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Faith as Exemplified in Hannah
1 Samuel 2:1-10
There are two prayers which fell from the lips of Hannah. The first is described in chapter 1, of I Samuel. It was a prayer full of weeping, of confession and of tears.
It was following the birth of her son, and his weaning, that Hannah's second recorded prayer was given. The prayer was offered when the child was brought to the Temple and dedicated to God.
With her gift made, and her son offered to God as a willing sacrifice, Hannah could not stay her prayer, nor her song.
Sometimes we vainly imagine that joy comes through selfishness, from holding back from God our most cherished possessions; such is never the case. Joy comes when all is placed upon the altar. We wish to mention the four opening statements of Hannah's prayer. You will find them in 1 Samuel 2:1 .
1. "My heart rejoiceth in the Lord." Would that more prayers were prayers of praise; would that Christians had more of joy, and less of tears. "The joy of the Lord is your strength." When we think of the Apostle Paul, we think of one who suffered, perhaps more than any other, for Christ's sake; but we also think of one who rejoiced more. In the Book of Philippians it is "joy" and "rejoice" all the way through.
2. "Mine horn is exalted in the Lord." This is Hannah's second statement. Her horn was exalted; that is, a new power had come into her life. She had been lifted out of weakness, far above the infirmities of her flesh, and now she exulted in a new strength in the Lord. When we have placed our all on the altar God will be sure to put a new power into our lives.
3. "My mouth is enlarged over mine enemies." In the 1st chapter we read of the adversaries who had provoked her; now her adversaries are overcome. When we get into a large place in the Lord, we will have perfect victory over all our foes.
4. "I rejoice in Thy salvation." Hannah took nothing of credit to herself. She knew where she dwelt in the place of victory in the place of rejoicing in the place of power. To Him she gave the glory.
I. DIVINE ADORATION (1 Samuel 2:2 )
Our verse pulls us right down to our knees in Divine worship; it breathes the spirit of adoration and acclamation to the Lord. She said:
1. "There is none holy as the Lord." We may boast of our holiness, but we boast of it only when we are walking apart from His presence; when we come into the halo of His glory and holiness, we are sure to cry out, "Woe is me." There is nothing that shows us our own sins so much as the brightness of His holiness. God has said, "Be ye holy; for I am holy." He was holy in His birth, even as it is written, "Therefore also that Holy Thing which shall be born of thee." He was holy in life: He knew no sin, did no sin, and in Him there was no sin.
2. "There is none beside thee." Oh, yes, there are many others besides God, but there is none other god, besides Him, and none other like unto Him.
There is another truth: of all the gods worshiped by the heathen, there is none like unto our God. Their gods are not gods, for God is One and the only One.
3. "Neither is there any rock like our God." This is Hannah's third statement. A rock is a wonderful possession when the winds blow, and the rains fall, and the floods come. Our God is a Rock upon which we can build every hope, and place every trust. When we were sinners we were building on the sands; but when we were saved, He took our feet up out of the miry clay, and placed them on a Rock.
II. A CALL TO HUMILITY (1 Samuel 2:3 )
After Hannah, had ascribed glory and power unto God, then she began to speak against the proud and the arrogant who would lift themselves up against God. Thank God the time is coming that every high thing that exalts itself against the Lord will be put down. Here are Hannah's words, as found in 1 Samuel 2:3 : "Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth."
1. A merited rebuke. This is our conclusion as we think over the words we have just quoted from Hannah's lips. From babyhood, almost, the spirit of pride and selfish arrogancy prevails. It is only when we come to know God in His glory, and might, and power, that we lose all confidence in the flesh. God forbid that we should be proud of anything.
The spirit of arrogancy is a spirit of domineering pride. Not only is "self" proud; but selfish arrogancy wants to rule everybody else out as an underling. Arrogancy demands obeisance, and recognition, and ofttimes worship.
2. A sacred warning. "By Him actions are weighed." After Hannah rebukes the proud and arrogant, she tells them that the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by Him actions are weighed. To proud Belshazzar the finger of God wrote upon the wall, above the candlesticks of the king's palace, "TEKEL": "Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting." God judges men by what they are, and not by what they claim.
