Peninnah, her [Hannah’s] rival, would torment and humiliate her, because the Lord had kept her childless. (1 Samuel 1:6, GNT)

If you had 5 seconds to list as many blessings as you could think of, would you have a problem?

Five seconds!  I can’t process that fast!  I would automatically think of my salvation . . but after that, I’d struggle in the time limit.

But . . if you had 5 seconds to list people you have held bitterness over at some point in your life, would that be hard?

Not for me.   Names would immediately come to mind.  I wouldn’t even have to think about it.

Bitterness is one of Satan’s favorite tools.  It has a knack for turning us into something worse than the person we are bitter against. [1]

We know little to nothing about Penninah, except for one thing: she was a mean, mean woman.  We don’t know what brought on that kind of bitterness in her life.  Maybe she’d been abused as a child, or neglected.  Maybe it was because her husband clearly loved his other wife (Hannah) more.

Maybe it was because she’d had a sick child, or she struggled with depression.  Maybe it was because she lost her best friend when she was young, or because Hannah had been hateful to her as a child or always the favorite with everyone they met.

We have no idea what made Penninah so bitter.  We only know one thing: she had become an ugly, ugly woman and to God that was more important to be recorded than any so-called excuses she might have had.

Penninah thought she was going to be defined by how many children she had.  Instead, she is defined by how hateful she was to Jesus Christ.

Say what?  Penninah didn’t even KNOW Jesus!  Jesus hadn’t even become a man yet.  But Jesus teaches that whatever we do to the people who love Him . . we’re actually doing it for or to Him (see Matthew 25:31-46).  Those are the only two choices.  Each day, are we trying to torment Jesus with our bitterness, or are we honoring Him by our love?

Jesus, I pray You will destroy all remnants of bitterness in my life.  I don’t want to spend my life tormenting You.  In Your Name, Amen.

Get rid of all bitterness (Ephesians 4:31a, NIV)


[1] I can’t remember where I heard this, but it is so true!

Scripture taken from the Good News Translation in Today’s English Version- Second Edition Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society. Used by Permission.

See Copyright Page for other Bible translation information.


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