Thursday, January 20, 2022

          Hannah is a popular name for girls.  It is also a biblical name that we find in I Samuel.  She was the mother of Samuel.  The name Hannah means God’s favor or God’s grace.  She was married to a man named Elkanah but had no children.  She was deeply troubled and saddened by her childless state and sought the Lord’s help to have a child.  At one point in her story in I Samuel, she was praying so fervently that Eli the priest mistakenly thought she was drunk.  He said to her, “How long will you keep on getting drunk?  Get rid of your wine” (I Samuel 1:14).  Imagine praying so searchingly and intensely that someone mistook you for being drunk.
            The good news is God heard her prayer and gave her a son, Samuel.  Hannah gave thanks to God for this gift of a son in 1 Samuel 2:1-10.  A portion of her prayer included these words, “Then Hannah prayed and said: My heart rejoices in the LORD; in the LORD my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance.  There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God” (I Samuel 2:1-2).  She was delighted and overjoyed by what the Lord had done for her.  There are four lessons that we find in her prayer that speak to our lives today. 
            First, Hannah said that God had vindicated her in the face of those who mocked her, humiliated her or made fun of her.  God was her deliverer.  We trust those who might mean us harm to the Lord.  We trust those who might belittle us to the Lord.  God is still the deliverer of His people today.  He is our strength.  We might feel very little or even forgotten in the eyes of our enemies but God is our strength.  He remembers His people and brings them victory and deliverance.
            Second, the Lord is incomparable.  Riches will fail us.  People will let us down.  No human institution can ever bring full contentment and joy.  But God can.  He is able to meet every need, heal every wound and comfort every affliction.  As Hannah prayed, “there is no one like you.”  He is worthy of all trust and surrender.  There are a host of strategies for feeling better but only God is able to make us whole and fulfilled.  Often, God speaks in ways that we may not hear or discern because we are not looking.  I remember praying recently and thinking about a concern that someone had shared with me.  As I was walking from the parking lot to my office that person appeared and shared the arrival of the good news for which we had prayed.  God does show up!
            Third, God is our rock.  He holds us and stabilizes us.  He keeps us in balance when the world may be raging around us.  A stack of papers could easily blow away when a wind comes.  But a rock placed on those papers will hold them in place.  God plays the same role for us.  He keeps us steady, balanced and grounded when the winds of life are blowing against us.  Hannah knew that God had an answer for her prayers and she trusted herself to Him no matter what the answer might have been.
            And fourth, Hannah rejoiced in the Lord.  We often fail to do that enough.  Most of us have so many reasons why we can rejoice and give thanks to God.  We dare not lose sight of all that God has done and given.  It is easy to be washed over by the trials and afflictions of life—even to the point where we just fail to see the good that God has done or has given.  We should populate our prayers and worship with reasons for gratitude and giving thanks.  The Lord is profoundly good and He consistently brings good into the lives of His people.  Count blessings.  Give thanks.  Celebrate God’s goodness.  I currently lead a Thursday night Bible study in my neighborhood.  It is attended by a variety of people.  One of the highlights is hearing my neighbors share what God has done for them in the past week.  It is amazing to hear where God has been working.
            I heard about a survey recently where people were asked the simple question, “what are you living for?”  The common thread that ran through so many answers was the response that people were waiting for something to happen in the future.  There is nothing inherently wrong with anticipation.  But waiting for something to happen tomorrow or in the future may well mean we miss a lot of what God is doing now.  Tomorrow is not promised.  Yesterday is gone.  But we have today.  Like Hannah, may we be willing to seek the Lord today and enjoy Him today!

No Comments





Acts Bible Communion Cross God's will God\'s will God Gospels Holy Spirit Holy Week Jesus Joseph Lent Peter Reformation Satan accountability action advent all saints allegory anger anxiety apologetics atonement awareness awe backsliding baptism beginning beloved betrayal bitterness blessing born again burden burnout calling care change character chistmas choices christian living christmas church history church circumcision comfort commitment community compassion complacency confession confidence consequences contentment control conversation cost courage creation death debt deception decisions deliverance denial dependence depth desire despair determination devotion direction discernment discipleship discouragement dishonesty disobedience distractions doctrine doubt dreams eagerness emotion encouragement end times endurance equality eternal life eternity evangelism evil example facing battles faithful living faithfulness faith family fatigue fear fellowship focus follow foreshadowing forgiveness foundation freedom friends fruit of the Spirit future generosity gifts giving glory goodness gospel grace grateful gratitude greed grit growth guidance guilt halloween happiness healing heart heaven help history holiday holiness home honesty hope humble humility identity impossible incarnation inspiration instruction integrity intentional jealousy journey joy judgment justice justification kindness kingdom knowing God lament law leadership lead lies life listening love martin luther maturity measure memorial memories mentoring mercy messiah minor prophets miracles missions mission mistakes motives mountaintops mourning music nation nativity nature new year new next generation obedience obstacles offering omniscience opportunity opposition overcoming parenting passion path patience peace pentecost persecution perseverence perspective plan poetry power praise prayer preparation presence pressure pride priorities process prodigal progress promise prophecy protection provision psalm purpose rebellion reconcile redemption refuge rejoice relationship remember remembrance renewal renown repentance resentment resolution restoration rest resurrection return revenge revival righteousness risk sacrifice sadness salt salvation sanctification scripture second coming seeking God self-control serenity sermon service shame sharing silence sincerity sin solitude sorrow sovereignty spiritual disciplines standard star stewardship storms strength struggle stubbornness stuck submission success suffering surrender talents talking temple temptation ten commandments testimony testing thankfulness thankful thanksgiving theology time tithes tough times traditions transfiguration trials trinity troubles trust truth veterans victory vision waiting warning weakness wisdom wise men witness wonder work worship