2008-08-30 - Upside-Down Rejoicing
1 Samuel 2:1, Then Hannah prayed and said, 'My heart exults in the Lord; my horn is exalted in the Lord, my mouth speaks boldly against my enemies, because I rejoice in Thy salvation.
In the above verse, we have the opening of what we know of Hannah's song of praise to the Lord for the birth of her son Samuel. She had been long barren, and had sought the Lord often to open her womb - that she might conceive a child. In the first chapter of 1 Samuel, we have the extraordinary account of Hannah going to the door post of the temple and pouring out her heart before the Lord, praying in her heart with her lips moving (1 Sam. 1:13). The priest Eli noticed her and rebuked her for being drunk. She replies that she has not had any wine of strong drink, but rather that she was pouring out her soul before the Lord. Eli replies, Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of Him, 1 Sam. 1:17. These are powerful words coming from Eli, considering his position. She was heard, and in our passage, we have the beginning of her song of praise for God hearing her and giving her Samuel.
It is a wonderful portion of Scripture, and I would encourage you to take a moment sometime today and meditate on what is found there, but I would like to make an observation concerning her rejoicing, an observation that may seem odd at first glance. We would expect that Hannah would be excited in the birth of her son, and she is, but she is more excited about the God who gave her Samuel than she is in the child. Now maybe I win the prize of being hardhearted here, but this seems to be backwards from what I would expect. I would think that this long-awaited son would be her first thought, but it rather appears that she is so consumed with the wonder and glory of the Lord who gave her the son, that the son is barely even an afterthought. She exalts in God who gave her the child, rather than in her possession of the child.
Hannah is deeply affected with the Lord, and so should we be for His tender mercies to us. We have the tendency, I think, and maybe I am the only one, but I think we have the tendency to fix our eyes upon the mercy received - and lose sight of where it came from. From her song, it seems she takes little notice of Samuel being the cutest child, or anything of that nature, as parents often do. She looks beyond the child and sees the Giver of the gift. It is a great lesson for each of us. The mercies we receive should raise our love and admiration of the God who gives us mercies. It is upside down to what we are naturally prone to do. How easily we forget that there is none like the Lord who bestows upon us kindness after kindness. Let us not become so immersed in His favor, that we forget the One who bestows all real favors.
Soli Deo Gloria,