Rely on God
Hannah shows her humble reliance on God.
1 Samuel 1:9-18
9 Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on his chair by the doorpost of the Lord’s house. 10 In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. 11 And she made a vow, saying, “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on 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.”
12 As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk 14 and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.”
15 “Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “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. 16 Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”
17 Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”
18 She said, “May your servant find favour in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.
I think it’s safe to say that we all have our days where we feel like falling apart at the seams. We all feel the weight of loss and fear and stress every now and then, and sometimes when we do, it can be overwhelming.
My Mum likes to say, “Some days are diamonds, and some days are stones.” Ain’t that the truth.
School for me is rarely easy (if you don’t count lunch time) and I’m prone to developing a problem, worrying myself to death and backing myself into a hole where I feel simply miserable. What is worse however, is that I struggle to tell people about it, and I’m left with a weight on my chest and niggling sense of worry on my mind.
While I’m not refusing to eat, being ruthlessly bullied or unable to conceive – the challenges Hannah faced – there are many people who suffer with pain and endure it. It breaks my heart. And it breaks God’s too.
God is the one who controls it all, who sees our suffering and listens to our prayers. He opens his arms, he gives us his strength, he holds on when we have nothing left to cling to.
When I feel like I’m falling, I turn to God. He listens and he understands. And at the end of it all, I have given away my fear and my stress and I find the courage to hold my head up and keep going.
That is incredible power. Incredible kindness. Incredible mercy.
In the passage, we see Hannah’s reliance on God. She’s devastated because she can’t have a child. Hannah brings her problem to the Lord, praying humbly as a servant. She doesn’t hide her anguish from God – rather, she knows that He cares, and brings it to him.
Unlike so many other people in the Old Testament story, Hannah doesn’t rely on deceit or a human shortcut to try to get what she wants, or to fix her problem. Neither does she take the rivalry of her husband’s other wife (earlier, in v6) into her own hands. Instead, she relies on God. Not only does she pray earnestly but, after also being reassured by Eli, she lifts up her downcast face and waits for God.
Hannah provides a challenge to those around her to trust God and cast their cares on him. She provides the same challenge to us. God has fulfilled all his promises in Jesus, showing that we can rely on Him.
Geoff Pryde and Maddie Pryde