By Ruth Jensen Zschoche
Daily Lectionary reading: I Samuel 2:1-10, Genesis 17:15-22, Galatians 4:8-20
Selected passage for reflection: 1 Samuel 2:1-10 (NLT)
1 Samuel 2:1-10
2:1 Then Hannah prayed:
“My heart rejoices in the Lord!
The Lord has made me strong.[a]
Now I have an answer for my enemies;
I rejoice because you rescued me.
2 No one is holy like the Lord!
There is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.
3 “Stop acting so proud and haughty!
Don’t speak with such arrogance!
For the Lord is a God who knows what you have done;
he will judge your actions.
4 The bow of the mighty is now broken,
and those who stumbled are now strong.
5 Those who were well fed are now starving,
and those who were starving are now full.
The childless woman now has seven children,
and the woman with many children wastes away.
6 The Lord gives both death and life;
he brings some down to the grave[b] but raises others up.
7 The Lord makes some poor and others rich;
he brings some down and lifts others up.
8 He lifts the poor from the dust
and the needy from the garbage dump.
He sets them among princes,
placing them in seats of honor.
For all the earth is the Lord’s,
and he has set the world in order.
9 “He will protect his faithful ones,
but the wicked will disappear in darkness.
No one will succeed by strength alone.
10 Those who fight against the Lord will be shattered.
He thunders against them from heaven;
the Lord judges throughout the earth.
He gives power to his king;
he increases the strength[c] of his anointed one.”
This passage begins with Hannah’s Prayer of Praise. However, if we read chapter one, we understand that Hannah was barren, had prayed for many years for a child and now God finally answered her prayer with a son named Samuel. When Samuel was weaned, (some say around three years old), Hannah gave Samuel back to the Lord. In the last 2 verses of chapter 1, Hannah tells Eli, the Temple High Priest, “I asked the Lord to give me this boy, and he has granted my request. Now I am giving him to the Lord, and he will belong to the Lord his whole life.”
The first ten verses of chapter 2 are known as “Hannah’s Prayer of Praise.” God has finally answered Hannah's prayers. She sings about her heart rejoicing in the Lord, for He has made her strong. She is rejoicing because God has rescued her. Her song tells everyone that there is no one who is holy like the Lord. She knows He is her rock and has been faithful to her. But wait? She is singing this song of praise as she is leaving her 3 year old son at the temple with Eli. Can you imagine after waiting and praying for many years for a son, having God finally answer your prayer, then taking your precious 3 year old son to the temple to leave him with the priest to train him? It’s hard for me to imagine. But not only did Hannah leave him, she sang this beautiful song of praise to God. She starts by saying “My heart rejoices in the Lord! The Lord has made me strong!”
A few years ago I learned that Hannah’s song of praise is connected to Psalm 113 and is also connected to Mary’s song found in Luke 1:47-55, which is known as the Magnificat. Each of these are focused on praising God. What does it mean to praise God? In Psalm 119:164 King David says, “I will praise you seven times a day….” After reading this from King David, I asked myself if I praise the Lord in this way. Did I know what it meant to praise the Lord? I am quick to thank the Lord daily, but thankfulness and praise aren’t the same thing. I often hear people say “Praise the Lord” and I wonder if the response is more about thanking Him than praising Him.
Praising God shares with others His goodness to us. Praising God helps us remember what He has done for us and others. We should praise Him for His mercy, His grace and His judgments. When we praise Him, we remember His faithfulness, His promises to us and His everlasting love.
How do we praise God seven times a day like David encouraged? When I reflected on praising God daily, I decided to memorize Psalm 113 so that praise would be on my lips. I will admit that even though I memorized this Psalm, I still struggle with daily praise. What about you? What does daily praise of God look like in your life?
As you begin to think about what praising God might look like in your life, read again 1 Samuel 2:1-10. Then read Psalm 113 and also Luke 1:47-55. How might you incorporate daily praise to the One who is full of goodness, mercy, grace, faithfulness and everlasting love?
Lord put words of praise in our mouths so that we can lift them up to you daily as Hannah and Mary sang and King David wrote in Psalm 113.
Praise the Lord!
Praise, O servants of the Lord,
praise the name of the Lord!
Blessed be the name of the Lord
from this time forth and forevermore!
From the rising of the sun to its setting,
the name of the Lord is to be praised!
Amen and Amen!
About the Author
Ruth is grateful for retirement from church ministry but continues as a Spiritual Director as well as Enneagram Coach. She delights in holding space and walking alongside women who are listening for God’s movement in their lives. She is Mom to one son, a daughter-in-love and Omi to two beautiful granddaughters. She enjoys running, biking, swimming, reading and praising God in the beautiful Colorado mountains.