Hannah’s Joy in Yahweh’s Faithfulness to Israel

  • Brian Overholtzer
Water being splashed

Last week I wrote on the topic of how God’s promises to the nation of Israel saturate their deepest devotions to the Lord. Israel’s devotion to Yahweh’s covenant faithfulness with them is even seen in what is described as their “National Anthem” (Deuteronomy 32). This week, I want to take us through an Old Testament devotional that is dependent on God’s faithfulness to Israel.


Hannah was a woman who was unable to bear children (1 Samuel 1:2, 5). She lived during the time of the Judges. During the days of the Judges, Israel experienced the incredible wrath of God because they were rebellious against their covenant God, Yahweh. Some of the consequences of Israel’s disobedience included oppression by neighboring nations, famine, pestilence, and child barrenness. Even though there were believing and faithful Israelites at this time, such as Hannah, the covenant Israel made with Yahweh impacted the entire nation. During these times of judgment, God’s Word called on Israel to repent of their sins and trust in Yahweh to fulfill His promises for the nation of Israel. Hannah’s prayer is an example of such an Israelite. Her prayer reflects not only her trust in Yahweh to fulfill His promises to Israel, but also her absolute joy of experiencing these promises in her own life.


Hannah’s prayer is found in 1 Samuel 2:1–10. Her prayer is filled with theology. Throughout her prayer, she quotes and bases her prayer on God’s promises to Israel that are found in Deuteronomy 32. Hannah’s prayer reflects a deep dependence on God’s Word and applying it to her life. The depth of her prayer makes it difficult to capture the entirety of it in this blog, so we will look at some of the highlights of her prayer.


The overarching theme of this prayer is Yahweh’s faithfulness to His people Israel. Throughout Genesis, Yahweh gave very specific promises to Abraham. These included Yahweh’s irreversible promise to give offspring to Abraham as many as the stars of the sky and as the sand of the seashore. Not only would Yahweh multiply Abraham’s descendants, but He would prosper them, bless them, and make them a great nation. Yahweh promised to curse those who cursed Israel and bless those who blessed them. Yahweh also promised to Abraham that there would be a specific male offspring who would once and for all defeat all of God’s enemies. Scripture progressively reveals this to be the Messiah who would crush the head of Satan (Gen 3:15). Hannah’s prayer reflects Yahweh’s faithfulness to be true to all of these promises in her life and the future.


Joy in the Comprehensiveness of Yahweh’s Salvation (2:1)


In the first verse of the prayer, Hannah begins with extolling and exalting Yahweh for what she describes as His salvation. Hannah knew of the comprehensiveness of the salvation that Yahweh provides. Hannah expressed her absolute joy in this comprehensive salvation by giving to her God her emotions, strength, and the very praise from her mouth.


Joy in the Faithfulness of Yahweh’s Attributes (2:2)


Hannah was a theologian. I believe this to be one of the strengths of her commitment to God. After asserting her faith in Yahweh’s salvation, she ensures to give her God the glory that is due to Him. Hannah was aware of Deuteronomy 32 which was Israel’s National Anthem that also ascribed glory to God for being the only God, for being the unmovable rock, and for being perfectly holy. These attributes especially focus on Yahweh’s faithfulness and ability to be true to His promises.


Joy in the Comprehensiveness of Yahweh’s Faithfulness (2:3–9)


Yahweh gave certain promises to Abraham and His offspring. In verses 3–9 of her prayer, Hannah recounts how Yahweh is faithful to all these promises.


1 Samuel 2:3               Yahweh’s faithfulness over Israel’s enemies

1 Samuel 2:4–5           Yahweh’s faithfulness: To the weak, hungry, and barren

1 Samuel 2:6–7           Yahweh’s faithfulness: In life and death, to the poor, and the humble

1 Samuel 2:8–9           Yahweh’s faithfulness to Exalt and Protect Israel


Yahweh promised Abraham and His descendants that He would bless them and curse their enemies. This is especially seen in 1 Samuel 2:4–9 where Hannah relates the greatness of God’s faithfulness to Israel even when they are weak, hungry, barren, dead, poor, and humiliated. Hannah recognizes that her God can reverse Israel’s humble position and exalt them to their intended purpose as a nation. 


Joy in Yahweh’s Faithfulness to Restore Israel (2:10)


Because Hannah knew her Bible, she was able to identify Yahweh’s faithfulness in her life and His resolute commitment to the future of ethnic and national Israel and the world. This plan includes Yahweh’s defeat of His enemies, the judgment of the world, and the fulfillment of this plan by the reign of the King, Jesus Christ.


The church can greatly benefit from Hannah’s prayer in that just as God was faithful to His promises in Hannah’s life, we know that God will be faithful to His church. During Hannah’s life, she was concerned for God’s promise and plan for Israel. She was wholly committed to God’s promises even in adversity from God’s enemy. Likewise, the church should be diligent in Christ’s promises, plan, and purpose for His church.


One way the church should be a beacon of Christ is to commit to an uncompromising stance against the enemy that opposes God’s plan and design for marriage. Canada is in the process of making it illegal for pastors and biblical counselors to preach or counsel concerning the biblical teaching of marriage, gender, and homosexuality. This morning, Al Mohler brought this very close home in alerting his audience that the City Council of West Lafayette Indiana is set to vote on an ordinance that would make it illegal for churches to counsel minors regarding biblical teaching on gender and homosexuality. Soon, there will be serious consequences for preaching on gender, homosexuality, and marriage. This looming reality can cause stress, anxiety, and fear for the church. While the church remains faithful to God’s Word, we can rejoice in persecution because we know God was faithful to Hannah in her distress and will be faithful to the people and nation of Israel in the end. Yahweh is true to Israel and is true to His church. Like Hannah, our hearts can overflow with joy for God’s faithfulness in the midst of adversity.