My Heart Rejoices in God!

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1 Samuel 2:1-10 (Hannah’s Song)

INTRODUCTION: Today is the third message in our Life of Samuel series. So far we have looked at Samuel’s birth and dedication. Today we will look at the song Samuel’s mother, Hannah, sang right after she dedicated him to the Lord.

1 Samuel 2:1-10 – Then Hannah prayed and said: “My heart rejoices in the LORD; in the LORD my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance. There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.

“Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the LORD is a God who knows, and by him deeds are weighed. The bows of the warriors are broken, but those who stumbled are armed with strength. Those who were full hire themselves out for food, but those who were hungry hunger no more. She who was barren has borne seven children, but she who has had many sons pines away.

The LORD brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up. The LORD sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor.

“For the foundations of the earth are the LORD’s; upon them he has set the world. He will guard the feet of his saints, but the wicked will be silenced in darkness. “It is not by strength that one prevails; those who oppose the LORD will be shattered. He will thunder against them from heaven; the LORD will judge the ends of the earth. “He will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed.” (NIV)

If I were to sum up the thrust of what Hannah says in her song here, it would be this: “God is in control. Therefore, rejoice!” Have you ever thought about that? God is in control, and therefore we may rejoice in him. It is sometimes hard for us to see this when we are going through a difficult time. That’s when it can be helpful to hear the testimony of someone else who has gone through a difficult time and has already passed to the other side. That’s where Hannah’s song comes in today. This song is her testimony, not only of what God has done in her life but of how God operates in all of life. And so it can be an encouragement to us.

Hannah knew what it was like to suffer pain. She was barren. Her husband’s second wife, Peninnah, often provoked her to tears because of this. But when she cried out to God for a son that she could dedicate to him, God answered her prayer and gave her the boy, Samuel. Hannah fulfilled her responsibility of nursing and weaning Samuel. She fulfilled her vow by dedicating Samuel to the service of the Lord. And now, overcome by emotion at God’s gracious dealings with her, Hannah rejoices in God’s sovereign rule over all things. She cries out, “My heart rejoices in God!” (1 Samuel 2:1) Why does she rejoice? Because God is in control of all things. This is her story. This is her song. Let’s take a look at it together.

I. There is no one like God. (1-2)

    A. No one rescues like God.

Hannah begins by proclaiming there is no one like God. And she says several things about this. First of all, no one rescues like God. Look at verse 1:

Then Hannah prayed and said: “My heart rejoices in the LORD; in the LORD my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance.” (1 Samuel 2:1)

The word translated “rejoice” here is a word that means “to exult or triumph.” It is the rejoicing that is associated with victory. Hannah also speaks of her “horn” in verse one. In the Bible a “horn” is a symbol of strength. Hannah doesn’t claim any strength of her own here. She says, “In the Lord my horn is lifted high.” God is the one who gives us strength when we are weak. God is the one who renews our strength when we are weary. We need to learn to find our strength in God.

Hannah says her mouth boasts over her enemies. So what enemies do you think she is talking about here? Well, you might first think of Peninnah. Peninnah was pretty cruel to Hannah. She intentionally provoked her about her barrenness over a long period of time and often reduced her to tears. But now that Hannah had given birth to a son, Peninnah could no longer mock and provoke her. Peninnah could be one of the enemies Hannah has in mind here. But I think Hannah is mainly thinking of the barrenness itself as her enemy here. Even apart from Peninnah, Hannah’s barrenness was a great source of sorrow and shame to her. Now she had been rescued. She had given birth to a son. Her mouth boasts over her enemies.

Hannah also says, “I delight in your deliverance.” The word translated “delight” here has to do with gladness rather than victory. God had rescued her. He has turned Hannah’s weakness to strength; he has overcome her enemies; he has turned her sorrow into gladness. That’s what God does. No one rescues like God.

