Hannah and God's Ways
Holy God, Your presence is constant, Your grace is limitless, Your love is unending. May my life honor You today.
Read 1 Samuel 2:1-10
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 14:11). It seems counter-intuitive but it’s true!
Hannah knows that beneath all human events are the ways of God, and submission to God is the deepest human response. She is suddenly caught up in a vision of God’s holiness and deliverance. What a contrast this is to the outlook of so many people. But human strength and power are not all they claim to be. We often think life is predictable, but God operates in unexpected ways. The arrogant might think they have everything under control, but suddenly they are on a slippery slope. The powerful might expect to win and the rich to enjoy themselves, but, instead, they find their weapons are broken and their food disappears.
This big theme of Hannah’s prayer is replayed in the world today. War is talked up as victory, but leads to the deaths of thousands. Influential bankers seem to be in charge of global finance, but then a crash brings mayhem and confusion. Suddenly the tables are turned. The unpredictability of power which Hannah so clearly glimpses becomes realized in human history.
Hannah’s prayer stands in the great Old Testament prophetic tradition. It also anticipates Mary’s Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55). It is surely no accident that two powerless women, each blessed by God with a special son, can see something of God’s deeper ways. Though separated by centuries, each prophesies that rulers will fall and the humble will be exalted. The self-sufficient will be brought low and the poor will be raised from the dust. They understand that God’s watchful and liberating love turns human arrogance and pride on its head. Hannah was prepared to leave her beloved son with Eli to fulfill God’s purposes. Her submission to God challenges us all—to reject the ways of arrogance and seek to live on God’s terms alone.
Think of areas of the world where turmoil is caused by human arrogance and power, and pray for people living under these conditions. How are you living in humility?
Lord, give me the courage to stand against injustice and arrogant abuse of power; and give me grace to live in humility and trust.
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