Dealing with Insecurity

There are many things in our culture that can cause us to feel insecure about our lives and futures. Insecurity can lead to, among other things, an unhealthy preoccupation with how we perceive ourselves and how we think others perceive us. In addition to negative feelings and emotions, insecurity can also produce ungodly attitudes which can lead to destructive behaviors.

Insecurity often comes from believing that we are not measuring up to the expectations and standards of the culture and society that we live in.

Both men and women can struggle with feelings of insecurity. A mom or a wife can contribute to a man's need to feel significant. A father or a husband can contribute to a woman's need to feel secure. Studies have shown that a woman is less likely to live a sexually promiscuous lifestyle if while growing up she experienced the security and acceptance of a loving and caring father. (Ephesians 5:31-33)

But what I want us to see from our text, 1 Samuel 1:9-16, is that although others can contribute to our feelings of significance and security, only a right view of God and a relationship with Him through Christ will meet the deepest needs of our hearts. Hannah, according to the culture that she lived in and the circumstances of her life, had many reasons to feel insecure. But Hannah was able to rise above the culture and circumstances to find a rock solid security in God. How did Hannah resist succumbing to the devastating effects of insecurity?

She poured out her soul to God.
In her distress, Hannah poured out her soul to God. After Elkanah had gone up to Shiloh to sacrifice unto the Lord with his family, the bible says concerning Hannah: "She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly." (V10)

As she continued praying in such deep distress, Eli the priest, who was nearby, accused her of being drunk. And in verses 15-16 we read:

"But Hannah answered, "No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation."

What was causing Hannah such distress? We know from our text that Hannah was childless. And because of societal expectations, and her own desires to have a child, she no doubt struggled with insecurity and feelings of being less than a woman. In addition, her husband had married another woman. Multiple wives was not something that was sanctioned by God, but at the time it was culturally acceptable. And if this was not bad enough, the other woman, Penninah, who had bore many children, was rubbing it in the face of Hannah: "And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb."

With all the distress that she was under, Hannah didn't turn to food or wine to self medicate herself. Instead, she poured out her soul to God. I have no doubt that most of us pray. But when was the last time we cried out to God from the depths of our souls with fervency and tears?

Apparently, Eli didn't know anything about pouring out ones soul to the Lord. He mistook her for being drunk. How could he be so spiritually insensitive? Eli lived during a time of great moral decline and decadence. This era is known as the dark ages in Israel's history when, as the bible describes it, "every man did that which was right in their own eyes."

Eli's two sons, who served in the temple, where immoral men who not only committed sexually immoral acts in the temple, but were also taking advantage of the people when they came to offer sacrifices to the Lord. Eli, who was a glutton, did not discipline his sons for their corruption, but apparently benefitted from it. The children of Israel, including their so called spiritual leaders, where so spiritually shallow, self-absorbed, and self-satisfied that they couldn't even discern when a godly woman was pouring her heart out to God in prayer.

Again, Eli mistook her for being publicly intoxicated. Was it that unusual in Eli's day for someone to seek God with such desperation? What about in our day? When was the last time you witnessed someone desperately crying out to God in tears because of a great need in their lives or in the world? Effectual and fervent prayer is born out of a great sense of need. Effectual prayer, the pouring out of one's soul unto God, "isn't born out of an 'I should pray today' attitude, but instead, out of an, 'I must have God's help' frame of mind." -Jim Cymbala

In view of the unsettling and dark times that we live, why aren't we weeping? Why are Hannah-like prayers so uncommon today considering how desperate the spiritual needs are in our lives and in our world? Because like in her day, people today are too self-absorbed and too self-satisfied to weep and pour out their souls unto God.

"Self satisfied believers cannot, by definition, experience the true spirit of prayer." Jim Cymbala

O, but when like Hannah, we recognize our desperate need and bring it before for the throne of grace, God not only intervenes, he can go far beyond what we ask and imagine. Hannah not only had a son, but that son became one of the great spiritual leaders of Israel during a dark time in their history.  

She gave back to God the very thing she desired most in her life.
Hannah did not succumb to the devastating effects of insecurity because she not only poured out her soul to God for a son, but she dedicated her son to the service of the Lord before he was even born. She gave back to God the very thing she desired most in her life.

