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May 18, 2022

Yesterday we heard of the wonderful answer to Hannah’s prayer and of her determination to fulfill a very difficult vow to the Lord. Samuel might have only been 3 years old when Hannah gave him up to stay permanently as a Nazarite serving at the Lord’s tabernacle. Hannah is such an example of a Godly woman. No wonder so many girls are named after her!

I noticed an interesting detail in yesterday’s reading. Elkanah also had a vow. When Samuel was newly born and Hannah did not go with the family to Shiloh for the yearly sacrifices, the GNT drew my attention saying that Elkanah went “to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice and the special sacrifice he had promised.” We don’t really know exactly what Elkanah’s special vow would have been. But it is conjectured by commentators that Elkanah was offering a sacrifice in fulfillment of Hannah’s vow about giving birth to a son. According to the Law, a wife’s vow could be revoked by her husband on the day he hears about the vow. But if he doesn’t forbid the wife about the vow on that day, the wife is bound by her vow and it is logical that the husband would share responsibility. As Elkanah left on that year, he told Hannah, “May the Lord make your promise come true.” This is a great example of doing what God commanded about vows. The principle was to always follow through whenever God’s name has been invoked. To do otherwise would be to mar God’s reputation.

Thanks to Claire Greathouse for her dramatic reading of Hannah’s prayer.

This is a favorite psalm, frequently referred to in our hymns and worship songs. It is also the psalm Satan quoted to Jesus to tempt him to jump from the pinnacle of the temple. I feel that the promise that was quoted is not just for Jesus, but is for every believer. I preach to myself here: Let’s memorize and meditate upon this psalm!

Yesterday we saw how the theme of this letter is the Good News, and how believing this message is the center of the way God has designed and revealed for how we are saved— no matter if we are ethnically Jews or non-Jews. The start of this Good News is that our relationship with God has been broken. Understanding this fact is what makes the Good News ‘good’. We don’t start out as ‘nice people’ but as broken people. And Paul will show us in three chapters that this situation obtains for Jews (who think they are so good) and non-Jews (who start out not even having an appearance of ‘good’).

NLT Translation notes:
1Sam. 2:21, 27, 33 The NLT edition I recorded for this podcast and the current edition display rather large differences in these three verses.
21 I read, [And the LORD gave Hannah three sons and two daughters.//new version: And the LORD blessed Hannah, and she conceived and gave birth to …]
27 [old version: … when the people of Israel were slaves in Egypt//new: to your ancestors when they were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt]
33 [old version: Those who survive will live in sadness and grief, and their children …//new: The few not cut off from serving at my altar will survive, but only so their eyes can go blind and their hearts break, and their children will die a violent death.]
Rom. 1:8 Let me say first that I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your [fully believing//faith] in him is being talked about all over the world.
12 When we get together, I want to encourage you in your [fully believing in Christ//faith], but I also want to be encouraged [in the same way by you//by yours].
16 For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—[both Jews, and also non-Jews//the Jew first and also the Gentile.
[As I have said repeatedly already, translating pistis/pistew (same root word) by the different-appearing words in English ‘faith’ and ‘believe can cause misunderstanding for some English speakers. (This certainly happens in Indonesian where the same root was translated as ‘iman’ and ‘percaya’.) Keeping the word ‘believe’ in all places helps us to see the continuity/cohesion. Our being ‘made right’ in God’s sight is not accomplished by the fuzzy touchy-feely stuff Americans often refer to by the word ‘faith’.]
17 This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by [our fully believing this message (the Good News)//faith]. As the Scriptures say, “It is through [fully believing//faith] that a righteous person has life.”


Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.