Today, the Church remembers Hannah, who prayed to the Lord for a son and gave that son back to God to serve Him. Our devotion comes from I Spy Salvation’s Story—Level A Teacher Guide.
In 1 Samuel, we read of Hannah’s suffering in her barrenness and her persistent prayers to be blessed with a child. In faith, she trusted God’s promise to provide for her needs, even when the circumstances around her only seemed to worsen. The Lord heard Hannah’s prayers and in due time blessed her with a son, Samuel. As God heard Hannah’s prayers, so too does He promise to hear and answer our prayers according to His good and gracious will.
[The] first chapters of Samuel present clear contrasts between the arrogant and the lowly. Hannah is juxtaposed with Peninnah, the wife who appears to be more blessed than Hannah because she has children. Rather than treating Hannah kindly, Peninnah provokes Hannah, year after year (1 Samuel 1:6–7). Although Elkanah, their husband, treats Hannah kindly, there is no indication that he tries to prevent Peninnah from harassing Hannah.
The blasphemy of the priest’s sons Hophni and Phinehas is also contrasted with the quiet piety of Hannah and her son Samuel. The story clearly indicates that Hophni and Phinehas were unbelievers and robbers (2:12–17) not only from the people but also from the Lord Himself. They took the fat that was to be cooked as a gift for the Lord. Scripture reiterates the evil of the two sons, who slept with the women who served around the tabernacle (2:22), and foreshadows their judgment (2:27–36). By contrast, Samuel is described there as truly “ministering before the Lord” (2:18) and as growing in the favor of the Lord (2:21, 26).
When we are faced with difficulty or trouble in this life, or when we think that God is not caring for us, we can remember Hannah’s story and be reminded that God always looks out for us and that His blessing is persistent, even when we have temporary ups and downs. Hannah’s song proclaims the wonderful truth that no one can ultimately rely on his own strength or arrogance, as Hophni and Phinehas tried to do, but that God is the true rock, the true foundation, even when events lead to the rise of some and the fall of others. The Lord protects His “faithful ones” while punishing those who are wicked (2:9).
Ultimately, this judgment depends on the Christ, “His anointed” (2:10). This is the first reference in the Bible to the Christ. It is really the Christ who judges, not according to works but according to His grace and mercy. As Christ conquers sin and death on the cross, He gives life to the faithful and turns the unfaithful over to destruction.
Dear God, thank You for being with us and hearing our prayers. Help us to be loving and kind to others and live as Your children. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Devotional reading and prayer are from I Spy Salvation’s Story—Level A Teacher Guide, pages 31, 33 © 2013 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.