Saturday: 22nd December, 2018
Reference text: 1 Samuel 1:24-28
1 Samuel 1:26, 27 And she said, Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the LORD. For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him:
Hannah returns to the house of God in Shiloh, to present Samuel to the Lord in fulfilment of her promise made. No matter how difficult it would be, she was determined to stick to her promise. However, it is not this action of hers that stands out- it is the meaning attached to the words she spoke to Eli- ‘I was the woman who stood here and prayed to the Lord’.
At first glance, it sounds like she offers Eli the opportunity to remember who she was. Not that she was forgetable, but the nature of her distress presented her to Eli as a drunk woman on their first encounter(vrs 14). Her words to Eli this time round, could be summarised into one simple statement, “My name is Hannah, that was my story then, but this is my new story.”
There was more than a single reason why Hannah could return with a new story: the obvious first being that God had answered her prayer. However, she also found herself surrounded by some people who kept her going: her husband, Elkanah, loved her immensely in spite of her situation (vrs 5) and Eli the priest, assured her that God had answered her prayer (vrs 17).
Beloved, very few people can have a different story if there is no one standing with them. A new story can emerge even from the most downward of spirals if there is someone willing to stand by you, speak words of encouragement and assure you that you are really loved. A new story can emerge if anyone just told you that you are capable of so much more and that where you are, is not the end. I don’t know how much encouraging we are doing, but my dear, someone around you needs to be encouraged; so let the exhorters arise.