So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest was sitting on his seat by the door-post of the temple of Yahweh. She was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to Yahweh, and wept sore. She vowed a vow, and said, Yahweh of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your handmaid, and remember me, and not forget your handmaid, but will give to your handmaid a man-child, then I will give him to Yahweh all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come on his head. It happened, as she continued praying before Yahweh, that Eli marked her mouth. Now Hannah, she spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken. Eli said to her, “How long will you be drunken? Put away your wine from you.” Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I poured out my soul before Yahweh. Don’t count your handmaid for a wicked woman; for out of the abundance of my complaint and my provocation have I spoken hitherto.” Then Eli answered, “Go in peace; and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of him.” She said, “Let your handmaid find favor in your sight. So the woman went her way, and ate; and her facial expression wasn’t sad any more.” -1 Samuel 1:9-18 (WEB)
Moreover his mother made him a little robe, and brought it to him from year to year, when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. -1 Samuel 2:19 (WEB)
“I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life.” It’s one thing to say it, but quite another to do it. Hannah kept her vow and brought young Samuel to serve the Lord at the temple. Why? She had made a commitment to God and was intent on keeping it.
How could she give up her son, knowing she would only see him once a year? Certainly she wanted to remove the stigma of being barren, but why give him to the Lord “all the days of his life?” Why not just a few years? Why not keep him until he was grown and then give him to the Lord? Scripture doesn’t tell us, but perhaps it was because she knew that anything less than total commitment is not pleasing to God.
How often have we made commitments and then failed to follow through on them? Perhaps we intended to keep them, but then our lives got so busy, and we got caught up in the “rat race” of earthly life.
Jesus could have made that excuse. He was constantly going from one town to another, preaching and healing. People were constantly seeking him out after “business hours.” He could have told his Father that he didn’t have time to go to the Cross. Why didn’t he do that? He had made a commitment to do the will of his Father, even though he knew that would mean crucifixion.
We say we are followers of Jesus. Are we committed enough to follow him even it means our deaths or lives of constant pain, terror, or torture?
Help us, O God, to keep our commitment to follow your Son, wherever it may lead us. Equip us for the journey ahead and help us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, who is the author and perfecter of our faith. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
God requires nothing less than total commitment. When we are weak and struggling with that commitment, let us allow the Holy Spirit to give us the strength and encouragement we need to continue the good fight of faith.