Our Resting at the River’s Edge reading of 1 Samuel 1 and 2 today has me wondering at Scripture. I don’t have fully formed thoughts yet, but I thought I’d share them with you. Sometimes incomplete thoughts cause our spirits to meditate on God’s Word to a deeper degree; sometimes the Holy Spirit uses them to spark something in us; sometimes they’re just musings that make you go “hmmm.”

2 Samuel 1:
Elkanah (husband), 2 wives – Peninnah had children; Hannah had none and desperately wanted children

V3:“Year after year” – Elkanah was a faithful man; the story is not one of a single prayer, but of ongoing petitions before the Lord.

V3: Elkanah worshipped and sacrified “where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests” – Hophni and Phinehas were not righteous men; we learn later in the story that God used Samuel (the son that Hannah would have) to bring judgement against them – I love how the Lord works all the pieces of history together. I also find it interesting that Eli, who had raised 2 evil sons, was given the honor of raising Samuel – a man of humility and righteousness. Our God is so “the God of second chances!”

V4-8: Hannah longed for a child; not only did she have to bear the pain of life-long dreams unfulfilled, she had to endure the constant taunting from Peninnah.

V5-6: The phrase “The Lord had closed her womb” appears twice – it was not because of Hannah’s failings or sin that she was childless; it was the Lord’s decision – He was waiting until the timing was right for the accomplishment of His plans – Our lives are a working out of the Lord’s plans, not ours and not ours to direct.

V9-11: Hannah wept bitterly – this is a deep pain she is experiencing.

V9-11: She makes a vow that if God would give her a child, she would give the child back to God – I think God often waits for this moment in a person’s life to bless them – when they reach the point of giving all their hopes and dreams to Him.

V12-16: Hannah’s crying out to the Lord is so demonstrable that Eli thinks she is drunk – When we cry out to the Lord in anguish, it isn’t always pretty and respectable looking – and that’s OK! Sometimes we will look like a fool for the Lord and our focus ought to be on the Lord, not on how we look before others. Had Hannah not cried out to the Lord with all her heart because she was more concerned about what others would think, would God have responded at that time?

V17: Eli blesses Hannah – he accepts her story and changes his tone from rebuke to blessing (we ought to be willing to change our perspective so easily when we learn the truth)

V18: Hannah “went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.” Being in the presence of the Lord and receiving a blessing from the priest (or pastor) changes us – relieves our burdens, brings peace

V19a: “Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the LORD and then went back to their home at Ramah.” They had a long trip ahead of them, but they first worshipped the Lord. (How often do I have a long trip (or busy day) ahead of me and instead of worshipping the Lord jump right into it?)

V19b: “Elkanah lay with Hannah his wife, and the LORD remembered her.” I love the phrase “The Lord remembered her” – Lord, remember me!

V20: Hannah has a child and names him Samuel, which means “Remembered of the Lord” (I wonder if there’s a feminine version of this name? I’d sure like to have it! :-))

V21-23: Hannah raises the child until he is weaned. I’ve not done the research, but have heard preachers say that she probably raised him until he was at least 5 or 6 years old. There’s evidence in the verses that follow that Samuel wasn’t an infant when he was weaned. The point is Hannah had Samuel for several years at least.

V24-28: Hannah gives Samuel back to the Lord. How difficult this must have been! The desire of her heart, her lifelong dream – giving the dream (her son) back to the Lord – knowing that she would only enjoy him once a year and was seemingly giving him to another person to nurture and grow. She knew she was giving Him to the Lord, not Eli, but how very difficult this must have been – yet I see no evidence of remorse. Wow!

V28: “And he (Samuel) worshiped the Lord there.” Samuel was obviously old enough to have a basic understanding of worshiping the Lord. What must have been going through Samuel’s mind at this time? One would think hurt and pain at his mother abandoning him, but again Scripture gives no evidence of this – Samuel worshiped the Lord. God’s plan for us is sometimes painful, but it brings peace.

Chapter 2, V1-2:

1Then 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.

2 “There is no one holy like the LORD;
there is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.

The first two verses of a ten verse song of worship and praise! After giving Samuel to the Lord, “then Hannah prayed and said: ‘My heart rejoices in the Lord.’” Wow!

What jumps out at you as you read this compelling story? What is God speaking to your heart? For me, the overriding themes are:

  • The faithfulness and lifestyle of worship of Elkanah and Hannah while living a life of ups and downs – spending years with their deepest desire remaining unfulfilled, releasing the dream to God, then seeing it fulfilled and joyfully releasing the fulfillment of the dream back to God again. Wow!
  • The providence of God – acting throughout our life to fulfill His purposes. I so love that about him!

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