1 Samuel 2:1-11 Ordinary People Can Have Extraordinary Vision
1 Samuel 2:1-11
Hannah asked God for a son only to give him back as an offering. What is in Hannah’s heart when she seeks a son? Hannah’s prayer indeed reveals her true desire and agenda: the return of God’s righteous rule over Israel. As one reads the contents of her prayer, it is hard to imagine it coming from a woman scorned, who had to share her husband with another because she could not conceive. Despite her homely and demure demeanor, her prayer betrays, projecting vision and stature of a powerful visionary. Her substance and resolve stands in stark contrast with Eli who could not even get pass his sons. Hannah is a testimony of what an ordinary person can possess extraordinary vision to impact her nation.
Then Hannah prayed and said, “My heart exults in the Lord; My horn is exalted in the Lord, My mouth speaks boldly against my enemies, Because I rejoice in Your salvation.
“Horn” refers to the antlers or horns that serve as weapons for various animals giving their possessors a majestic and dignified appearance. Hence a raised horn sometimes suggests prosperity in having descendants as in the case of Hannah. God’s gift of a child for Hannah has brought her dignity and honor before the people. Hence, she could now hold her head high and speak boldly against those who provoke and oppress her.
“There is no one holy like the Lord, Indeed, there is no one besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God. “Boast no more so very proudly, Do not let arrogance come out of your mouth; For the Lord is a God of knowledge, And with Him actions are weighed.
Hannah praises God who is holy, the One and only: there is no one besides You. He is the Perfect One, the Righteous Judge who sees and discerns the hearts and the actions of all man: For the Lord is a God of knowledge, and with Him actions are weighed. Therefore, all men must be prudent with their words and not to be glib with their tongue: Do not let arrogance come out of your mouth, for God abhors the proud. The term “rock” speaks of God’s strength, sovereign rule, security and sure salvation for those who obey and trust Him. Hannah speaks out of her experiences, being at the receiving end of numerous taunting because of her barrenness. The proud and haughty are at last silenced and broken through her faith and the glorious ministry of her son Samuel.
The bows of the mighty are shattered, But the feeble gird on strength. “Those who were full hire themselves out for bread, But those who were hungry cease to hunger. Even the barren gives birth to seven, But she who has many children languishes.
Those who are proud and arrogant in their words, who oppress the poor and the weak will face swift and certain judgment from God. God’s judgment involves the reversal of fate and circumstances for the mighty and the feeble; the full and the hungry; the barren and those who has many children. Hannah prays in hope and expectation of God’s righteous rule over Israel. Hannah may have in mind that Samuel may one day become a mighty vessel for God’s purposes.
“ The Lord kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up. “The Lord makes poor and rich; He brings low, He also exalts. “He raises the poor from the dust, He lifts the needy from the ash heap To make them sit with nobles, And inherit a seat of honor; For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, And He set the world on them. “He keeps the feet of His godly ones, But the wicked ones are silenced in darkness; For not by might shall a man prevail.
The Lord is able to do whatever He desires according to His righteous and sovereign will. He holds in His hand the eternal fate of all men and women: The Lord kills and makes alive… He brings down to Sheol and raises up. He determines the stature and social status of each person: The Lord makes poor and rich... God also decide who will rule the earth, He can raise up powerful leaders from the dust and the ash heap: He raises the poor from the dust… To make them sit with nobles… God alone secure the safety of the godly ones; it is not by one’s own power that a man can protect himself: He keeps the feet of His godly ones… For not by might shall a man prevail. In a time of darkness and despair, Hannah speaks hope for the nation of Israel. She knows that God alone will raise up the righteous and install rulers by His will.
“Those who contend with the Lord will be shattered; Against them He will thunder in the heavens, The Lord will judge the ends of the earth; And He will give strength to His king, And will exalt the horn of His anointed.”
All who rebel against God, no matter how powerful they may be will be shattered. The term “thunder” depicts cosmic powers of heaven bearing down on mortal men. God will execute judgment over every nation, community and persons leaving no stones unturned: The Lord will judge the ends of the earth. And He will strengthen and fight on behalf of His anointed King whom He has commissioned to exercise His authority over all creation. Hannah prays in anticipation of war and a time of uncertainty and chaos. However, God will strengthen the hand of His anointed to judge the nations and those who resist Him.
- Every family should possess the vision to become God’s instruments to facilitate His righteous rule over the world. Many parents lack the broader vision of expanding God’s Kingdom on earth. They are inward looking; primarily concerned with the wellbeing of their own family. Hence, children that grew up in such a family culture tend to be self-centered; they are not concerned with the needs of the community or the issues facing the nation. The purpose of education and proper upbringing of a child is to help them become effective contributors to the society. Because many of these children grew up with abundance of resources without the hardship which parents experienced in their “pioneering” years, they have not developed in them a sense of empathy towards others. As a result, when many of these children become adults, they have no sympathy for others except for their personal wellbeing. Samuel’s success is attributed to Hannah’s patriotic spirit as evident in her prayer: And He will give strength to His king. Her prayer expresses her vision for Israel’s wellbeing, which she has done well in imparting them to her son.
- Do not become conceited and let success go to your head. People have a tendency to be complacent and proud when they are well to do. They depended on God when they were poor, but once they are out of their poverty, they gradually lose the desire for God. Their heads swell up and begin to look down and snub on those who are poorer and less educated. They do not know that God is weighing their actions and he has the power not only to lift them up, but also to bring them down as He pleases. Therefore, we have to learn to humble ourselves especially during good times knowing that God readily rejects the proud and exalt the humble. A man’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor. Proverbs 29:12.
- Do not let your weaknesses and failures undermine the faithfulness of God and His progressive work in your life. Hannah’s perseverance in prayer and worship reveals her continual trust in God’s faithfulness and progressive work in her life. Her prayer life gives God the opportunity to exalt her and answer her in His perfect time. Many in the midst of their challenges could not muster the strength even to pray; they simply lose their will to lift up their head. But once we look to Him and submit our plans to Him, hope and vitality returns. Therefore, we must never lose the will to pray, for that is the evidence of our faith in God. Paul says, “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
- Set a vision for your family that builds the kingdom of God through the church. Make plans to participate in your church’s outreach programme to the community.
- If you are in a position of authority at work and are able to help build up those who have less experience. Exercise humility by selecting a few who are willing to learn and help them overcome their current challenges at work.
Dear Lord, though I may seem ordinary to the people around me. Anoint me with your Spirit so that I can do extraordinary and miraculous things for my community. Create in me a brave heart so that I can overcome the challenges that I am facing now. I ask you to prosper me so that I can in turn prosper the community. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.