Hannah’s Prayer

*image originated here

1 Samuel 1 – 5

I’m sorry this was posted much later than usual. I spent yesterday sick with the stomach flu.

Hannah Worships from her Heart

Hannah is the second wife of an Ephraimite named Elkanah. His first wife has many children, but Hannah is barren. Once a year, every year Elkanah goes to Shiloh with is family to worship God and make their sacrifices. Every year the first wife kept provoking Hannah because she had no children, but was loved by their husband. Because of this Hannah would refuse to eat and spend her days there weeping. This year is no different and again she finds herself at the LORD’s temple crying and praying, her prayer so desperate it came from her heart, her lips moving but making no sound. The High Priest Eli sees this and thinks she is drunk and rebukes her. Hannah answers him,

“‘Not so my lord,’…’I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”‘

-1 Samuel 1:15-16

Eli blesses her and asks that God will fulfill whatever she has asked of Him.

What did she ask of God?

“‘O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”‘

-1 Samuel 1:11

Sure enough, she returns home and sleeps with her husband conceiving a son. When he is born she names him Samuel. That next year when Elkanah goes with his family to Shiloh Hannah stays behind with Samuel saying that she will wean the child and then go to Shiloh to give him to the LORD as she promised for him to live and serve Him forever.

Samuel grows in God

Hannah keeps her promise. So Samuel grows up serving God in the temple at Shiloh. He is called by God to be His prophet and follows Him faithfully. Every year his mother comes bringing him a new robe. Because of her kept promise God blesses her with five more children. Her prayer of rejoicing in what God has done for her is a beautiful example of how we are to worship Him.

“The LORD was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the LORD. The LORD continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word. And Samuel’s word came to all Israel.”

-1 Samuel 3:19-21

Being in God’s word is another form of worship and because Samuel spends his time worshiping God all Israel knows that God is with him.

Eli and his sons Dishonor God

Eli’s sons are not so faithful. They are stealing more than their share from the offering the people bring to the LORD at Shiloh. Eli rebukes them but fails to stop them. For this disobedience, God curses Eli and his entire line. Eli’s sons will also die. At that time Isreal goes up to fight against the Philistines and loses. In distress, they go to Shiloh to bring out the Ark to go before them as in the days of old. Elli’s sons go with the Ark. Again the Israelites are defeated, Eli’s sons are killed, and the Ark is captured. When Eli hears of these things he also dies. One of his daughters-in-law was pregnant at that time and when she heard of it, she went into labor. Her son was named Ichabod because the Glory of the LORD had left Israel.

“Therefore the LORD, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that your house and your father’s house would minister before me forever.’ But now the LORD declares: ‘Far be it from me! Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained.”

-1 Samuel 2:30

The Philistines and the Ark of the Covenant

The Philistines first keep the Ark in their temple to the god Dagon. But the idol falls on its face before God, the second morning even breaking in pieces after its fall. The towns it is moved to all suffer because of the Ark many people dying from tumors. The last town the Philistines attempted to move it too refuses to take it in so they decide to return it to Israel.

The Israelites may have lost the battle, but God certainly had not. Note that they did not ask God if He would fight for them or if they would have victory. The people went in on their own will and dragged the idea they had of God with them. Failing to worship Him and give Him honor their losses were great and their relationship with God severed.

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