A Pilgrimage Fueled by Hope: No Rock Like Our God
By Sharon W. Betters
“There is none holy like the Lord: for there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God. -1 Samuel 2:2 ESV
Do you ever wonder what Elkanah thought about his wife’s vow to give their firstborn son to God? It’s likely she told him about her encounter with Eli and how she not only pleaded with God to give her a son but also promised to give her son back to God. Elkanah could have overturned his wife’s vow. But he did not.
I wish we could interview Elkanah and ask him why he did not reverse his wife’s vow to give their much-desired first-born son to God. Perhaps the answer is not that complicated. Elkanah has already demonstrated that even though there was trouble in the Temple because of the evil behavior of the priests (Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phineas), Elkanah obeyed God’s call to take his family to Shiloh every year to praise God and thank Him for all the undertakings of the past year. Though human leadership failed, Elkanah trusted God was still in control. Elkanah’s outward life reveals a heart surrendered to God and His purposes. His response to Hannah’s tears and inability to eat implies he is content with God closing Hannah’s womb, because of the blessings of their love. If Elkanah lived long enough, he would one day see God led Hannah to pray those words and make that vow, because Elkanah’s son, the prophet Samuel, would be key in leading the people of God.
Through Hannah’s sacrifice of praise, God blessed His people with Samuel as a Prophet. His life bears fruit to this day. For Hannah to experience life, something in her had to die. Hannah’s surrender to God’s purposes and her promise to give her son back to God is a profound picture of dying to self. In dying to self, Hannah becomes a life-giver. Eli gets a second opportunity to raise a “son” destined to call God’s people to holiness and worship. Hannah is a life-giver.
We can see Jesus on every page of Scripture and in Hannah, we have a glimpse of what it means to live through the grid that all things belong to our God. Hannah made a vow and there is no record of her arguing with God when the time came to take little Samuel to the temple. Hannah shows us how to hold onto blessings with unclenched hands.
Jesus taught us to experience life, we must give our lives away. Pour out the old wine of our money, talents, children, status and watch God turn it into new wine that nourishes others with His grace. Jesus not only taught this truth but also showed us how to live it. He gave His life so we might have life. His gift of grace never stops giving.
Are you holding something with clenched fists, afraid to let it go and trust God with the outcome? I remember the moment I realized I could not receive God’s treasures if I kept my fists clenched in an attempt to hold on to my other children. God slowly unwrapped each of my fingers so that my hands opened up in worship and surrender to His purposes. Only then did my countenance begin to change as I found rest for my soul in His sovereign love.
Write in your journal why you are afraid to trust God with the desires of your heart. Ask Him to continue to show you His perfect love and how His plans are to prosper you and not to hurt you. Accept this priceless invitation: Oh taste and see that the Lord is good.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sharon W. Betters is author of Treasures of Encouragement, Treasures in Darkness and co-author of Treasures of Faith. She is Director of Resource Development and co-founder of MARKINC.org, a nonprofit organization that offers help and hope to hurting people. Sharon enjoys quality time with her husband, children, and fourteen grandchildren.
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