August 11: 1 Samuel 1

God's people may find themselves in extraordinary circumstances, but God's grace is always sufficient and powerful to enable us to persevere and display extraordinary acts of godliness. Such is the lesson of the first chapter of 1 Samuel where Hannah's desperate circumstances (her childlessness) finds her at the temple in Shiloh, praying one of the most exquisite prayers in Scripture. Hannah's husband, Elkanah, has taken another wife, Peninnah, who is fertile and given to seasonal pregnancy and taunts Hannah to the point where all Hannah can do is weep (1 Sam. 1:7).

But, in a moment of sheer selfless courage, Hannah prays (and is accused of drunkenness in doing so by the witless priest, Eli): "if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life..." (1 Sam. 1:11).

Give to me and I will give him back to you
Was there ever a more selfless prayer in Scripture other than the prayers of Jesus on behalf of his people? Hannah realizes that the purposes of God are greater than her own desires. Natural and earnest her feelings were for a child, she was willing to submerge her own desires to that of the more ultimate will of Almighty God. She wanted a son, but a godly one - one so godly that his life would given in the service of God from infancy and she would see him but rarely.
Are we willing to submit our own desires to those greater purposes of the kingdom of God? Are we willing to that when it is our children that are in view? Would we be willing to echo the devotion of Hannah's heart, in effect saying: Not my will but yours be done - whatever the cost to me personally.

O love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in Thee,
I give Thee back the life I owe....
[George Mattheson].


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