There’s a show on tv called “married at first sight” … desperate people looking for love and relying on the skills of a team of marriage psychologists to match them with the perfect partner without having ever met. The world is looking for love, and instead of turning to the Creator of love they’re turning to the evil love of homosexuality, or the emotional love of erotic music, or the social connection of erotic night-clubs, or prostitution, pornography and paedophilia.
The modern church has misled people with false hopes of love. It’s selling love to attract the desperate world to its meetings to increase its numbers and income rather than training people to form an army against the onslaught of the world. Love is popular, as is the Pentecostal anti-satan warfare with your mouth, but persecution is not. Grace has become the popular catch-cry; meanwhile homosexuality flourishes because the church has lost its saltiness.
In 1 Samuel, we read the story of Elkanah and his two wives, Hannah and Peninnah. Hannah suffered the social embarrassment of being barren, but her husband had a special love for her, whereas, Peninnah, even though she had several children, lived in bitter envy of Hannah, and regularly mocked and spitefully ridiculed her because she saw her as more loved. Peninnah was Hannah’s enemy.
The question is … why was Hannah more loved? The answer is, there was something in Hannah that was attractive and there was something in Peninnah that wasn’t. You can’t be attracted to envy and bitchiness. All Peninnah had to do was stop her envy and she would have been attractive like Hannah.
Why couldn’t she? The answer is that love flows from the heart; it can’t be generated by psychology pairing. If your heart is full of envy then the wrong love will flow. You have to be dead to yourself for the agape love of God to flow out.
The only key to love is …
God 1st, neighbour 2nd. If you make yourself 1st, you’ll never find Hannah’s love. When you’re the most important thing, envy will dictate your spirit whether you know it or not.
Why is this phenomenon so common yet more often than not, hidden?
Because Satan comes as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. On the outside he seems nice and caring but on the inside, he’s full of envy. The story of Hannah is more than just a historical event; it also has the Spirit of God hidden in its pages. It’s really the story of Satan’s envy of Jesus’ special relationship with the Father. Instead of being satisfied with his position, Satan hates Jesus because He seems higher, but ultimately, Satan wants the top position of the Father. It’s not really about love at all; it’s all about CONTROL and the desperate selfish desire to be No.1.
Envy is a satanic trait; it’s not a characteristic of the Holy Spirit
The Word of God declares that love envies not (1 Corinthians 13). So, if you routinely practice envy it confirms that your heart is captured by Satan, and bitterness and spite will eventually flow out of you. That means you are not saved for heaven. This is the state of the false church; they have a relationship with God but they hate those who are more loved by Him.
God was on Hannah’s side
I’ve asked people who they feel for … Hannah or Peninnah? Routinely, I get the response, Peninnah, because she was less loved. Somehow, they can’t see Hannah’s pain. Standing on the side of Peninnah means you are standing against Hannah and thus on Satan’s side, not God’s.
I’ve worked with many Christians, both male and female, who appear loving and caring on the outside, but in time, expose an inner evil of bitter envy just because they see someone else as more loved, more popular, more successful, especially if they seem to walk closer with God. This is the Peninnah syndrome. They may be related to Christ, but they hate someone else being closer to Him. They want to be the centre of attention. They are the false church.
The enemy of the true church is the false church
The Psalms are full of David’s remorseful pain because those who pretended to be close to him were actually his hidden enemies (eg. Psalm 41, 54, & 55). God calls the false church, tares. It is set up by Satan for the purpose of deceiving the world and to oppress the true church. The Bible declares that the time will come when false Christians will betray the genuine ones even to the point of having them killed and believing it’s for a godly purpose (John 16:2). Jesus, Himself, warns us that a man’s foes shall be they of his own household (Matthew 10:36).
Like Hannah, without you even saying nothing, the false church will misunderstand your intentions (v.14,15) and call you insane and demonic. This was the reaction of the false church when God directed us away from Sunday (Rome’s holy day) to Saturday (God’s holy day, Matthew 5:17-19) sabbath as a sign of separation.
Contrary to popular false belief, Hannah’s experience proves that a genuine Christian will suffer periods of barrenness. Faith waits on God; it doesn’t expect or demand God’s prosperity. It’s grateful when it has it and it’s trusting when it doesn’t (Philippians 4:11,12).
If you’re a true Christian, then you must expect the ridicule and spite of family within the false church. You must expect to be hated by family and friends within the false church. In fact, if it’s not happening then you are probably the false church … if they called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of His household, Matthew 10:25.
The false church is actually under the power of God. Like Hannah’s dilemma forced her to turn to God, God is simply using Satan’s envy to turn the remnant towards Himself. Faith flourishes under attack.
By their fruits you shall know them
Like Peninnah, the false church will be exposed by its envy and hate towards the true church, but, like Hannah, despite the attacks and spite, the true church will know it’s loved.
The mouth of Peninnah says … you can’t tell me I’m not a Christian / you love them more than me / what’s wrong with wanting love? / my feelings are the truth / I’m special / advise me but don’t tell me what to do.
You need a Peninnah to create a Samuel
Peninnah didn’t know it, but Satan’s whole purpose was to use her to destroy God’s plan through Hannah. Satan’s plan was to get Hannah to murmur against the unfairness so he could bring about her destruction (1 Corinthians 10:10) so there wouldn’t be a Samuel. Without Peninnah, Hannah would not have gone to God in desperation. She may have eventually had a son, but she would not have had a Samuel. Eventually, we shall reap Samuels (something worthy and purposeful for the kingdom of God) if we faint not.
Pastor John Cormack