Read 1 Samuel 1:1-2:11
The opening verses of 1 Samuel took place during a low point in Israel’s history. God had extended a promise of people, land, and blessing to Abraham (Genesis). Those people had experienced exile and return (Exodus-Deuteronomy). After conquering and driving out enemy peoples (Joshua), 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 over again (Judges).
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 choices detrimental to the nation as a whole, they were about to move to a leadership system characterized by kings.
But this national low point also coincided with a personal low in the life of a seemingly insignificant woman by the name of Hannah. Although Hannah was married and loved by her husband, a pressing desire in her life had gone unsatisfied. She yearned for a child. There was nothing she wanted more, and yet God had not allowed her to become pregnant.
What have been some of your greatest disappointments in life? What have been some of your desires that have gone unfulfilled? What did you do about them? If they have still not been realized, what are you doing about them?
Hannah prayed. That is always a good place to start! Prayer causes you to remember that God is the giver of every perfect gift (Js. 1:17). If your desire is to be realized, it will be because God has permitted it.
But part of Hannah’s pray was also 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 your desire. Is this something I want just for me? If I receive it from the hand of God, 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 you to evaluate whether your desire is a godly one.
How do your desires stack up?