Reader: “A Magnificat . . .”
Response: “from the Old Testament.”
Scripture: 1 Samuel 2:1-8
Then Hannah prayed,
“My heart rejoices in the Lord!
The Lord has made me strong.
Now I have an answer for my enemies;
I rejoice because you rescued me.
No one is holy like the Lord!
There is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.
“Stop acting so proud and haughty!
Don’t speak with such arrogance!
For the Lord is a God who knows what you have done;
he will judge your actions.
The bow of the mighty is now broken,
and those who stumbled are now strong.
Those who were well fed are now starving,
and those who were starving are now full.
The childless woman now has seven children,
and the woman with many children wastes away.
The Lord gives both death and life;
he brings some down to the grave but raises others up.
The Lord makes some poor and others rich;
he brings some down and lifts others up.
He lifts the poor from the dust
and the needy from the garbage dump.
He sets them among princes,
placing them in seats of honor.
For all the earth is the Lord’s,
and he has set the world in order.
Reader: “The word of the Lord . . .”
Response: “as written in the First Testament.”
One of the recurring stories in the Old Testament is that of barren women being blessed by God with a son. Whether it was Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, an unnamed woman, or in this case, Hannah, God was faithful in fulfilling a prayer. In most every instance, the promised son proved to be significant in the unfolding of God’s grand plan. It is interesting to note how Hannah’s words are the parallel to Mary’s prayer of adoration to God following her conception of Jesus. Hannah had been harassed by her husband’s other wife because she was barren. Hannah’s song of joy rejoices in the fact that God answered her prayer in conceiving and giving birth to a son. She could now silence the harasser! Both Hannah’s and Mary’s songs of praise emphasize bringing down the rich and powerful and exalting the poor and the humble. God will bring judgment on the wicked. God is sovereign. The boy, born out of the vow of Hannah, was Samuel. This son of the promise was given to the Lord. Samuel was tremendously significant in the history of the nation of Israel. He was Israel’s last judge and first prophet. In addition, he carried out priestly duties. It was Samuel who anointed Saul as Israel’s first king. And then later he anointed David as king of Israel when God rejected Saul. Samuel was a major player in the history of Israel. The song of his mother was a precursor to the song of Mary and the birth of our Savior. Here is another example of an event in the First Testament pointing prophetically to a significant event involving Jesus in the Last Testament. It is important to recognize and be reminded that all of Scripture fits into one grand narrative of the working of God in bringing redemption and transformation to his creation.
Music: “Magnificat” JS Bach Mormon Tabernacle Choir
My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden:
for behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
Dearest Lord Jesus, O the joy of the barren woman who discovers she is pregnant! Her relentless prayer has finally been answered. The tears of sadness and longing have been replaced with tears of ecstatic joy and gratitude. No more lying awake at night wondering if it will ever happen. It has happened! The gift of motherhood has been given. She is pregnant. Thank you, Jesus! Lord in this prayer we also pray for those who are wishing to be mothers who continue to wait. Grant them hope, trusting in your goodness, kindness, and sovereign will for their lives. We praise you, Lord, for all those who are part of the adoption process, mothers, care givers, and new parents. For, indeed, Lord, we have all been adopted by you as we were orphans in need of a Father. In a culture that has lost its way, devaluing infant life, babies waiting to be born, and motherhood itself, Lord forgive our foolish ways. Forgive our arrogance, our selfishness, our lack of responsibility, our deadness and coldness towards you Father God. Thank you for Hannah’s persistent prayer that resulted in the blessing of the nation of Israel and showing us more of your great compassion. This we pray in the name of our Savior. Amen.