Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of Hannah continued...
In reading Hannah’s prayer as she came to deliver Samuel to the house of the Lord, we begin to understand the true depth of her relationship with God. Someone with a tangential knowledge of who God is could not have prayed such an eloquent and all-encompassing prayer. Hannah knew God and knew Him intimately.
For eleven verses, Hannah speaks of God’s uniqueness, His omnipotence, His sovereignty, His mercy, His love, and His goodness.
This was not a rehearsed prayer; it was not a prayer she memorized then came to deliver in the house of the Lord to impress Eli. It was a prayer of the heart birthed of the knowledge of the greatness of the God who can do all things, including make a barren womb fertile.
When we come to possess knowledge of how great God is, we can’t help but be in awe of Him. It is only when we do not know God, or when we possess only a superficial knowledge of His attributes that we can’t find the words to give Him thanks.
Hannah was not a prophetess, yet she prayed a prophetic prayer. Hannah was not a scribe, or even the wife of a scribe, yet she knew God on a far deeper level than many of the elders and priests of her day.
One need not attend seminary, be a minister, have a title, or possess a diploma in order to know God. God does not reveal Himself to a select few who attend Bible College, but to all who desire to know Him, and fellowship with Him.
Our God is an equal opportunity God, who sees neither gender nor nationality, who sees neither age nor level of intelligence. If we seek Him, we will find Him, and if we desire a deeper walk with Him, He is but a prayer away.
Even in her prayer of sorrow and grief, Hannah did not attempt to remake God in her image, or approach Him from a position of entitlement. ‘If you will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me,’ does not denote that Hannah was demanding God give her a son, or that she would be bitter if He didn’t.
Hannah surrendered herself to the will of God for her life, knowing God knew best and trusting in His plan for her life. We could learn a lesson or two from this woman of the faith, and her humility and subservience to the authority of God are among the lessons we can learn.
Hannah knew the God to whom she prayed. She did not know about Him, she knew Him.
This is an important distinction many people today refuse to make, because their pride will not allow them to admit that though they know about God, they do not know God personally.
I know about Tim Tebow…I don’t know Tim Tebow.
If I showed up at the man’s house, he’d likely call the police and have me removed from his property, because although I know of him, I don’t know him personally, and he doesn’t know me.
That, in a nutshell, is the difference between knowing about God, and knowing God Himself.
Most tragic by far, are those individuals who possessing knowledge about God, assume that they know Him. Such individuals are not few in number, but are in fact many, and in that day of which Jesus Himself speaks, they will have a rude if belated awakening.
Matthew 7:21-23, “Now everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord; shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’”
Taking the words of Jesus at face value, we come to understand that there are individuals who prophecy, cast out demons, and do many wonders in His name, without ever really knowing Him. They know of Him, they use His name as an authority, but as far as truly knowing Him, following after Him, and doing the will of the Father which is no less than to be holy, they are reticent.
I submit that Hannah, simple, backward, and basic as some might consider her to be, knew the attributes of God and the power of God on a far deeper level than most seminary graduates today.
Chances are better than good that Hannah, this selfsame Hannah who knew God on such an intimate and intense level, was likely illiterate. She did not have her own leather-bound, red letter Bible with her name embossed on the cover, she did not have access to the vast ocean of theological treatise, doctrinal essays, books, recordings, videos, podcasts and blogs we do, yet she knew God far more profoundly than most do today.
Knowing God is about spending time with Him. Knowing God is about humbling ourselves and obeying rather than attempting to have a conversation by which we hope to somehow change His mind on a certain topic.
Knowing God isn’t just about knowing His love, it is also about knowing His justice, righteousness, holiness, and sovereignty.
When we know only one dimension of a multi-dimensional God, we know of Him, but don’t really know Him. When we take one attribute of God and fashion our entire belief structure around that singular attribute, we are no longer worshipping the one true God in spirit and in truth, but a god of our own making, whom we’ve allowed to supplant the one true God in our hearts.
Philippians 3:10-11, “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.