ann Fore –

“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 a certified Life Coach, Author, and Workshop Leader. She teaches women how to use expressive writing and biblical truth to reconcile emotionally painful experiences with God’s purpose for their lives. Contact Jo Ann at Visit her website at and join her Facebook community of soul-wounded women who are learning to write where it hurts at

About JoAnn Fore

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One Response to “Covenant-Maker or Covenant-Breaker?”
  1. Karen King says:

    This article touches my soul deeply on many levels, Jo Ann. In the past, I have tried to barter with God for something my soul wanted desperately. But I never said, “God if you will only give me this, I will give the exact thing I’m asking for back to you.” I have often wondered if Hannah truly realized the pain that would be involved in giving back the one thing that she wanted and prayed for. Or maybe she thought God would see her obedience and tell her to take Samuel back home because of it. She could absolutely not have known that God would bless her with other children. How her heart must have ached as she left Samuel, but a woman with that kind of obedience surely must have praised God and pleased him as she honored His answer to her prayers.
    I, too, want to be like Hannah especially in the area of exchanging my dreams for his will for my life. And I see you doing that in your life, sweet friend. A moving reminder of what true covenant is! Thank you.

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