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Unconditional Love

“Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the Lord had closed her womb… Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. Her husband Elkanah would say to her, ‘Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?’”1

Elkanah was a man who worshipped God faithfully and made it a priority to sacrifice to Lord every year with his family. His love for, and trust in, God was an example of his godly character. Elkanah had two wives: His wife Peninnah had given him sons and daughters, but his wife Hannah had no children. This had caused strife between the two wives, as Peninnah used Hannah’s barrenness to criticize her until it brought her to tears (God was the one who had closed Hannah’s womb, and he had a perfect plan in doing so, but this plan would not be known until later). Hannah may have felt unworthy of her husband’s love, as the ability to have children defined a woman’s worth to some extent in their society. However, Elkanah’s love for Hannah was not based on what she could or couldn’t give him. He simply loved her for who she was. It was a pure, unconditional love.

This unconditional love is an example of God’s love for us. God’s love for us is not based on what we can give him, but rather on who we are in Jesus. Elkanah wanted Hannah to know that his love for her was enough, and this is what Jesus longs for us to know as well. He is all we need. If we can delight ourselves in him, he will give us the desires of our heart just as he did with Hannah. Our true identity is found in God, his plan for us is perfect, and his love for us never ends.

Suggested prayer: Dear God, thank you for your unchanging, never-ending love. I’ve done nothing to earn it or deserve it, yet you love me anyway. Help me delight myself only in you, knowing that you hold my life in your hands. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus’ name, amen.

1.    1 Samuel 1:4-8 (NIV).


Today’s Encounter was written by: Crystal B.

All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.