Tuesday

'The Lord has granted me the petition that I made to him.' (v 27)

1 Samuel 1:21-28 Tuesday 27 November 2018

Psalm: Psalm 42

Background

In today’s reading Hannah wants to honour the vows she has made to God. Hannah’s husband, Elkanah, also encourages her to “do what seems best to you” (v 23). Thus, after weaning her son Samuel, Hannah took him to Shiloh and brought the boy to Eli the priest. “Therefore I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives, he is given to the Lord.” (v 28)

Vows and promises made in public are hugely significant moments, but do they last? A politician’s manifesto promises may or may not last much longer than the day of their election. A sporting hero’s kiss of a badge on a shirt, or pledge of allegiance to a particular team, may not be for ever! Walking away from a relationship, however freeing it may feel personally, may also be walking away from promises that were well intentioned at an earlier date.

Hannah’s vows are not made in public, but she makes these promises in the understanding that they are made in the presence of the Lord, that they have been heard by Almighty God. Does the making of promises in God’s presence elevate vows to a different level? For believers, and undoubtedly for Hannah, this is certainly the case. Perhaps we look back at our own faith journeys to the promises made both in public and in the presence of God: declarations of belief, marriage vows, baptismal promises made on behalf of children, perhaps even ordination promises. “With God’s help, I will” is not an uncommon response, spoken or unspoken.

Fortunately, God is a God of mercy and ongoing grace. Nevertheless, this divine understanding of our human weaknesses should not diminish the importance of being true to our promises; of working hard to fulfil what we have vowed to do before others and before God. Faithfulness is an important part of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22).

 

To Ponder:

  • It must have been so hard for Hannah to give up her long-sought-for son, Samuel. What a blessing her faithfulness turned out to be! Is there a lesson there for all God’s people, often in the most trying of circumstances, to be more faithful to the vows we have once made? If there have been times when you were tempted to break a promise or a vow, what has given you the strength to remain faithful at such times? You may want to give thanks for this.
  • Before we promise anything in God’s presence, a time of prayer will be needed to align ourselves with God’s ways. Spend some today looking at Singing The Faith 468, verse 3:
    “You know all my thoughts and ways, show me more of yours.
    All I am is all I have, in this gift of life.” (Mick Dalton)

 

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