Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Faith of Hannah

"For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted my petition made to Him.Therefore I have given him to the Lord; as long as he lives he is given to the Lord. And they worshiped the Lord there. HANNAH PRAYED, and said, My heart exults and triumphs in the Lord..." (1 Sam 1:27-2:1a AMP, emphasis added)

As I was reading the Word this week, God took me to 1 Sam 1-2, the story of Hannah. I pray for faith like hers. Can you imagine leaving your child to be dedicated to God's service, the one you had prayed for, wept for, and desired for years, the one who ended your torment, the one you love with all your heart? She would only be able to see him once a year for the rest of her life. That fact must have torn her heart to pieces, yet she followed through with her promise, and she rejoiced! I was in tears as I was reading it. Such an amazing and powerful faith... a faith that can change the world!

The prayer she offered when she left Samuel with Eli (the most inept High Priest in Israel's history, by the way) was absolutely amazing and beautiful. She was so full of faith in that moment she even prophesied about King David and the Messiah. Here is the prayer in it's entirety:
1HANNAH PRAYED, and said, My heart exults and triumphs in the Lord; my horn (my strength) is lifted up in the Lord. My mouth is no longer silent, for it is opened wide over my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation.

2There 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 go forth from your mouth, for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by Him actions are weighed.

4The bows of the mighty are broken, and those who stumbled are girded with 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 languishes and is forlorn.

6The Lord slays and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up.

7The Lord makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and He lifts up.

8He raises up the poor out of the dust and lifts up the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with nobles and inherit the throne of glory. For the pillars of the earth are the Lord's, and He has set the world upon them.

9He will guard the feet of His godly ones, but the wicked shall be silenced and perish in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.

10The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; against them will He thunder in heaven. The Lord will judge [all peoples] to the ends of the earth; and He will give strength to His king (King) and exalt the power of His anointed (Anointed His Christ). (1 Samuel 2:1-10 AMP)
I cannot even begin to imagine the struggle Hannah went through when the time to leave Samuel at Shiloh was approaching. Perhaps she had second thoughts. Perhaps she was tempted to break her vow to God (see 1 Sam 1:11). Those are the things that I would have struggled with had I been in her shoes, without the extenuating circumstances she had endured prior to conceiving Samuel (see 1 Sam 1:1-8). Honestly, I am not sure if I would have been able to go through with leaving my son at the tabernacle. But Hannah did go through with it, and her son became one of the greatest prophets in Israel's history. Because of Hannah's faith Samuel became a great man of God despite being brought up in Eli's household . Eli did not have the greatest track record with raising children. His sons were immoral and evil, even though they were priests (see 1 Sam 2:12-36), but Hannah's faith was able to supersede everything Samuel was exposed to. She had dedicated Samuel to God's service, and a true servant of God he was.

Hannah never forgot Samuel (not that any mother can truly forget her child). Each year she lovingly made a robe for him to wear. The time and expense that went into those garments would have been enormous, but each one was her way of showing Samuel how much she loved him. Her love for him endured and prevailed. She had other children, but Samuel would ever be her first-born.