The book of 1 Samuel opens with the story of Hannah. This woman longed for a child, but she was barren. Every year she and her husband made the trip “to worship and to sacrifice to the LORD of hosts in Shiloh” (1 Samuel 1:3) at the tabernacle. There in Shiloh, Hannah laid her heart before God.
“And she, greatly distressed, prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly. And she made a vow and said, ‘O LORD of hosts, if Thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of Thy maidservant and remember me, and not forget Thy maidservant, but wilt give Thy maidservant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head.'” ~ 1 Samuel 1:10-11
There are several things to take note of in these verses. First of all, Hannah addressed God as the “LORD of hosts”. The Hebrew word used here for hosts is tsaba’, which means “an army of men, angels; all of creation”. The time of the judges was tumultuous, with many battles being fought. How appropriate that Hannah acknowledged God as commander of all the armies of creation!
Second, Hannah took a Nazarite vow (see Numbers 6:1-8) for her future son, fully dedicating his life unto the LORD. She desperately wanted a son, yet she would willingly give him up wholly to God.
God heard her prayer, “and the LORD remembered her. And it came about in due time, after Hannah had conceived, that she gave birth to a son; and she named him Samuel, saying, ‘Because I have asked him of the LORD.’…
Now when she had weaned him, she took him up with her…and brought him to the house of the LORD in Shiloh, although the child was young…and brought the boy to Eli. And she said, ‘Oh, my lord! As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you, praying to the LORD. For this boy I prayed, and the LORD has given me my petition which I asked of Him. So I have also dedicated him to the LORD; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the LORD.’ And he worshiped the LORD there.” ~ 1 Samuel 1:19b-20, 24a, 24c, 25b-28
What an amazing, godly spirit Hannah had! This precious child she had longed for was now being left at the tabernacle to serve the LORD, and she would only see him once a year, when they came to worship and offer sacrifices. So, what did she do next, weep and mourn? Nope, she offered a beautiful prayer/song of praise to God!
I won’t include it all, but here is a portion:
“‘My heart exults in the LORD; my horn is exalted in the LORD, my mouth speaks boldly against my enemies, because I rejoice in Thy salvation. There is no one holy like the LORD, indeed, there is no one besides Thee, nor is there any rock like our God. Boast no more so very proudly, do not let arrogance come out of your mouth; for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and with Him actions are weighed…
The LORD makes poor and rich; He brings low, He also exalts. He raises the poor from the dust, He lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with nobles, and inherit a seat of honor; for the pillars of the earth are the LORD’s, and He set the world on them. He keeps the feet of His godly ones, but the wicked ones are silenced in darkness; for not by might shall a man prevail. Those who contend with the LORD will be shattered; against them He will thunder in the heavens, the LORD will judge the ends of the earth; and He will give strength to His king, and will exalt the horn of His anointed.'” ~ 1 Samuel 2:1b-3, 7-10
Oh, as a mom, I need to have a heart like Hannah’s, recognizing that each child is a gift, straight from God Himself! And I need to surrender them, wholly to God, their Heavenly Father who loves them more than I do, and who cares for them, perfectly. 🙂