1 Samuel 1:10
“She was very upset as she prayed to the LORD, and she was weeping uncontrollably.”
1 Samuel 2:1-3, 9
1 Hannah prayed, “My heart rejoices in the Lord; my horn is exalted high because of the Lord. I loudly denounce my enemies, for I am happy that you delivered me. 2 No one is holy like the Lord! There is no one other than you! There is no rock like our God! 3 Don’t keep speaking so arrogantly, letting proud talk come out of your mouth! For the Lord is a God who knows; he evaluates what people do. 9 He watches over his holy ones, but the wicked are made speechless in the darkness, for it is not by one’s own strength that one prevails.”
Each day, I am amazed how God speaks to just what I need to hear. This blog is written directly out of my devotion time, which is from a bible-in-a-year plan. Yet in God’s sovereignty, He uses right where I am at in His Word to speak to me. What an awesome God.
Hannah’s story has always been special to me. God sees our longings, but fulfills them in accordance with His will and timing. Her response is so humble and surrendered to God. In the face of a rival mocking her for her perceived inferiority because she could not bear children, she cried out to her God.
Don’t we all not measure up somehow, in someone else’s eyes? Hannah suffered from the onslaught of minimizing, but it was not so much her concern for Penninah’s opinion. She did not get involved with the small-minded desire to be esteemed by others or to have what others had for vanity’s sake. No, she longed to be a mom. The pain and shame of not being able to bear children stemmed from her innate, God-given role as a woman. God honored this desire.
The sting of a longing unfulfilled can paralyze us if we let it. But in this beautiful moment of Hannah’s submission to God’s will, she wipes away her tears and trusts in God. When God granted her request, she praised Him and then gave back this cherished gift to her God. Our tendency as humans is to want to hold onto God’s provision, but Hannah knew that Samuel, her precious son, was God’s and not hers. Ultimately, her desire to honor God brought about more blessing for her and five more children.
More than victory over those who would demean her, Hannah had a joy in her relationship with her LORD and had gained something even more precious – character. Humility gained from other people’s judgment is a reward, too. It teaches us perspective and guards us from living to please man and reminds us that none of us are without fault.
Overly being concerned with man’s affronts is not righteous. Jesus modeled this heart of humility when false accusations were hurled at Him and He is the only One in whom there was not a hint of truth in his enemy’s rants. He was spat upon and murdered and responded by praying on behalf of those who wished Him harm.
Letting go of the idol of currying man’s favor is a beautiful place of peace and freedom. Hannah was not trying to be glorified by man or be the best at anything. She was not concerned with other people’s perception of her, and when Penninah’s judgment hurt, she ran to her Father – and He heard.
Man’s opinion is insignificant in the scope of eternity, but our response reveals pride and insecurities or trust and surrender to God. Hannah chose the latter and glorified God, not herself. We can, too. Her “ladder” was leaned against God, not the culture. Her greatest goal was not being right or triumphing over her enemies, but in glorifying God and being found in Him.
Lord, help us to be in the world and not of it. May we care more about pleasing you than anything or anyone else.