1999-05-21 - Hannah
Today we continue our occasional look at what we can learn from women in the Bible, by examing Hannah, Eli's wife and Samuel's mother.
Hannah yearned for a child.
1 Sam 1:4-7 (NRSV) On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters, but to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the LORD had closed her womb. Her rival used to provoke her severely, to irritate her, because the LORD had closed her womb. So it went on year by year; as often as she went up to the house of the LORD, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat.
She poured her heart out to God. She openly expressed herself in prayer. Note the word "misery." No stiff formalities. She ran to Him, and let Him have her hurts.
1 Sam 1:10-11 (NRSV) She was deeply distressed and prayed to the LORD, and wept bitterly.She made this vow: "O LORD of hosts, if only you will look on the misery of your servant, and remember me, and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a male child, then I will set him before you as a nazirite until the day of his death. He shall drink neither wine nor intoxicants, and no razor shall touch his head.
And she promised the Lord that if He would grant her a son, she would dedicate that son to Him for life. Have you dedicated each part of your life, everyone and everything that is dear to you, to the Lord? He wants it all -- our relationships, our work, our hobbies, our checkbook. Don't hold anything back. Ask Him to use it all for His purposes, His glory.
God gave her what she wanted. Her response? Praise and obedience.
Hannah's heartfelt prayer is a beautiful song which brings to mind "The Magnificat," which was the prayer that flowed from Mary's grateful heart during a visit with Elizabeth (Luke 1:46-55).
1 Sam 2:1 (NRSV) Hannah prayed and said, "My heart exults in the LORD; my strength is exalted in my God. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in my victory.
Since at that time, Samuel was her only son, she must have been tempted to renege on the vow, and keep him at home! But she did not. She kept her word to God.
1 Sam 1:27-28 (NRSV) For this child I prayed; and the LORD has granted me the petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he lives, he is given to the LORD." She left him there for the LORD.
From Hannah we are reminded to run with our hurts, to our Heavenly Father, to dedicate all He gives us back to Him, to give Him glory and to obey.
Dear Lord, we ask You to help us to use Hannah as a role model for our Christian walk. In Jesus' name, amen.