Read 1 Samuel 1:1-2:11
Israel was at a low point in her history. God had extended a promise to Abraham, a promise of people, land, and blessing. After conquering and driving out enemy peoples, God’s chosen nation cycled through periods of disobedience and difficulty until He placed a judge over them to rescue them. But their obedience and resultant blessing never seemed to last long. Soon, the cycle started again.
The opening chapters of 1 Samuel introduce for us a transition. Whereas God’s people, the priests, and even the judges that served them often made detrimental choices detrimental for the nation as a whole, they were about to move to a leadership system characterized by kings.
This national low point also coincided with a personal low in the life of a seemingly insignificant woman named Hannah. Although married and loved by her husband, a pressing desire in Hanna’s life had gone unsatisfied. She yearned for a child. She wanted nothing more. Still, God had not allowed her to become pregnant.
What have been some of your greatest disappointments in life? What unfulfilled desires have you experienced in your life? What did you do about them? What are you doing about those yet unfulfilled desires?
Hannah prayed. That is always a good place to start! Prayer reminds us that God is the one who gives every perfect gift (Js. 1:17). If your desire is to be realized one day, it will be only because God has permitted it.
As she prayed, Hannah also made a vow. It was an agreement with God. If He would grant her a son, then she would dedicate him to the Lord. While we could spend much time talking about making bargains with God, it is important to evaluate our desires. Is this something I want just for me? If God’s hand allows it, am I willing to place it back in His hands? How can I honor him with it if He grants it to me? This Hannah sort of prayer forces us to evaluate whether our desire is a godly one.
How do your desires stack up?