Hannah is Provoked

Marianne Orme | May 18, 2017

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1 Samuel 1:10–11 

And she was in bitterness of soul and prayed the Lord and wept in anguish. Then she made a vow and said “… then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life and no razor shall come upon his head.”

—1 Samuel 1:10–11 NET Bible

Hannah is a beloved Old Testament character who suffered years of longing for a child. For Hannah, service and participation in God's plan was more important than the chance to raise her first child in the family home. After many years of waiting, together with her husband, Elkanah, she made the vow quoted above. She understood that the vow affected her husband and the child she requested, not just herself.

Of course, Hannah loved and prayed for her son Samuel even after he began living with the Priest, Eli. She still cared for him, even making robes for him (1 Sam. 2: 19). Only later, when other children were born, did Hannah have a chance to raise a child, in her home (verse 21).

Hannah was already cherished by her husband before becoming a mother. She also desired to serve and worship God. These aspects of her identity were secure; and yet she wanted more. She recognized that God had a different plan for her than for many women.

The plan was difficult for Hannah and her family, but the narrator of her story makes it clear that this plan was from God. Hannah did not know the specifics—about God's plan to judge Eli's family or her son's role in the judgment. But she did know her own hunger to serve and be part of God's plan. God used her faith to bring forth the miraculous blessing of the prophet Samuel and his service to the Israelite community.

God's call on our lives and the lives of those we love is His and in His hands—not our own. This is a hard but important lesson that we must learn again and again.

Questions for reflection and discussion: What is the hardest part about staying open to whatever God may call you or family to your do? Pray for new insight from God for His vision and calling for you.

This week's devotions were written by Marianne Koop Orme. Marianne has attended WBC for two years with her husband and two sons. She published book reviews in Library Journal for 13 years, drawing on her librarian's training and Master's degree in Old Testament studies.

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