It had been a year since her promise to the Lord of Hosts. A single year. He had kept His promise to her. The word she received that day in hope had become a seed of faith springing into joy. And now the baby boy lay beside her asleep. Full and content. As was she. Elkanah and the rest of the household had traveled to Shiloh for the annual sacrifice. She was still in her time of purification. So, she stayed. She smiled at Samuel. For now, if only for a little while she would hold him in her arms, rest her chin upon the top of his tiny head and breath in his sweet smell. He was hers. If only for a moment. Samuel curled into her, seeking the warmth and comfort she provided. She sang-over the baby and over herself. Peace filled her heart and flowed from her, a palpable presence filling the room.
The years came and went. And each year she did not return to Shiloh to worship. And each time her husband asked her if this was the year. “No, not yet, Kenah.” she would say. “Not until he is completely weaned. Then I will take him to the Lord myself.”
“Okay.” He nodded. “Do what you think is right for you and the child.” He took her hands in his and looked her in the eye. “I pray you will have the strength, Hannah, to do what you promised.”
Hannah locked eyes with her husband and then dropped them to the hands grasped in her lap. Elkanah dropped to one knee so he could look into his wife’s eyes. “And…I pray Yahweh, the One True God, will confirm His word to you.” He dropped her hands, rose, and headed for Shiloh. He would have his son with him one more year.
Over the next year Hannah began to sing songs of peace and victory over her son. He had been told from the time of his birth He was a servant of the Most High God and he would live at the Tabernacle to serve Yahweh and His people. Hannah told him God had great plans for him, that God had seen him before he was formed in the womb and had a hope and a future set before him. As she sang these songs over her son, the words lodged into her spirit. The songs became ones of obedience and surrender and with obedience and surrender came a peace which surpassed her understanding. All this was beyond her, but the peace seemed to stand guard over her heart. Her thoughts and feelings began to fall into line with the promise. She began to notice the change within her and around her. Samuel even noticed and appeared stronger in spirit, mind, and body.
It was time.
Hannah gathered her things for the days’ journey. She had prepared Samuel for this day. She had even showed him the things she was bringing for the sacrifice and explained the purpose a each- three bulls, one ephah of flour, and a skin of wine. When she looked at him her eyes saw a mere boy, a child-her child. But her spirit saw a man of God, called to be a prophet to the nation, purposed to speak to the heart of kings. So, she and Elkanah sacrificed the bull and took Samuel to to Eli, the priest.
Hannah couldn’t remember all the words she said to the priest but she did remember enough. “Sir, do you remember me? Several years ago I prayed to Yahweh for a son. He heard me and granted my request. Now I am giving him to the Lord, and he will belong to the Lord his whole life.”
Hannah was overwhelmed with praise in her heart. She lifted up her voice in a song. “Thank you, Lord,for making me strong! There is no God like You. You are my rock and my salvation. You took this barren woman and made her a mother. You lift me up and cause me to walk in triumph!”
Then she and Elkanah returned home leaving Samuel to serve in the Tabernacle with Eli.
Peace with Acceptance and Obedience
I believe Hannah likely questioned her vow to the Lord. Elkanah prayed the Lord give her strength and she praised God for giving her strength. It would be human to question one’s promise. She may have asked herself if she was just acting out of emotion or if God would really hold her to the promise she made. I’ve questioned decisions of obedience in the past. I bet you have too.
It must have been excruciating to leave her child behind. I honestly can’t even imagine such a heartbreaking decision. But she did it. She chose to walk in obedience and accepted the decision she had made. With that decision came a peace beyond her understanding.
Jewish history says Hannah went often to visit Samuel. It was about an eight hour journey, so she may have been able to go more than the once a year journey for the annual sacrifice. Hannah went on to have five more children and even raised two sons who were not her own.
We may not understand the moment we are in but if we choose to place our trust in the One True God, walk in obedience to Him, and praise Him, then peace will dwell within us and around us.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, faced a similar situation of obedience. She chose absolute peace and acceptance when she said, “I am the Lord’s servant. May Your Word come to pass! I belong to You!”
Peace is not necessarily an absence or war or hardship, but it is a freedom from disturbance within our being. It is a tranquility, a calmness of spirit permeating our soul and exuding into our situation. Hannah endured hardship in her decision. Mary endured hardship in hers! She faced rejection and worse-stoning. But each one chose peace in the midst of tribulation.
Jesus is the Prince of Peace
For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.Isaiah 9:6
Jesus came into a world full of disturbance and turmoil. But Jesus never carried these things. Jesus carried peace, so much so that he became peace. He walked into a room and the atmosphere changed. Jesus was peace but He did not run from conflict. He just knew how to handle it. And he never stepped outside of his peace.
In John Chapter 16, Jesus told his disciples he knew they would leave him all alone. But then he said this: “Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.” In the very next verse he said these words: “I have told you these things,so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Jesus said we WILL have trouble. Not you might. But WILL. What trouble are you facing this season? Whatever it is Jesus is bigger than your situation. He has overcome your situation already. This doesn’t mean your trouble will vanish. It does mean you can have peace in you, for “…greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world…” (I John 4:4
This season, whatever season this is for you, CHOOSE PEACE! Accept the word of the Lord, even if it is difficult, choose obedience and then carry peace-in you and around you. Whatever you are full of spills over. Make the decision now to spill your peace onto others!