III. A VISION OF CONTRASTS (1 Samuel 2:4-5 )
We do not think that Hannah realized how marvelously she was praying. First of all she praised the Lord, then she worshiped Him, and ascribed unto Him holiness. Then she called upon the proud and arrogant, and shamed them, and told them that their actions would be weighed by Him. Now she is presenting two kinds of men and making a contrast which is worthy of our thought.
1. "The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength." This is true. Have we not read that not many mighty, or noble are called? If our God is going to use men, He must break them. Many a Goliath has fallen before a David. "They that stumbled are girded with strength." It is a wonderful thing to be clothed with the power of His might.
2. "They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased." Have you not read, "Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger." "Woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation." But God also has said just what Hannah said, "Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled." "Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the Kingdom of God." Hannah was praying in the Spirit; and truth is always the same. The mighty are broken, the weak are given strength; the full cry out for bread, and the hungry are satisfied.
IV. THE POWER OF THE LIVING GOD (1 Samuel 2:6-7 )
Here we have a marvelous theological and homiletical demonstration. After Hannah in her prayer describes the weakness of the mighty, and the poverty of the rich, she says: "The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: He bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up. The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: He bringeth low, and lifteth up." If you ever saw a verse which taught the sovereignty of God, here is one. Let us observe it.
1. "The Lord killeth, and maketh alive." Think you that the wicked shall always prevail? Think you that the Lord shall always be repudiated, trampled beneath their feet, and cast out of the city to die? Nay, when the Lord shall arise, His arrows will be hot in the hearts of the king's enemies, whereby the people fall under Him.
2. "He bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up." Sin brings us all down to the grave, but Christ can break the power of sin, and the power of the grave. He can turn the wicked into hell and destroy them. He can also carry the righteous into Heaven, and enthrone them.
3. "The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich." The Lord can send famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, and a sword. All that we have, He has given us. However, if we refuse to recognize Him and honor Him, with the breath of His lips He can bring us down.
Read the Book of Job and see how easy it is for God to make a rich man poor; read also the last chapter of the Book of Job, and see how easy it is for God to make a poor man seven times richer than he was in the days of his riches. He who taketh away, can also give back.
4. "He bringeth low, and lifteth up." The same Christ who throws down the proud, can lift up the humble. Somehow or other we are perfectly willing that He should bring us low; for we have learned the truth of the statement that "He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a Name which is above every name: that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow * * and that every tongue should confess."
What is true of our Lord, however, is true of us. If we are willing to go with Him in His degradation, desolation, and death, we may also be permitted to come up with Him, in His exaltation and glorification. Have we not read that we, "through His poverty," may be made rich?
V. THE ENRICHMENTS OF GOD (1 Samuel 2:8 )
We are now coming to a climactic part of Hannah's prayer. She says:
1. "He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the begger from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory."
We cannot help but think of Joseph. We remember how he was cast into prison, but the Lord lifted him up and set him among princes. Yea, he was even made next to the king of Egypt. Unto him the king gave complete charge of all of Egypt's affairs.
We cannot but think of David, who minded the sheep. The youth was disdained by his brothers, and yet, did not the Lord lift him up, and place him upon a throne?
There is another thing, however, in all of this. "To make them inherit the throne of Glory." Those of us who suffer with Him here, shall reign with Him there. Those of us who have borne His cross, shall share, with Him, His crown.
2. "For the pillars of the earth are the Lord's, and He hath set the world upon them." Here is a wonderful statement which should encourage the hearts of the needy and the poor. They are reminded that the pillars of the earth are the Lord's. Did not the Lord remind His servant in the hour of need that the silver and the gold were His, and that the cattle upon a thousand hills were His? Why should we draw so little upon the riches of God? God did not, through Hannah, present a God impoverished; but a God who possessed the pillars of the earth, and "set the world upon them." Her God was the God of all things.
VI. THE LORD KEEPETH HIS SAINTS (1 Samuel 2:9 )
Hannah takes still another upward step. She not only teaches that the Lord will supply our needs, making the poor rich, and so forth, but she also says that the Lord will keep the feet of His saints.
1. Our God is a God who gives guidance to His own. When we think of pur feet, we think of the pathway we tread; of the way we go. God will keep our pathway, and show us the way in which we should go. Nor do we have to think that this "keeping of our feet" means only the great trend of our life; that is, that God will guide us only in the big things. It is written "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord."
