Reader: ““My heart rejoices in the Lord!”
Response: “The Lord has made me strong.”
Scripture: 2 Samuel 2:1-10
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.
“He will protect his faithful ones,
but the wicked will disappear in darkness.
No one will succeed by strength alone.
Those who fight against the Lord will be shattered.
He thunders against them from heaven;
the Lord judges throughout the earth.
He gives power to his king;
he increases the strength of his anointed one.”
Reader: “The word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
The good news is that the Lord answered Hannah’s prayer for a child (I Sam.1:19-28). He gave her Samuel who became the first great prophet in Israel. He anointed Israel’s first king, Saul, and its greatest, King David. He confronted Eli with his failure to discipline his own corrupt sons. And Samuel powerfully led Israel through rough waters, challenging them continually to follow the Lord. All of Israel gathered when he died to mourn his death. He was buried at his home in Ramah, which is there to this day. We visited this site when we went to Israel years ago. Samuel even appeared after his death to bring judgment on Saul for his failures following the Lord and to announce his impending death! His ministry continued from the grave, also confirming again that there is life after death.
In today’s passage, Hannah’s song of praise and Mary’s song of praise, which we’ll look at tomorrow, have many of the same themes. Bringing down the rich and powerful and exalting the poor and downtrodden are common references in both songs. For example, as wealthy men, Eli was not a stellar priest to say the least; Saul was an unrighteous ruler in Hannah’s time; and Herod was a terrible ruler in Mary’s day. The poor, Samuel, David, and Jesus were exalted from their humble and lowly positions to be powerful men fulfilling God’s purposes. In other similarities, Samuel and Jesus were both dedicated for God’s service in the Temple. Samuel anointed David for service and John the Baptist through the Holy Spirit anointed Jesus for ministry. In passing, a minor note, Hannah’s song refers to a childless woman who had seven children. She had five more after Samuel. We know that Mary, Jesus’ mother, had at least seven children. Hannah’s song describes Jesus’ ministry in a beautiful way. As you read through her hymn, all the various acts of Jesus easily come to mind. My guess is that Mary knew Hannah’s song well since the Scriptures tell us she was an observant Jew who loved her Lord (Lk.2:41). Both women responded in a beautiful and artful way to the intervention of God entering their lives to advance his plan of redemption. It is interesting that they could have also added their names to the “poor and unassuming.” That’s the same place we all fit in. Let us be as faithful as these women.
Music: “Hannah’s Prayer” Edmund and Gisela Bullock
“O Holy Night” Il Divo You will listen to this one multiple times. Voices from heaven!!!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5j_XuATgRU DON’T MISS IT!! One of the best of the whole Advent Season!
Lord, do not permit my trials to be above my strength; and do thou vouchsafe to be my strength and comfort in the time of trial. Give me grace to take in good part whatever shall befall me; and let my heart acknowledge it to be the Lord’s doing, and to come from Thy Providence, and not by chance. May I receive everything from Thy hand with patience and with joy. Amen. ―Thomas Wilson (1663-1755), Prayers Ancient and Modern, p.170