Thursday 11 December 2014

Bible Book:
1 Samuel

“My heart exults in the Lord; my strength is exalted in my God.” (v. 1)

1 Samuel 2:1-10 Thursday 11 December 2014

Psalm: Psalm 103


Hannah's prayer is really a song of praise and would no doubthave been sung. In fact we might describe it as a psalm. She beginsby pronouncing her sense of exaltation in God (verse 2). There is asense of great vindication for Hannah especially over her rivalPeninnah who she probably has in mind when she speaks of those whoare proud and speak arrogantly (verse 3).

But the song also describes the ways of God which are not justabout Hannah's individual situation. Instead she sees a world inwhich God reverses the fortunes of those who are rich and poor, andthose who are strong and weak (verses 4-5). There is a sense ofjustice here, but also an understanding that God lifts people upand brings people down. As it says in verse 6: "The Lord kills andbrings to life".

Throughout this song there is a great sense of the strength andjustice of God who can be depended upon. Hannah finds her strengthin God who is described as a rock in verse 2. The pillars of theearth described in verse 8 belong to God, and it is God who willjudge the earth in verse 10. This God also guards those who arefaithful and shatters his enemies and ultimately gives strength tothe anointed king. This king was of course yet to come.

1 and 2 Samuel were originally one book. Given this, just asthis book begins with a song of praise it also ends with one in 2Samuel 22, when David sings his own prayer of thanksgiving. Andif we return again to the birth narrative in Luke's Gospel and readthe Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55), we can also see some commonthemes and a very similar genre. Mary magnifies the Lord because ofwhat God is doing in her life and she also speaks about humilityand the same reversal of fortunes found in Hannah's song. There arealso some similarities with the Benedictus sung by Zechariah at thebirth of John the Baptist (Luke1:68-79).

To Ponder

  • For Hannah and Mary, justice is lifting up the humble, poor andlowly, and bringing down the proud, rich and strong. Is thisjustice? Why?
  • Hannah's world has been expanded from a concern about nothaving a child to something far bigger. What are your immediateconcerns and what might be their wider perspective?


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