Mid-week Bridge 12 June 2024

From Pat with thanks

The Story of Hannah

3. Sacrifice and Praise

Let’s read 1 Samuel 1  v. 24 – 28,

24 After he was weaned, she took the boy with her, young as he was, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh. 25 When the bull had been sacrificed, they brought the boy to Eli, 26 and she said to him, “Pardon me, my lord. As surely as you live, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the Lord. 27 I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. 28 So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there.

Hannah kept her vow, she had not made an empty promise, she gave Samuel to the Lord, he would worship and serve God. It was a great sacrifice giving up her son, a great heart ache – God understands that all too well. I’m reminded of Psalm 15   v. 1,” who shall dwell in your sanctuary? V.6 those who keep their oath even when it hurts. V 7 who does these things will never be shaken”. Hannah was a strong woman of faith, her life had great sadness but also great blessing. In 1 Samuel 2: 19 – 21, Eli prays for more children for Hannah and Elkanah, and they were blessed with 3 more sons and 2 daughters. Hannah asked, God gave; Hannah gave, and God gave even more – we can never out give God! 

Let’s finish our reflections contemplating Hannah’s Song of Praise, 1 Samuel 2 : 1 – 10.

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. “Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance,
for the Lord is a God who knows, and by him deeds are weighed.

“The bows of the warriors are broken, but those who stumbled are armed with strength.
Those who were full hire themselves out for food, but those who were hungry are hungry no more. She who was barren has borne seven children, but she who has had many sons pines away. “The Lord brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up. The Lord sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts.
He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honour.

“For the foundations of the earth are the Lord’s; on them he has set the world.
He will guard the feet of his faithful servants, but the wicked will be silenced in the place of darkness. “It is not by strength that one prevails; 10 those who oppose the Lord will be broken. The Most High will thunder from heaven; the Lord will judge the ends of the earth.

“He will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed.”

Hannah’s song of praise reminds us of the importance of praise as part of prayer. She acknowledges the sovereignty of God in all her circumstances and worships him. She gave her anger to God for those who had taunted her and was able to leave them with God. She did not seek revenge but allowed herself to trust God to be just in all the injustices. Samuel was to play an important role in Israels future and Hannah’s words were prophetic, v. 10 , looking forward to Jesus, God’s anointed, the ultimate King.

Hannah’s words of praise and thanksgiving challenge us in our response when God answers our prayers, living with answers even when the answer is not yet, no or different to our expectations.

So, concluding our reflection let’s consider some questions.

Have you even had a Hannah moment? Have you felt such desperation in a time of hurt and sadness?

Did you allow yourself to cry out?  Did you make a big ask?

Did you make any promises to God?

Was God faithful?        Were you?

Taking the lead from Hannah spend some time praising God for answered prayer in your own life or crying out to him if you find yourself in a challenging situation right now.  You can also cry out on behalf of someone you know who is facing a desperate moment, stand with them and acknowledge God’s presence in their lives and circumstances.

Sovereign Lord, thank you that you are a God who knows us, who longs for your children to draw near to you in prayer in every and any circumstance.  Thank you that you always answer our prayers. Help us praise you when you answer yes, but also sustain us in the not yet and help us understand your plan when the answer is not that but this. Thank you that you are always faithful, help us to be faithful in our obedience and actions. We acknowledge your great love for us and praise you for all the ways you have shaped our lives and orchestrate all circumstances for blessing and for your glory.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen