And the Boy Grew in the Presence of the Lord
Then Elkanah went home to Ramah. And the boy was ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli the priest. Samuel was ministering before the Lord, a boy clothed with a linen ephod. And his mother used to make for him a little robe and take it to him each year when she went up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. Then Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, and say, “May the Lord give you children by this woman for the petition she asked of the Lord.” So then they would return to their home. Indeed the Lord visited Hannah, and she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. And the boy Samuel grew in the presence of the Lord.
2 Samuel 2:11, 18-21 ESV
Slowly, slowly life crashed down on Hannah. Year after year she longed for a child, but God closed her womb. Her default mode in the face of disappointment was to continue her practice of corporate worship and prayer.
Next week we will see that her personal worship grew deep roots into the heart of God and that intimacy equipped and enabled her to choose to trust God when her heart was breaking. We will unpack Hannah’s beautiful worship song in 2 Samuel 2. But now, let’s take a few minutes to soak up some of Hannah’s joy that eventually filled her life:
We see that Samuel accepted the call to serve God:
Then Elkanah went home to Ramah. And the boy was ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli the priest. Samuel was ministering before the Lord, a boy clothed with a linen ephod.
2 Samuel 2:11, 18 ESV
We also see that Hannah did not turn over her boy to Eli and forget him. No, every year she carefully created a little robe for her boy and delivered it to Samuel when she traveled with her family to Shiloh for their annual worship pilgrimage. I imagine Hannah lovingly preparing just the right fabric, praying over every minute she invested in this reminder of her love for Samuel and the Lord. During those visits Eli blessed Hannah and asked the Lord to bless Elkanah and her with more children:
Then Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, and say, “May the Lord give you children by this woman for the petition she asked of the Lord.” So then they would return to their home.
2 Samuel 2:20 ESV
We don’t know how long the Lord waited, but He gave Hannah the desires of her heart:
Indeed the Lord visited Hannah, and she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. And the boy Samuel grew in the presence of the Lord.
2 Samuel 2:21 ESV
Hannah’s life overflowed with children that she knew God gave to her. I see such ever growing treasures in the births of these five children. Not only did they fill Hannah’s heart with love, they filled her days with enormous responsibilities that kept her moving forward. If her thoughts turned to Samuel and tried to lead her to a dark place, surely one of her five children distracted her with their own urgent needs! I think every mother can relate to the joy Hannah must have experienced as she looked into the eyes of each newborn little child, knowing each was a priceless, personal gift from God. It’s not hard to imagine her singing joyful songs of praise in thanksgiving after each birth.
It’s in the darkness that we often experience some of the greatest treasures. We don’t know why God closed Hannah’s womb, yet we see her faith deepen. We watch as God in mercy opens her womb and places in it a little baby that would one day serve God’s people as a faithful and godly priest. Hannah’s son would be a stark contrast to the “worthless” sons of Eli. As a little boy, Samuel heard God speak to him and one day Samuel would anoint David as God’s chosen King.
Hannah’s broken heart drove her to lament before her God. What incredible trust we see that she has in Him, to vow to give her firstborn son to God. Out of the darkness came a priceless treasure. Out of Hannah’s womb God brought a man who would communicate God’s truth to His people.
In the darkness God gives us treasures that help turn our hearts toward Him and remind us that He calls us by name. During a very rocky road in my own life pilgrimage, Hannah’s story encouraged me to embrace the truth that God is sovereign and I can trust Him. Hannah calls back to each of God’s children that He hears our cries and He responds with mercy.
STORE UP MORE TREASURES
At some point in our lives, we or someone we know will go through great suffering. I encourage you to go the MARKINC website and listen to the interview "The Aftermath of Abortion" so that you can store up treasures of encouragement for the next rainy day in your life or someone else's. Here is a summary and teaser of this resource:
Post Abortion Stress Syndrome, though not recognized in the medical community, is a real diagnosis in which thousands of women and men live with guilt, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, and more in the aftermath of abortion. In this interview, Jill, a woman who has had four abortions, offers her story as a means to encourage women and men to discover the healing that is possible.