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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Montrone

Rejoicing: a weapon of spiritual warfare?

The other day I was pondering what to read in the Bible for that morning, and I opened up to 2 Samuel just as I was opening the Bible and thinking, and the editor of this particular Bible had written something to the effect, “It is important to read 1 Samuel before reading 2 Samuel," so I thought, “That’s what I’ll start reading: 1 Samuel”  So.  I did.  This will be part of my daily reading for quite some time, as I intend to continue through 2 Samuel.  Ah.  I love the idea of it. 


Today brings me to Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel chapter 2.  What an amazing prayer.  First, she is clearly overcome by the Holy Spirit/filled with the Holy Spirit as Mary was in what is now referred to as “the Magnificat,” as Elizabeth was when she spoke on seeing pregnant Mary while she was pregnant with John the Baptist, as Miriam was when she made her proclamation “The horse and rider are thrown into the sea,” and as Deborah the judge was when she sang with Barak the son of Abinoam after Sisera was killed with a tent peg by Jael, Heber’s wife.   Well.  Right there a good study topic; women’s songs of the Bible as they were filled with the Holy Spirit.  Of course, this does not have to be confined to women, but it makes it more focused on this particularly lovely interaction of God with women. 


First, to think about the entire situation of Hannah.  This woman was desperately sad with unanswered prayer for years and years, unable to become pregnant.  Having been through this myself and known many other women in the same predicament, I can understand her obsession with this problem, her longing, the way she was disappointed every single month when she got her period. In Hannah's case, she also lived with Eli's other wife and their children, and the majority of women in her society were fertile and having babies all the time.

Daily, especially in that culture, she felt inadequate, perhaps saw herself as unpleasing to God and, therefore, undeserving of children.  She is so overcome with grief and longing that she pours out her heart before God to such an extent that Eli confuses her with someone who is flat-out drunk. 


No longer sad

What I note especially in this interaction – her prayer in the temple asking God for a son – that once she has spoken with Eli, he understands she is simply beside herself with grief and not drunk, and he blesses her:


 “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of Him.”


Then, she is at peace.  She clears herself from crying, her appetite returns, she eats, and it says “her face was no longer sad.”


Right there.  She knows this transaction has been accomplished.  By faith, she is sure of this.  She doesn’t pray and the walk away crossing her fingers and hoping she has a better chance of conceiving.  She doesn’t keep asking and asking.  She is finished. She is confident.  She doesn’t know when this will happen, but she knows it will. 


Samuel is conceived shortly after they return home from the yearly worship at Shiloh.  Interesting that Hannah named him – I am sure Elkanah was thrilled for her and wanted her to do that – SAMUEL, which means “Because I have asked him from the LORD.” How wonderful. 


Now. She tells her husband she will not go to Shiloh for the yearly worship time until Samuel is weaned, and then she will take him herself and leave him there with Eli at the temple to be raised for the service of the LORD.  How sweetly God works to accomplish His purposes, as Samuel was His intention, not simply an answer to a desperate girl’s prayer.  His kindliness here to Hannah in such an intimate and fatherly manner is beautiful to contemplate.  His intricate involvement in the life of the individual is beautiful to behold. 


You have to wonder how difficult this was for Hannah.  It had to be.  As a mother I can’t imagine taking Krista at three or four years old and leaving her to be raised in a temple and not by me.  However, nothing is said about that.  We aren’t given the impression that she was distraught, but, rather, her song – clearly inspired directly by the filling of the Holy Spirit – is joyful, exultant, triumphant, clear, and strong. 


“My heart exults in the LORD;

My horn [strength] is exalted in the LORD,

My mouth speaks boldly against my enemies,

Because I rejoice in Your salvation.”

Wow.  This is absolutely fantastic!  God has clearly put in her heart such overwhelming joy that she is NOT left bereft or destitute but instead, I have to think, feeling joyful that she could give this precious offering of her son – her only son – to the LORD.  This indicates to me that Hannah loved the LORD deeply.  The LORD was not simply a way to get her prayer answered, but His answer to her prayer was such supreme evidence to her that He – the God of all creation – loved her personally and intimately that she felt so happy to give to Him her son as a joyful offering; a heartfelt and loving gift.  When you think about it, she knew she was giving Samuel to God Himself for Him to raise, and how could anything be better than that? 


Rejoicing: a weapon of spiritual warfare?

Now.  Back to this first part of her prayer, which I will be taking apart over the next few days. 


Hannah is exultant.  EXULTANT.  She is STRONG.  “My HORN is exalted in the LORD,” she says; i.e., “My strength is exalted in the LORD.”  She is not weak, she is not crying, she is not bereft.  In fact, she very boldly proclaims her victory over her enemies.  AND. I don’t think she is superficially referring to those who might have ridiculed her over her barrenness, such as her husband’s other wife and those in her society, but over her spiritual enemies


“My mouth speaks boldly against my enemies,

Because I rejoice in Your salvation.”


Think of this.  Think of this as it might apply to you and to me.  We don’t foolishly rail against Satan or bring an accusation against such powerful forces of darkness.  Michael the Archangel did not do this when disputing about the burial of Moses, we are told in the book of Jude, BUT… BUT… BUT…!  Our mouths can speak boldly against our enemies because we rejoice in His salvation


In other words, I would take this to say, my rejoicing in God’s salvation is how I speak boldly against my enemies!  This very rejoicing; joy in the LORD, exultation in worship and in contemplating all of His wonder - this is a bold pronouncement in and of itself against my spiritual enemies.  There is no need for “Get thee behind me Satan,” direct conversational confrontation of the enemy (no, for us always, “The LORD rebuke thee!”). 

Instead: rejoice, delight, revel in the love and salvation of God, and that is literally “speaking boldly against my enemies.” 


It doesn’t get any better than that.  I love the LORD.  I praise Him.  I delight myself in Him. I read and study His Word and bless His name, play music in worship to Him, sing to Him, whatever.  These are all pleasant things to do – pure joy – and in doing that I am engaging in bold spiritual warfare?  I am “speaking boldly against my enemies?” 

Yes. YES!


Well, then.  Amen, and amen. 

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