Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble bind on strength. Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger. The barren has borne seven, but she who has many children is forlorn. – 1 Samuel 2:3-5 ESV
1 Samuel 2:1-10
“The Lord is a God of knowledge.” What an interesting statement for Hannah to make. But it came from her own experience with Him. He had seen her distress, heard her cry for help and He had answered. Now Hannah was expressing praise to Him for all He had done, but also for who He was. Her God was all-knowing. Nothing escaped His notice. He saw all that was going on. He knew of Hannah’s plight. He was fully aware of her barrenness. He also knew of her ill-treatment at the hands of her husband’s second wife. The God to whom Hannah prayed was wise, caring, compassionate and just. He cared for the humble and the hurting. He came alongside the hungry and the hopeless. How did Hannah know this? She had experienced it. She had been the recipient of God’s grace, mercy and love. She had been downcast and He had lifted her up. She had been barren, but God had give her a son. She had downcast and God had lifted her up. She had cried out and God had answered.
This prayer is not a promise that God is going to right every wrong in our lifetime. It is not a guarantee that God will eliminate every problem we face. It is certainly telling us that every barren woman who cried out to God will bear a child. But it is a sobering reminder that our God is sovereign. He knows all. He is fully aware of all that is going on in our lives. If we are facing injustice or ill-treatment, God knows. If we are suffering from hunger or facing unemployment, God knows. If our spouse treats us with contempt, God knows. If our child is living in open rebellion against us and God, He knows. And while God’s answer may not come in just the same way as it did for Hannah, He will answer us when we call out to Him. We can cry out and know that He hears us. He sees us. He cares for us. He has a plan in mind for us. Hannah had no idea what kind of role her son, Samuel, would play in the future affairs of the nation of Israel. She was clueless as to what was going to happen as a result of her dedication of Samuel to God. But she knew that God knew. Just as God had told the people of Israel living in exile in Babylon, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11 ESV), we need to learn to trust God with our circumstances. We need to see Him for who He is: a sovereign, just, all-powerful, merciful and loving God. He can exalt the lowly, humble the prideful, bless the barren, knock the arrogant down to size, protect the weak, defeat the strong, and right wrongs.
The key to faith is believing these truths without necessarily having seen them or experienced them. It is to pray expectantly to God, hopefully waiting on His answer because we trust in His character. It is why Hannah cried out to God in the first place. “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head” (1 Samuel 1:11 ESV). She was appealing to God based on what she believed about Him. He looks on the affliction of His servants. He remembers and does not forget. He knows. He sees. He answers. He is just, righteous, good and gracious.
It is interesting to note that in this prayer recorded in verses 1-10 of chapter two of 1 Samuel, there is NOT petition. Hannah does not ask for anything. She simply praises God for who He is. It is a prayer of thanksgiving for what He has done. It is an acknowledgement of His sovereignty and a statement of His character. While Hannah was grateful for the son God had so graciously given her, she would be going home without him. He belonged to God now. And yet, her prayer is one of joy, gratitude and worship. Because the real gift she had received was the knowledge that God loved her and cared about her. Rather than make her son the object of her worship, she focused her attention of the one who had made his birth possible. Too often we worship the gift rather than the Giver. We can end up focusing less on God than on what we hope to get from Him. Our desire for blessings from God can overshadow our worship of God. When we are faced with a difficulty or trial, it is enough to know that God knows. We can share our requests. We can make known our desires. But our faith grows as we learn to trust Him for the outcome. He knows what is best. He will do what is right. We can trust Him.