Is this a story of rash promises?
Hannah chooses to leave Samuel with Eli to serve God.
When she was in the depths of her sadness, longing for a child, she made a vow:
“O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”
Hannah’s vow wasn’t a rash attempt to coerce God into something he didn’t want to do. This was a slow, deep, God-inspired heart response to what she’d been through for years, and however hard it was for Hannah, and it must have been extremely hard, she was going to keep her vow. She didn’t want to shortchange him, he had heard her cry and given her the desire of her heart.
This sounds like a person who has got to grips with what God is like and with their identity in him.
She knows she matters to God.
She knows that what she has promised matters to him.
She knows she made a real choice and now has a real responsibility to keep her word.
She knows he will enable her to carry that through.
She is free and confident.
She is even rejoicing.
This is what she says, it is remarkable.
“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.”
1 Samuel 2
This God who gave Hannah the grace which enabled her to fulfill her promise to him, also empowers us with that same grace for our challenges, however difficult they may be.
So no, this isn’t a story of rash promises to God, but a story that shows the choices we make do matter..