Then Elkanah her husband said to her, "Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? And why is your heart grieved? Am I not better to you than ten sons?"
So Hannah arose after they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the tabernacle of the LORD.
And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the LORD and wept in anguish.
Then she made a vow and said, "O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head."
[1 Samuel 1:8-11 NKJV]
Hannah (grace) wept because she greatly desired to have a male child. She prayed fervently in her distress, vowing that I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.
Her husband Elkanah (God has possessed or God has created) is concerned for Hannah, but seems not to understand the measure of her grieving. Eli (ascension) the priest even assumes that Hannah has been drinking, but she is determined. And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD. [1 Samuel 1:15 NKJV]
As we read on, the result of Hannah’s prayer is the prophet Samuel (heard of God, his name is ‘El’). Part of Hannah’s prayer was that no razor shall come upon his head. A strange thing to our ears, but a symbolic statement that would be well understood in those far off days. Hannah was saying that her son Samuel’s mind would always have The Lord’s covering; that The Lord would forever guide Samuel’s life, and that nothing would come between her son and the guiding life of the Father in him.
Oh, that it would be so for us all in these days — that there be nothing that severs the connection with the divine life in us, and that what happened to Samson (Judges 16:19-20), when his strength was lost when his hair was shaved from his head, be not a part of our experience.
What we see in the razor (shaving off the hair on the head) is the loss of The Lord’s covering — a simple turning or drawing away from God, and easily done in a moment of weakness, when we are distracted from our purpose.
One more thing. In this brief story we see that Samuel was born to Hannah, that he whose name or nature is of God is born from grace. The life of God in us is not something we can work at , it is the gift of God, His unmerited favour to us. God is good.
PRAYER: Lord help me to be resolute and steadfast in looking to you for all that I need. Help me also, that I be not drawn away by the pleasures and temptations of this earthly life and that my focus be first and foremost on You, the author and finisher of my faith, whose grace to me is undeserved, but gratefully received.
The cross of discipleship is that I daily and hourly delight to tell my human nature that I am not my own, I no longer claim my right to myself.
GEORGE and GILL STEWART