The Bible doesn’t highlight many women, much less name them. When it does, we should take note.
First Samuel starts with the story of Hannah, her infertility, her pain, her struggle to have a child and prove her worth to a world that didn’t value women, especially barren women. In chapter one we see her crying out to God for rescue. We meet Eli, the priest, who initially condemns her for what he assumes is drunkenness and then, once he properly assesses the situation, also prays for her, that God would bless her. And God does. She becomes pregnant, births a son, and then gives that son back to God in a completely selfless act of worship. Eli becomes Samuel’s adopted father as the boy grows to serve God before the priests.
Chapter two begins with a powerful song of praise to God. Hannah doesn’t grieve the years she spent childless, but rather rejoices in God’s strength and faithfulness. She sings of victory! She warns those who opposed God that they will be broken.
…for the Lord is a God who knows,1 Samuel 2:3
and by him deeds are weighed.
It is no coincidence that directly after her song, the narrator jumps to the story of Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phinehas. These two men were wicked, mocking and defiling God’s house. They corrupted and stole sacrifices; they abused and used women at the house of worship. And they did all this while being in leadership as priests.
Eli knew what his sons were doing. He confronted them, and they did not listen.
So we have Hannah giving all that she has and holds most dear to God.
We have Hophni and Phinehas corrupting sacrifices and exploiting worshippers.
And we have Eli not entirely oblivious, but seemingly powerless.
This is quite the study of contrasts! It is in this context that we find the next verse:
Now a man of God came to Eli and said to him, “This is what the Lord says…”1 Samuel 2:27
The chapter goes on to detail God’s disappointment in Eli and his sons. I’m not going to go into that, because it’s not really what I want to talk about today. I want to talk about this man.
A “man of God” comes to Eli with a word from the Lord. This is no small word. It’s of vital importance and yet— Scripture never tells us this man’s name. Where did he come from? Who were his family? How did he become a man of God? We have no idea. The Bible never tells us.
While we want to take note of those who are named, we should never ignore those who aren’t. There are many in Scripture who are never named. We may think them less important. After all, if we were to remember them, surely God would tell us what to call them, right?
Let us not ever think that, because WE don’t know their names, God must have forgotten them.
Go back to that line from Hannah’s song.
…for the Lord is a God who knows,
and by him deeds are weighed.
And what about Hagar? She, a woman abandoned and abused by her master, was facing starvation in the desert when she boldly named God.
So she called the Lord who spoke to her: The God Who Sees, for she said, “In this place, have I actually seen the One who sees me?”Genesis 16:13
We worship The God Who Sees.
God knows all the names.
He knows all they’ve done.
And he knows us too.
He sees and remembers righteous acts even when no one else does. He knows exactly who performs each “anonymous” deed.
And so I admonish us — you and me both!
Don’t worry about being memorable.
Don’t bother making a name for yourself.
Instead elevate the One who never forgets. Trust that the God Who Sees sees you. He knows and remembers your name.
2 Comments Add yours
Love this. The true meaning of living a life of one who loves Jesus. We elders know, that when we pass, in 2-3 generations memories of us will be gone. Thanking God written in His book, we say. Thanks for your message.
Your discernment into God’s word always gets my mind thinking in different directions. Thank you for your insight & Thank God for your passion to spread His word.