13 In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
The covenant of grace is greater than the covenant of the law. We see a clear picture of this in 1 Samuel 1, in the story of the birth of Samuel. In this story Elkanah (His name means God has created, or taken possession) has two wives, the name of one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. The meaning of Hannah is grace/favour and Peninnah originates from pinnah, pinnah means bulwark ( A wall or embankment raised as a defensive fortification; a rampart), chief, corner, stay, tower. Peninnah represents the law, the wall of separation. This is a picture of grace (God’s unmerited favor) and law (knowledge of good and evil, covenant of the Law). It says in 1 Samuel 1:3 that Elkanah would go up from his city yearly to sacrifice to the Lord. 4 And whenever the time came for Elkanah to make an offering, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. 5 But to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, although the Lord had closed her womb. – 1 Samuel 1:4 This is a beautiful picture of us under His grace, we receive a double portion from God, the fullness of Jesus, His grace upon grace (1 John 1:16). Under His covenant of grace we are promised a redemption that is greater than what we lost.
11 “As for you also,
Because of the blood of your covenant,
I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.
12 Return to the stronghold,
You prisoners of hope.
Even today I declare
That I will restore double to you.
Notice that Elkanah gave Hannah a double portion because he loved her, not because he loved her more than Peninnah. God loves His grace, a picture of Jesus’ perfect sacrifice and His finished work. God has no love for the law, the law was chosen by man. You will not experience God’s love under the law, you will always try to earn it based on your obedience and merit which always fails. But under His grace, you experience the perfect love of God because of your perfect representative Jesus and His finished work. Under His grace your eyes are unveiled just like the apostle John and you are the one whom He loves, you are in the beloved.
1 Samuel 1:6-7 6 And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb. 7 So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, that she provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat. The law is always against grace. In Hebrew the word used here for rival is tsarah meaning adversary. 1 Peter 5:8 calls the devil your adversary. The enemy uses the law (knowledge of good and evil / covenant of the Law) to provoke you severely, to tempt you to not believe and to make you miserable. He points you to your mistakes, your sins, your failures, your bad circumstances, your natural lack (even though God is not a God of lack but a God of provision and perfect timing). That is why the law is the strength of sin (1 Corinthians 15:56), it provokes/tempts you severely. In the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 Jesus prays And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. Jesus was praying the end of the covenant of the law that led us into temptation and the beginning of the covenant of grace that delivered us from the evil one. Today the enemy is a liar and a deceiver, his lie is to point us to the law (the strength of sin), to provoke us and make our lives miserable. But we resist him by remaining steadfast in the faith (always believing in Jesus Christ and His finished work) 1 Peter 5:9 by receiving His abundance of grace and His gift of righteousness Romans 5:17.
The law always gives you instant results as it only speaks to your flesh. But it doesn’t care if they are good or bad results. The law only relies in the will power of your sinful flesh, it is all about your effort, your self righteousness. But your flesh is weak and you always fail, living in guilt and condemnation and traps you in a life of sin. Grace through the blood of Jesus is what made you a new creation, it speaks to your spirit and under His constant grace you live a life led by the Spirit. You are guaranteed to produce the fruits of the Spirit. Under grace results are instant in your spirit but not always instant in the natural. But as your soul prospers so will everything else (3 John 1:2), you are guaranteed to receive His blessings for every area of your life as you rest in His finished work. Now Hannah wept and didn’t eat, but God doesn’t want us to weep and not eat. He wants us to be at peace, rest and feed on His word of righteousness. The law doesn’t give you solid food to eat only milk, like the Ethiopian in Acts 8 reading the Word under the law does not feed you any truth . Grace gives you solid food (truth and revelation of the fullness of Jesus Christ), Hebrews 5:12-14. And under grace God wants you to continuously feed and be full of His word of righteousness that is spirit and life. 8 Then Elkanah her husband said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? And why is your heart grieved? Am I not better to you than ten sons?” The fullness of Jesus (His grace upon grace) is greater than ten sons (the law). The law in its instant gratification is enticing but grace is greater. All of the ways of the Lord are grace and truth (Psalm 25:10).
After this Hannah went up to the tabernacle and prayed to the Lord, made a vow and asked the Lord for a male son. Now Eli the priest was there and saw her praying and initially thought she was drunk by the way that she prayed but she explained that she wasn’t. She was just pouring out her soul before the Lord and Eli said to her “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him.” After this she said, “Let your maidservant find favor in your sight.” went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad. Notice that it was after she ate (fed on the Word of God) that she was no longer sad. Under grace you are guaranteed to receive His truth in His word, revelations of Him and His finished work. Always continue to feed on His truth and live by His peace.
19 Then they rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord, and returned and came to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her. 20 So it came to pass in the process of time that Hannah conceived and bore a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, “Because I have asked for him from the Lord.” Samuel means ‘heard of God’. Notice that she received what she had asked the Lord after she received grace, fed and went in peace. Grace must be the primary thing, His unmerited favor in your life will lead you to feed on His word and you will be at peace.
21 Now the man Elkanah and all his house went up to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice and his vow. 22 But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “Not until the child is weaned; then I will take him, that he may appear before the Lord and remain there forever.” 23 So Elkanah her husband said to her, “Do what seems best to you; wait until you have weaned him. Only let the Lord establish His word.” Then the woman stayed and nursed her son until she had weaned him. As you start to see fruit in your life and receive God’s blessings continue to feed on His word. That the Lord may establish His word in your life, that what He produces in your life may appear before the Lord and remain there forever. Under His grace, the fruit, blessings and works that He produces in your life will stand the test of fire and not be burned. It is fruit that will last forever.
After Samuel was weaned Hannah joyfully handed Him over to Eli for the work of the Lord. And she said “ as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord”. Under His grace, you freely give to the Lord everything that He produces in your life. Under the law you live a selfish life of keeping what you produce to yourself. Under the law even what you give is only giving because you expect something back. Under grace you give from what He has blessed you. Under the law you give to get a blessing. Receiving His grace and His gift of righteousness is humbleness before the Lord. Living under the law and your self righteousness is pride before the Lord.
Grace is greater than the law. Notice that Peninnah was not mentioned after verse 7. Once grace enters the picture the law becomes obsolete. The law is used by your adversary to provoke you, to tempt you not to believe in the fullness of Jesus, His grace upon grace, His finished work. But that’s where it stops, the enemy’s only weapon is to lie to you to deceive you into falling from grace and back to the law. But he has no authority over your life, he has been disarmed (Colossians 2:15). Don’t believe the lies, continue to always receive His abundance of grace and His gift of righteousness and reign in life through the one, Jesus Christ. Don’t settle for any teaching that is law based that points to you and your obedience, Jesus Christ fulfilled the law and God has put it away as completed in the finished work of Christ (Ephesians 2:11-17).
In 1 Samuel 10 Samuel is towards the end of His ministry as a priest and prophet of God. The people of Israel asked for a king and the Lord granted them one in Saul. In this chapter Samuel is anointing Saul and in verses 6-7 he says to Saul “6 Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man. 7 And let it be, when these signs come to you, that you do as the occasion demands; for God is with you.” You have been reborn in Christ. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. – 2 Corinthians 5:17. As a new creation under His pure grace you live a life led by the Spirit. And God’s full trust is in the finished work of His Son, His trust is in His Spirit leading you. And He says “you do as the occasion demands; for God is with you.” Always remain under His grace and be at peace doing whatever the occasion demands, not doubting that the Lord is always leading you.
Don’t doubt, be at peace and reign in life through Jesus Christ, knowing that grace is greater than the law.