Upon this Rock
In Hannah’s prayer, we read “there is no Rock like our God”, pointing forward to Christ the Rock, the chief cornerstone of our faith.
1 Samuel 2:1-11
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.
2 “There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.
3 “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.
4 “The bows of the warriors are broken, but those who stumbled are armed with strength.
5 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.
6 “The Lord brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up.
7 The Lord sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts.
8 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.
9 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.”
11 Then Elkanah went home to Ramah, but the boy ministered before the Lord under Eli the priest.
Hannah, whose sorrow had been turned to joy by the arrival of baby Samuel is given prophetic insight of how her own reversal of fortune is universal in those who encounter the hand of God.
It is impossible to read sections of this prayer without recalling the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 5.
Those who mourn will be comforted, the meek will inherit the earth, those who hunger and thirst will be filled. These are strikingly similar to the barren bearing seven children, the needy inheriting a throne of honour, and the hungry being hungry no more.
In this extraordinary prayer we see also many contrasts between those who depend on their own strength being brought low, but those who depend on the Lord being raised up.
It is this realisation of God the personal saviour that quickens Peter, once again in Matthew’s gospel – Chapter 16 – to utter “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” And just as the foundations of the earth are the Lord’s, He says to Peter that upon this truth, upon this Rock, He will build His church. Jesus Himself is the stone that the builders rejected, to some a cornerstone, to others a stumbling block. He is the Rock that followed Israel in the wilderness, “guarding the feet of the faithful”
At the end of this passage we see the young Samuel making his home at the temple and ministering to Eli the priest. So too, we have a great High Priest in the Rock that is Jesus. Many years after his utterance about the Messiah, Peter writes. “..come to him, the living Stone – rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him – you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:4-5
Let us be like Hannah, building our lives on the Rock, and offering the dearest of what we have to Him as our living sacrifice.