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By: Larry Shaffer
(Pictures from my ministry trips to Malawi, Africa)
I Samuel 2
A high commitment from Hannah
Samuel is born through the adversity of Hannah; her barrenness, her heartfelt pleading and petitions, her commitment to dedicate her son to lifetime ministry should God answer her and then the blessings of God to open her womb. Samuel is born and Hannah praises God with an amazing song of thanksgiving in 2:1-11. Once Samuel was weaned, Hannah and Elkanah took him to the temple and left him with the priest Eli, to be trained in ministry and leadership. He stayed with Eli in what we would describe as a Jewish ministry boarding school. His parent left him and went home and would visit him periodically throughout the year. So, when Hannah made her original prayer of “give me a son and I’ll dedicate Him to You”, it meant physical separation from her young son. It was a high commitment from Hannah. But God had prepared Hannah through trials and she was now stronger than ever. God had a plan for Samuel and we can see the Sovereignty of God in the formation of Samuel’s character which will lead to the formation of God’s mighty nation, Israel.
The beauty of a godly woman
So, Hannah’s prayer of Thanksgiving, as she surrenders Samuel to the Lord in the temple, is exultant praise but it turns into this amazing song of deep theological truth; prophetic words of what God is going to do in Israel during Samuel’s time of leadership and beyond. Hannah may not be a “Prophet” like Isaiah, Ezekiel, etc., but God uses her to speak forth some deep and profound truth. These 11 verses are well worth reading. The theme is that God blesses the humble and weak and exalts them while crushing those who spurn God and trust in their own power and wealth. Hannah is prophesying what will be the state of the small nation of Israel throughout history among the powerful and fierce nations that surround them. Even today, powerful Goliath nations and religions who vow to destroy Israel (the shepherd boy, David) are destined to fail, (someday I might be arrested for saying this). Here’s a few samples of Hannah’s prophetic prayer; “the bows of the mighty are shattered, but the feeble gird on strength.” “He keeps the feet of His godly ones, but the wicked ones are silenced in darkness. For not by might shall a man prevail. Those who contend with the Lord will be shattered…and He will give strength to HIS king (David) and will exalt the horn of His anointed.” “The Lord kills and makes alive; the Lord makes poor and rich; He brings low, He exalts. He raises the poor from the dust, He lifts the needy from the ash heap…for the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s and He set the world on them.” There’s much we can learn from Hannah both from her example and her prophetic teaching. Lord, may I reject the ways of this world to glory in one’s position, power and wealth. Instead, may I humble myself before You and surrender all to You. Amen!