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 gave Hannah a son. She named him Samuel, “heard by God,” because she knew he was a gift from God. And when Samuel had been weaned, she fulfilled her vow 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 entrust his upbringing to someone else? To visit him just once a year? And yet her prayer in 1 Samuel 2 is filled with joy and hope, for she knew the God who had rescued her from barrenness would also rescue her, and her son, from every other trial and 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 Peninnah 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 1 Samuel 2:3-9, Hannah cited many 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 was the unshakable foundation of her joy. She could leave Samuel in Eli’s care because she trusted God.
In the final verses 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 went home in peace, rejoicing in God’s goodness and faithfulness.
Hannah’s second prayer teaches us that focusing on God’s character enables us to rejoice no matter the circumstances. She had no way of knowing how mightily God was going to use her son, 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 will you need to rely on 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, and Psalm 92:10, and Psalm 148:14. In what way has God lifted your horn high recently?
Hannah is quoting Moses when she says, “Neither is there any rock like our God.” Read Deuteronomy 32 and take note of all the things Moses says about God, our Rock. How do Moses’s words encourage you?
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?
Denise K. Loock
This devotion is part of Dig into Prayer.