    B. No one is holy like God.

Hannah goes on to say that no one is holy like God. Look at verse two:

“There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.” (1 Samuel 2:2)

God’s holiness means first of all his separateness. When we say that God is holy, we mean that God is separate from all creation. He is above all things; he is before all things; he is sovereign over all. But God’s holiness also refers to his righteousness and purity. God is perfectly holy and just. That is important when we talk about God being in control. If an unholy God was in control of the universe, I would not find that very comforting. But God is holy. There is no one holy like the Lord. God is majestic. He is all powerful, all knowing, everywhere present. “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, perfect in power, love and purity.” You cannot compare God to anyone else. There is no one holy like God.

    C. No one protects like God.

No one rescues like God; no one is holy like God; and thirdly, no one protects like God. That’s what Hannah means when she says, “There is no Rock like our God.” In Bible times a rock was a place of safety and refuge. You may look to all sorts of things in life as your refuge or safety net, but there is no safer place than in the hands of God. No matter what trials you may be going through today, when God is your Rock, you are safe, you are protected.

There is no one like God. No one rescues like God; no one is holy like God; no one protects like God. God is in control; therefore, rejoice! My heart rejoices in God.

II. God humbles and exalts. (3-8a)

In the next part of the song Hannah talks about how God both humbles and exalts. Look at verses 3-5:

“Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the LORD is a God who knows, and by him deeds are weighed. The bows of the warriors are broken, but those who stumbled are armed with strength. Those who were full hire themselves out for food, but those who were hungry hunger no more. She who was barren has borne seven children, but she who has had many sons pines away.” (1 Samuel 2:3-5)

In verse 4-5 Hannah gives three examples of what we might call “reversals of fortune” in life. She contrasts the warrior with those who stumble, those who are full with those who hunger, and the barren woman with the woman who has many sons. The warriors’ weapons can be broken, while those who were stumbling suddenly find themselves in a position of strength. Those who were full go hungry, while those who were hungry find plenty of food. She who was barren gives birth to seven sons, but she who has had many sons pines away.

The “seven sons” here in verse five are symbolic. Seven is the number of perfection or completeness in the Bible, and so seven sons would be symbolic of a complete reversal of fortune from a barren state. This last example would have had special meaning for Hannah and her situation. Hannah doesn’t know it yet, but God will bless her with five more children after Samuel, three sons and two daughters, six children in all.

These three examples demonstrate that just because you are in a certain position today does not mean you will be in the same position tomorrow. Life throws you some pretty strange curve balls at times, and you never know what tomorrow might bring.

It is unsettling to think that everything could change in a moment. But then Hannah gives us the second part of this truth. These “reversals of fortune” are not a result of random chance, but rather it is God who humbles and exalts. Look at verses 6-8:

“The LORD brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up. The LORD sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor.” (1 Samuel 2:6-8)

God is the giver and taker of life. God sends both poverty and wealth. He is the one who humbles and exalts. As a result there are two very clear applications for us in all this: Do not be arrogant, and do not be discouraged.

    A. Do not be arrogant.

First of all, if you are in an exalted position today, do not be arrogant about it. That’s what verse three says: “Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the LORD is a God who knows, and by him deeds are weighed.” (1 Samuel 2:3) If you are in a position of power or strength or wealth today, do not be arrogant. Understand that your position could change at any moment. Recognize that you are only there because God put you there. And you will only be there for as long as God chooses for you to be there. God is the one who humbles and exalts a person.

    B. Do not be discouraged.

On the other hand, if you are in a low position today, do not be discouraged about it. That’s what verse eight says: “He [the Lord] raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor.” (1 Samuel 2:8) If you are in a position of weakness or helplessness, do not be discouraged. Understand that your position could change at any moment. Recognize that you are only there because God put you there. And you will only be there for as long as God chooses for you to be there. God is the one who humbles and exalts a person.

This is one of the most important truths you can learn in life. God is in control. He is the one who humbles and exalts. Therefore, do not be arrogant if you are doing well, and do not be discouraged if you are doing poorly. God is in control; therefore, rejoice! My heart rejoices in God.

III. God rules over everything. (8b-10)

Or as Hannah puts it in the final verses of her song, God is sovereign and he rules over everything. Hannah makes three assertions about God’s sovereign rule here: 1) He will establish his people, 2) He will shatter his enemies, and 3) He will give strength to his king.

