God Remembered Hannah

July 10, 2010

One of the most meaningful words used in various places in the Bible is the word “remember.”  This word in the biblical text means more than to merely recall something to mind.  Once the mind recalls something, it acts on that memory.  In 2009, I wrote a few articles about this and have regularly tried to apply this principle in my life.

Since we are called in Scripture to “remember,” it is helpful for us to consider how God remembers.  Keep in mind it is not that God has had a mental lapse and has to conjure up a memory.  The emphasis is that he acts on what is in his mind.  Such is the case in 1 Samuel 1 when God intervenes in the life of a childless Hebrew woman named Hannah.

Hannah had a rival in her marriage.  Her husband, Elkanah had two wives.  The rival wife had already provided Elkanah with children and constantly reminded Hannah that she had not.  During a visit to the temple, Hannah wept and prayed to the Lord that he would grant her a child.  Her anguish was so strong that the priest saw her tears, saw her lips moving, but heard no words coming out.  The priest thought she was drunk.

The result of her fervent prayers are recorded for us with these words:

They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the LORD; then they went back to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the LORD remembered her. And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, “I have asked for him from the LORD.”
(1 Samuel 1:19-20 ESV)
A few verses later we are provided the connection between Hannah’s prayers and God’s actions:
For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition that I made to him.
(1 Samuel 1:27 ESV)
I am not really sure about how all of this works.  God knows what we need.  He knows what is our heart’s desires.  He can move in our lives without our prayers.  He does not have to be reminded that we need something which only He can provide.  Yet, throughout the Bible, we read of men and women, like Hannah, who are recipients of God’s mighty actions after they fervently pray.  Perhaps it is so that we will respond to God with worship and gratitude when He does remember us.  Just like Hannah did.
It is worth noting that Hannah worshipped God before He had provided her with a child and after He had provided the child.  Worship brackets God’s remembering.  Perhaps we fail to realize God’s actions because we are waiting for him to do something before we worship him.  Worship God regardless of whether you have that for which you hope.  Certainly worship God after he provides.  In fact, worship should be a consistent part of our lives.  He is God.
So God “remembered” Hannah.  His remembering was action – providing her with a child.  For Hannah this child was not simply about her reputation before her husband and his other wife.  It was about God.  She vowed that she would give this child back to God.  She did.  Her son, Samuel, from the time he was a child, ministered unto the Lord in the temple.  He would be a priest, a prophet and a judge for God and God’s people.
What does your heart desire?  In what way do you want God to “remember” you?  What has God put in your heart that you currently do not have that you can then return to God for his glory?  Whatever that is should become your fervent request of God.  Perhaps he will remember you and in the end bring Glory to himself.  May it be so.

Frank Gantz

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A Christian who is a member of FirstBoynton in Boynton Beach, FL. A husband, father & grandfather.