"O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head." 1 Samuel 1:11

It may appear that Hannah was simply negotiating with God for her own benefit, but this is not the case. Hannah, didn't pray: "Lord, if you give me a son, I will continue to come to the temple and do a service project for the temple every year as long as I live.”

Hannah promised to give back to God in total consecration the very son that she was praying for. Hannah didn't just want to be a mother, she wanted to glorify the name of the Lord. And Hannah wasn't just giving lip service when she promised to consecrate her son to God. As hard as it must have been, when she gave birth to a son, she made good on that promise. (See 1 Samuel 1:24-28).

"A common problem in our prayer is that we focus only on ourselves with little thought to how God can be glorified. Paul tells us that the blessings of redemption through Christ are not merely for our benefit, but more essentially for ‘the praise of his glorious grace’ (Ephesians 1:6). So it is with answers to prayer. We should pray for spiritual renewal across the land not so much for the blessings it will bring us, but so that God's name may be exalted." -Jim Cymbala

Hannah received her answer, only to give her son up for the service and glory of God.

It's interesting to note here that although Hannah's rival had many children and Hannah did not, she apparently felt threatened by Hannah. She was deeply insecure. This is evidenced by the fact that she continued year after year to provoke Hannah and taunt her about being childless. What do we learn from this? We will be insecure when we try to find in something or somebody what we can only find in God and in living to glorify his name.

Hannah, on the other hand, did not succumb to the devastating effects of insecurity in spite of her difficult circumstances. Why? Because ultimately her security—her hope was not found in a man, or in her ability to have children, but in a God she declared, as we will see, to be her rock and her salvation.

Do you realize that what could be causing an absence of real peace and security in your life is the very thing that you desire most in your life, especially when that something or somebody is taking the place of God?  We will never find real security and satisfaction in this life until we are redeemed by the blood of Jesus and live our lives to the praise of His glory.

She worshiped the God of her salvation.
Hannah did not succumb to the effects of insecurity because not only did she pour out her soul to God, and not only did she give to God the very thing she desired most in life; above all, she worshipped the God of her salvation. After Hannah made good on her promise and left her son to be raised in the temple in service to the Lord, she didn't go home regretting the promise she had made. Instead, she began to worship the Lord in prayer. Immediately after bringing her son to be raised in the temple, she prayed:

"My heart exults in the Lord; my strength is exalted in the Lord. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation. "There is none holy like the Lord; there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God." 1 Samuel 2:1-2

In her distress, which led Hannah to pour out her soul to the Lord, she found something better than a loving husband and a precious son. She found a God who was worthy of all praise and worship. She consecrated her son to the only true God, who consecrated His own Son, to give His life as a ransom for us all. Beyond giving birth to a son that became one of the great leaders in Israel, and beyond finding what her soul longed for the most, God Himself blessed Hannah with many more children. (Ephesians 3:20)

Do you have a desperate need in your life? Pour out your soul to the Lord. God is able to meet that need. But do you realize today that nothing in this life will bring you true peace and security unless you've been saved from sin through faith in Christ and living your life to the praise of his glory and grace? Will you be wiling to pray: "Lord, I want every area of my life to bring glory and honor to you're name. If there's something in my life that is dishonoring to you, (if you already know what that's is be specific) I'm laying it down, I surrender it, I give to you. Forgive me Lord. I consecrate my life to you."

“God guarantees security and blessings to those who are in an authentic relationship with Him and who demonstrate faithful obedience (Matthew 7:24-25). This person doesn’t just affirm the truth but acts upon it. It is not their religious dogma, but their diligent doing that secures blessings. Trying harder to be a religious person is not enough. Nor does it work to utilize God as your life-preserver in difficult moments if He is not your very life in every moment. The gospel’s message is the exclusive pathway to ultimate security and strength in a world sliding away.” -Henderson, D, Never Shaken, Moody Publishing.

God gives soul stabilizing security to all who know the saving, sanctifying, and satisfying love Jesus and live to the praise and glory of His amazing grace.

In His service,
Pastor Marco