The Lord spread a cloud for a covering
and fire to give light by night,
and gave them food from heaven
God opened the rock,
and water gushed out;
it flowed through the desert like a river.
(adapted from Psalm 105:39-41).
1 Samuel 1:1-2:21
Hannah did not have what society valued in a woman and what she herself wanted desperately. The other wife had many children but lacked the love of their husband. She acted out her resentment and jealousy.
Elkanah did notice that Hannah was upset but didn't know or wouldn't admit knowing why.
We can generalize and modernize this situation. Some people have more things than others do. The haves sometimes lord it over the have-nots. Jealousy affects us badly. People in authority sometimes are clueless.
In Hannah's case, she was determined to make her life better. Her solution was prayer.
When he saw her praying, the religious authority assumed she was drunk. Was he also clueless? Or, was he that unaccustomed to seeing fervent prayer?
Hannah responded to his criticism by explaining who she was and what her situation was.
Eli may not have discerned her sincerity before, but after hearing, he could. He told Hannah that God was going to grant her petition.
What people today can sing Hannah's song with gratitude and sincerity? Who hopes to see God act in the way that Hannah describes?
How could the powerful be happy about the promise that their weapons will be destroyed? Or, how could people who now have full stomachs look forward to having to accept jobs that pay barely enough for food?
Do those rich, powerful, well-fed folks somehow think they deserve what they already have?
Hannah thought differently. "Get over yourself," she said.
God cares about the poor, Hannah promises.
People of long ago sang this psalm a reminder of particular acts for which they should be grateful. The Lord had delivered them from captivity in Egypt, led them through the wilderness, provided for them food and drink. We who have come later can fill in our own reasons for gratitude, the gifts provided to us, the direction shown to us.
And we can, like them, remember to live the way that the Lord intended.
The glory of a king is a multitude of people;
without people a prince is ruined.
Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding,
ut one who has a hasty temper exalts folly.
Prayer for today: Choose a prayer from Joan Stott's website The Timeless Psalms.