Hannah shows us raw humility and great wisdom. She doesn’t know what to do with her despair, so she cries out to the Lord. “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut.” What a vow!
We may remember that Samson was dedicated to the Lord as a Nazarite. He was set aside for God’s purpose, and his great strength and power from God was in his uncut locks. Presumably, this type of lifestyle was known to Hannah. She wanted a child so badly she was willing to give him back to the Lord.
Think of a time when you wanted something so desperately. Was your first inclination to get on your knees and cry out to God? Did you ever make a vow, promising to do something if only God would answer your prayer?
We have probably all done that a time or two. The danger in doing that is to be sure you are ready to follow through with your end of the bargain when God grants the desires of your heart. I’ve often heard people say, “be careful what you ask for.” Surely, God will answer prayers as he sees fit.
God’s response to our prayers can often be silence. Yet that is still a response. It’s just a “no” or “not yet.” We can often get discouraged and feel like God isn’t listening. Deep down, we know better. It is God who knows better and answers our prayers accordingly.
I always love to hear accounts of people who pray one way and then God answers in a completely different way. The result is always better. God wants the best for his children. If we have any doubt here, remember John 3:16. “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
Psalm 37:4 was recently brought to my mind, and I love the truth it reveals. “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.” That would suggest God gives us what we want. I would take it a step further and say that our action comes first, to take delight in the Lord. What does that mean to you?
Hannah may not have seemed like she was “delighting” in the Lord. Yet she knew that the Lord was her answer. If she was ever to have the desire of her heart, she was going to need to come humbly before God. That is a good reminder for us today.
Her behavior certainly drew Eli’s attention to her. He thought she was intoxicated! Her emotion must have been just that raw and unbridled. When he realized she was not drunk as he had thought, he realized how utterly dependent she was on God.
Hannah was comforted by Eli’s words, “go in peace! May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of him.” When we have made our devotion to God known, and the desires of heart are laid before him, we need to just walk away in peace. There is nothing more we can do. The rest is up to God.
Let’s pray …
Lord, I come before you today and humbly ask for your wisdom and guidance. There as so many directions my life could go right now, and I want to make sure I make the decision that glorifies you. Give me your eyes to see. Thank you for steadfast your love and all the provisions you have given me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.