The God of Reversal
Lord, I am known by You and loved by You as if there are no others. I am grateful to be Your child.
Read 1 Samuel 2:1-11
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:46,47). Hannah and Mary: two mothers with cause for much rejoicing.
The books of Samuel are framed by hymns of praise to God the “Rock” (2), here by the previously taunted and weeping, childless Hannah, and at the end (2 Sam. 22:1–23:7) by the overlooked youngest son David, now victorious king. The hymns are a lens through which to read the whole narrative of Samuel, Saul and David. People often look to a strong human leader for security and deliverance (1 Sam. 8:19,20). Indeed, many such instances have occurred throughout history, including present-day situations of nations in turmoil or experiencing political battles for leadership.
Hannah has experienced the failure of others to understand and help, and shouts out that God stands alone as the source of strength and security: “there is no one holy like” is emphatically repeated (2). Hannah’s personal reversal opened not only her heart but her eyes. She looks beyond herself to diverse and wide-ranging contexts and joyfully proclaims God’s ongoing, reversing actions (3-8). Because God is creator (8b), he can be relied upon to put all things right.
She looks forward to “his king,” to “his anointed” (10b; the pronouns are significant). The text initially points towards Saul and David (1 Sam. 10:1; 16:13), but now looks beyond. So, when Mary awaits the birth of Jesus, she makes Hannah’s song a model for her own. God is still the champion of the poor and weak who cry to him, but he also brings down the mighty and exalts the poor. Of course, the poor and weak still suffer, the hungry and childless still cry out, and the powerful prosper while followers of Christ are persecuted and martyred. Yet we look ahead with Hannah to the time when “the Lord will judge the ends of the earth” (10), the time when “all the nations will be gathered” before Jesus as “the King” (Matt. 25:31-46).
How have you experienced God’s reversals? Use the diversity of vs. 3-8 to meditate. Where do you still look ahead in hope?
Sovereign God, I am full of praise when I think of times in my life when You brought about a significant reversal. With You all things are possible.