    A. God will establish his people.

First, God will establish his people. Look at verses 8 and 9:

“For the foundations of the earth are the LORD’s; upon them he has set the world. He will guard the feet of his saints, but the wicked will be silenced in darkness.” (1 Samuel 2:8-9)

The very foundations of the earth belong to the Lord, and the picture here is of God picking up the whole world and setting it on its foundations. This is a poetic way of saying that God both created and sustains the world. And if God created and sustains the whole universe, surely he can take care of his people. That’s the point here. The God who established the earth and set the world upon its foundations will guard the feet or the way of his saints.

“His saints” is just another way of saying “his people.” We become a part of God’s people when we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ his Son. The Bible says that Jesus “gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own.” (Titus 2:14) God will establish his people. He will guard the feet of his saints, but the wicked will be silenced in darkness.

    B. God will shatter his enemies.

That leads us to the second assertion about God’s sovereign rule. God will shatter his enemies. Look at verses 9 and 10:

“It is not by strength that one prevails; those who oppose the LORD will be shattered. He will thunder against them from heaven; the LORD will judge the ends of the earth.” (1 Samuel 2:9-10)

Hannah’s enemy was her barrenness. She could not overcome it in her own strength. She called upon the Lord, and the Lord rescued her.

What God did for Hannah is just a small picture of what God will do in the whole world. Remember, there is no one like God. No one can stand in God’s way. No one can thwart God’s plans. God will shatter those who oppose him. He will thunder against them from heaven. God rules over everything, and he will judge the ends of the earth. God will establish his people, and he will shatter his enemies.

    C. God will give strength to his king.

And then finally, Hannah asserts that God will give strength to his king. Look at the end of verse 10:

“He will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed.” (1 Samuel 2:10)

This part of Hannah’s song is prophetic in a number of ways. First of all, it is prophetic of King David. At the time Hannah sang this song, there was no king in Israel. Israel was still under the rule of the judges. This was a loosely organized time in Israel’s history when everyone basically did what was right in their own eyes. But God had planned for Samuel to be born at this very time in order to lead Israel through the process of anointing a king. And so Hannah’s song is prophetic of King David and the whole line of kings that would follow him.

But it is also prophetic of Jesus the Messiah. The word Messiah means “anointed” and it comes from this very word here in 1 Samuel 2:10. This is the first time the word is used in Scripture to describe a king rather than a priest. Over time Israel would come to understand that God would send his Messiah, the Anointed One, the king from David’s line who would reign forever. In the Old Testament prophets, priests and kings were all anointed. When Jesus came, he came as prophet, priest and king in fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies. Yes, God would give strength to David and exalt his horn as the anointed king of Israel. But this verse finds its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus Christ, who was raised from the dead and exalted to the right hand of God the Father in heaven.

Centuries after Hannah sang her song, God chose a young Israelite woman to give birth to Jesus the Messiah. Her name was Mary, and when she learned that she would give birth to Jesus, she also sang a song very similar to Hannah’s. We call it the Magnificat, and we read it from Luke 1:46-55 earlier in the service today. Mary’s son Jesus is the true anointed king. He is the Son of God who rules over everything.

CONCLUSION: What are some things we can take away from this passage this morning?

1) First of all, know that God is in control. God is aware of all your needs and your struggles, and he encourages you to call upon him in prayer. Feel free to pour out your heart before the Lord. Be honest with him and draw close to him in prayer.

2) Secondly, remember that God is the one who humbles and exalts. Therefore, don’t be arrogant when things are going well, and don’t be discouraged when things are going poorly. God is the great “reverser of fortunes” who humbles the proud and lifts up the humble. Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and he will lift you up in due time.

3) Thirdly, consider the power of testimonies. Hannah shared her testimony in song, and it has served as an encouragement to so many people over the years. When God does something good in your life, talk about it. Let God use your testimony to encourage others.

What a difference we find in Hannah from chapter one to chapter two. Back in chapter one Hannah wept and prayed to the Lord in the bitterness of her soul. Now in chapter two she sings a song of thanksgiving, “My heart rejoices in the Lord.” What was the difference? Hannah had learned that there is no one like God. God is the one who humbles and exalts. God rules over everything in the world. God is in control; therefore, rejoice! My heart rejoices in God!

© Ray Fowler

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