Is it not wonderful to have some One go before us to point out the way? Is it not blessed to have some One saying to us." "This is the way, walk ye in it"?
2. Our God is a God who puts the wicked into darkness. How striking is the expression "And the wicked shall be silent in darkness." When it was light in Israel it was dark in Egypt.
The true saint is treading a path which groweth brighter and brighter unto perfect day. The wicked are walking a path which groweth darker and darker, until at last the wicked enter into the "blackness of darkness for ever."
3. Our God is a God of victory. The last statement of our verse is: "For by strength shall no man prevail."
When the kings of the earth set themselves together against the Lord, and against His Anointed; when they say: "Let us break Their bands asunder; and cast away Their cords from us," think you that they shall prevail?
When, as described in the Book of Revelation, the antichrist shall curse those that dwell in the Heavens, think you that he shall prevail?
It does not matter what strength the world may have; strength of money, for money is power; strength of armies, for armies stand for force; all will be as chaff before the wind on a summer threshing floor, when the Lord ariseth.
VII. THE OVERTHROW OF THE ADVERSARIES (1 Samuel 2:10 )
Hannah, no doubt, was offering praise to God because those adversaries, which seemed to beset her, and to make it impossible for her to have a son, had been overthrown.
She was exulting in God, because of her own personal deliverance. Hannah, however, whether she knew it or not, was speaking in no uncertain way about the final overthrow of all the adversaries of our Lord.
Read what she says in 1 Samuel 2:10 .
Once it was said: "Is Saul also among the Prophets?" As we read this verse in Samuel, we were overwhelmed with Hannah's vision, and we said: "Is Hannah also among the Prophets?"
What is it that Hannah said? There are four things in her words, four things which cover the Corning of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1. "The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces." We all will agree to this. The Second Psalm, in speaking of the end of times, and of Christ's Advent, said, "Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel."
Surely the Lord Jesus Christ will overthrow the wicked one and all his followers.
Over in the Book of Revelation we read, "And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, * * And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places." Read also Revelation 6:14-17 .
2. "Out of Heaven shall He thunder upon them." We all know that the Lord will descend from Heaven, and that, with the breath of His lips, and the forth-shining of His countenance He will slay the wicked one. Beloved, this very thing which Hannah speaks, will be fulfilled when Christ comes in flaming fire, taking vengeance upon all those who know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
3. "The Lord shall judge the ends of the earth." Why, certainly, this is exactly what will happen at the Second Coming, The adversaries will be broken, the Lord thunders upon them from Heaven, and then He will set up His throne, and rule the earth in righteousness. Read Psalms 46:1-11 , and you will think that you have the counterpart of Hannah's words. In the next Psalm we read, "For God is the King of all the earth * * God reigneth over the heathen: God sitteth upon the throne of His holiness." In the Book of Acts it is said that the Lord will judge the earth in righteousness. He has given us a proof of this, in that He has raised up Christ from the dead.
4. "He shall give strength unto His King, and exalt the horn of His Anointed." It is in the day when Christ shall return to sit upon the throne of David, that His Name and His glory shall cover the earth, as the waters cover the sea. Men will come from the ends of the earth as the representatives of nations, to worship the Lord of Hosts.
In the Book of Isaiah this exaltation of Christ among men is set forth (Isaiah 33:5-22 ).
"I once heard of a case in which the goodman of the house was stricken low by disease, and the physician insisted that no one should see him, as his life hung upon a thread. One day the doctor came and was met at the door by the nurse. The doctor heard a voice within. Turning sternly to the nurse, he said: "I told you to admit no one!"
"There is no one there but the sick man," she replied confidently.
"Listen, then," he said. And this is what they heard:
"Tossed with rough winds and faint with fear,
Above the tempest loud and clear
Immanuel's sweet voice! hear!
' 'Tis I. Be not afraid.'"
"Oh! That's who it is!" said the physician, with a smile, as he opened the door and saw the peaceful face of the invalid on which the glory shone.
Ay, the hills of God protect us on every side. Our help comes down, and the very coming down means force and power."
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on 1 Samuel 2". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/
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