Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hannah's Prayer

A few days ago I read Hannah's prayer from the second chapter of Samuel. I had always considered Hannah taking her young son to the temple as a sad event. I could just see the weeping mother reluctantly handing her son over to Eli the priest, regretting her rash vow. But one look at chapter two banishes any such thought.

"My heart exults in the LORD;
my strength is exalted in the LORD.
My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation.

2"There is none holy like the LORD;
there is none besides you;
there is no rock like our God.
3Talk 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.
4The bows of the mighty are broken,
but the feeble bind on strength.
5Those 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.
6The LORD kills and brings to life;
he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
7The LORD makes poor and makes rich;
he brings low and he exalts.
8He raises up the poor from the dust;
he lifts the needy from the ash heap
to make them sit with princes
and inherit a seat of honor.
For the pillars of the earth are the LORD’s,
and on them he has set the world.

9"He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,
but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness,
for not by might shall a man prevail.
10The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces;
against them he will thunder in heaven.
The LORD will judge the ends of the earth;
he will give strength to his king
and exalt the power of his anointed."

If you have recently read Mary's Song of Praise, also called the Magnificat, (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%201:%2046-55&version=ESV from Luke 1, you will definitely notice some similarities. Both Hannah and Mary were given sons from the Lord. They expressed the same things in their praises: joy and astonishment at what He has done for them. Both women ended up giving up their sons as well.

Hannah is not having a pity party here. She is so wrapped up in what God has done for her and who He is that she does not even mention that she is surrendering her son, who was only weaned recently. How wonderful self-forgetfulness is! It enables me to make sacrifices for God without considering me, because God is far more important than me. That's a helpful thing to remember.

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