A Song of Praise
My heart rejoices in the Lord, in the Lord my horn is lifted high; my mouth boasts over my enemies for I delight in your deliverance. 1 Samuel 2:1
Answered prayer doesn’t always mean absence of difficulty. In 1 Samuel 1, God answered Hannah’s prayer of desperation, giving her the son she had vowed to dedicate to Him. When Samuel had been weaned, she fulfilled her promise by taking him to the temple and allowing Eli, the high priest, to raise him.
Can you imagine how difficult it was for Hannah to leave her only child in Shiloh? To visit him just once a year? And yet her prayer in 1 Samuel 2 is filled with joy and hope. She knew the God who had rescued her from barrenness would also rescue her, and her son, from every other hardship they faced.
Her prayer began with praise for God’s character (vv. 1-2). He is a God of power. He had given her the power to triumph over the enemies who threatened her—both physical enemies like abusive Peninnah, her husband’s other wife, and emotional enemies like bitterness and despair (1 Samuel 1:6-10). He is also a holy God, absolutely pure in all He does, and He had vindicated her righteous character. He is a faithful God, a Rock that would continue to shelter and protect her and Samuel.
In verses 3-9, Hannah cited other examples of God’s righteous acts: He humbles the proud, feeds the hungry, exalts the oppressed, and protects His saints. Her confidence in His character is the unshakable foundation of her joy. She could leave Samuel in Eli’s care because she trusted God.
Near the end of Hannah’s prayer, she looked forward to the day when God will ultimately judge the whole earth, the day His Anointed King will rule the world. Hannah lived during the era of the judges, when “every one did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25 KJV). The priesthood was also corrupt (1 Samuel 2:12-17). But she left the temple in peace, rejoicing in God’s goodness and faithfulness.
Hannah’s prayer of praise teaches us that focusing on God’s character enables us to rejoice no matter the circumstances. She didn’t know how mightily God was going to use her son or that she would bear more children, but she knew she could trust God. And she did. Do we?
Read 1 Samuel 2:1-10. What elements of Hannah’s prayer are most meaningful to you? Which of God’s attributes encourage you most this week?
Hannah is the first person in the Bible to use “horn” symbolically. It refers to the advantage an animal with horns has over animals without them. For other references to horns, read Psalm 18:2, Psalm 89:17, Psalm 92:10, and Psalm 148:14. In what way has God lifted your horn high recently?
Israel had never had a human king, yet Hannah speaks of one, which shows she knew the promises God had given in Genesis 17:6,16, 35:11, and 49:10. What do you think is the relationship between Hannah’s knowledge of God’s Word and her ability to trust Him?
The Bible records two of Hannah’s prayers. To learn more about the other one, read Hannah’s Prayer for Help under Dig into Prayers.
Denise K. Loock