The unusual ways of God

In 1 Samuel 2:1-3 we read,

Hannah prayed:
My heart rejoices in the LORD;
my horn is lifted up by the LORD.
My mouth boasts over my enemies,
because I rejoice in your salvation.
There is no one holy like the LORD.
There is no one besides you!
And there is no rock like our God.
Do not boast so proudly,
or let arrogant words come out of your mouth,
for the LORD is a God of knowledge,
and actions are weighed by him.

In her discussion of this passage, Mary Evans writes:

It was not unusual for women to reflect theologically on their circumstances and to present that reflection in the form of a song. Miriam and Deborah are well-known examples of other women psalmists (Exod. 15; Judg. 5), and, later on, Mary perhaps used Hannah’s song as the basis for her own reflections (Luke 1:46–55). However, the fact remains that the privilege of providing the main theological introduction to the whole account of the history of the Israelite monarchy is given to Hannah (The Bible Speaks Today Series, pp. 18-19).

She also notes:

The books of Samuel and Kings go on to describe the often rather sorry history of the power struggles within Israel as kings and potential kings battled for supremacy; sometimes taking account of God’s purposes, but often not. However, the story begins here, with this reflection on power and powerlessness and on God’s attitude to human views of status. It is presented via the lips of an apparently insignificant woman. Hannah tells us of the power of God and the unsupported arrogance of human beings who are essentially powerless. She was very much aware of her own weakness, but nevertheless saw herself as empowered by God; given power, not to control the lives of others, but to live in the light of strength provided by God. The message was one that future kings also needed to hear and take note of, which is almost certainly why the compilers of Samuel included Hannah’s song here (The Bible Speaks Today Series, p. 19)

What a remarkable, astonishing story. In a book about kings, the godly theology of power comes from a formerly barren woman who is totally dependent on God.

What will I do with my power today?

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