The story of Hannah and Samuel is one of the great stories of the Bible. Who can imagine parting with and giving back to God your only child?
In the following blog by Stephanie Nickel, a freelance writer and a contributor to our Christian internet radio station, HopeStreamRadio, reminds us that “all have sinned,” causing spiritual blindness, and that we need Jesus to open our eyes. Contact us if you are a truth seeker and need some answers.
First Samuel 2:1-10 records the prayer Hannah prayed when she “lent her son to the Lord forever.” We will discuss it over the next two days.
Verses 1-5 say,
“My heart exults in the Lord; my horn is exalted in the Lord. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation. There is none holy like the Lord: for there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God. Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble bind on strength. Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger. The barren has borne seven, but she who has many children is forlorn.”
Quick recap . . . Hannah was unable to have children. She pled with the Lord to give her a child. And when He granted her prayer, she committed her son back to the Lord. She didn’t do so as is common practice today. She actually took her son, probably four or five years old, and left him—that’s right; she left him—at the Temple. There Samuel would learn from Eli and would become the Lord’s servant. And one more thing, Samuel’s mother went to see him—once a year. No matter what century or what culture you live in, I guarantee this would pain a loving mother’s heart—and one who waited so long to have a child . . . I can’t even imagine.
The Tone Of The Prayer
But now, let’s look at the tone of her prayer. It includes phrases like “my heart exults in the Lord . . . I rejoice in your salvation . . . there is no rock like our God . . . the feeble bind on strength.”
Such faith! Such focus on God! Such rejoicing!
I admit it . . . I can’t see myself doing the same in Hannah’s situation. But her story and her words have been preserved down through the centuries. They are included in God’s Word to teach us, to challenge us, to show us how we are to live.
Lessons To Take Away
What lessons can we take away from Hannah’s story? What lessons can we share with our families? There are many.
God cares about those things that are important to us. Yet, His timing is rarely our timing. We usually want what we want right now.
We ought to take our requests to the Lord, even pouring out our heart in a way others won’t understand. Eli thought Hannah was drunk, but blessed her when she explained that she was pleading with the Lord.
We ought to go about living lives that honour God—even before we see the answer to our prayer. The Lord granted Hannah’s request, but He doesn’t always give us what we ask for. That doesn’t mean we can dig in our heels and bargain with God. “I’ll do what You want me to do, Lord, when You do what I want You to do.” That is never a good prayer.
And then, when God answers our prayer, we should not only thank Him, clutch it close, and be on our way. We should open our arms and release whatever it is back to Him for the fulfilment of His plans and purposes.
And should He require the return of whatever it may be, we are challenged to respond as Hannah did. She recognized God’s authority. She recognized His ownership of the gift He had given. When she physically relinquished the gift, she did so not with a heavy heart but with a heart overflowing with praise and thanksgiving.
Hannah’s focus was on the Lord. And that is, perhaps, the greatest lesson we can learn from her.
My God Is So Big
There is a children’s song by Ruth Harms Calkin that may seem to lack depth, but “My God is So Big” is worth listening to and worth teaching our children.
God is a big God. He loves us in a big way. (After all, He sent His only Son, Jesus, to live, die, and rise again for us.) He can answer big prayers. But the truth is He has every right to require big things of us. They aren’t things we can do—or will want to do—without His mercy, grace, and strength within us.
But if He can so fill a mother’s heart when her son only filled her arms for such a short time, He can do the same for us.
Stephanie’s show, “Family Life Lessons,” airs from Monday to Friday on HopeStreamRadio.
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Images courtesy of:
Hannah And Samuel – Jan Victors