She’s the Real Deal 

Today’s devotional is an excerpt from What I’ve Learned From Amazing Women of the Bible. Click here to buy the book. 

1 Samuel 1:24-28    

Now when [Hannah] had weaned [Samuel], she took him up with her, with a three-year-old bull and one ephah of flour, and a jug of wine and brought him to the house of the Lord in Shiloh, although the child was young. Then they slaughtered the bull and brought the boy to Eli. She said, “O my lord! As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you, praying to the Lord. For this boy, I prayed, and the Lord has given me my petition, which I asked of Him. So I have also dedicated him to the Lord; as long as he lives, he is dedicated to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there.

At the end of chapter 1, after Samuel has been weaned, Hannah takes Samuel back to the priest, Eli, and dedicates him to the Lord for a lifetime of service.  


Second Thoughts

As she walks toward the temple, I wonder if Hannah is tempted to pull back on her previous commitment. Does she have second thoughts about completely dedicating Samuel to the Lord’s service as a priest? Maybe he could serve God closer to home. And, to keep her promise, does Hannah really have to give Samuel over for full-time service for his entire life? Sometimes when we make promises out of desperation, we later regret it and sometimes look for ways to compromise or justify a change of plans. Not so with Hannah. Hannah is absolutely faithful to her word.  


This visit to the temple is quite different from Hannah’s previous trip. Consider the contrasts in Hannah’s prayers. In 1 Samuel 1:10, Hannah made a desperate plea to God: 


She, greatly distressed, prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. 


Contrast this prayer with Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel 2:1:  


Then Hannah prayed and said,  

“My heart exults in the Lord;  

My horn is exalted in the Lord,  

My mouth speaks boldly against my enemies,  

Because I rejoice in Your salvation.”  


We can learn a lot regarding prayer from this amazing woman. Hannah’s situation changed, and her prayers changed accordingly. But she was authentic in both. 

 There’s much talk in Christian circles today about being authentic.

There’s value to authenticity, but I sense it gets twisted at times. Sometimes Christians use their stance on authenticity as a license or justification for their sin, their weaknesses, their fleshly propensities. They might say, “I’m just being myself.” Let’s be careful with that attitude.  


Learning Alert 

I don’t want this false view of authenticity to alter what I see in Hannah as authenticity before God in prayer. When I sink low with feelings of fear and pain, I try to take them before God. In our weakness, let’s do our best to be authentic before God. That’s what Hannah did when she was both sad and happy.  

Over my many years on this earth, I have found that authenticity seems to come more easily to women than to men. Do you find that to be true? This might be an interesting discussion to have with a few trusted confidants.  

Since I’ve long been a corporate executive, my wife and I have attended many social functions over the years. Sometimes in these settings, we split up and have separate conversations with various small groups. After the party, when my wife and I are talking, she will say, for instance, “Why didn’t you tell me that Joe and Kim are having a baby?”  

Why? Because Joe, one of my coworkers, never told me his wife was pregnant. So I tell my wife, “I didn’t know.”  

The look on her face is priceless. “You work with Joe every day, and you didn’t know? What kind of friend are you?”  

I smile, and she smiles and shakes her head.   

My wife can find out more about my work associates in one hour at a social function than I will find out in six months at the office. She has a way of caring and asking questions that, with the demands of work, I just don’t get around to every day. She has a way of making a person feel it’s safe to be authentic. I don’t always have that gift.  


Am I Authentic Before God?

So, yes, I may make excuses about focusing on work and not being transparent and authentic in my corporate life. But when it comes to God, I need to be authentic! I shouldn’t treat God like one of the guys. I should and I must bear my heart and soul before Him. I don’t need to hang my dirty laundry out so everyone else sees it, but I should before God. He knows it all anyway. Being authentic draws us toward Him!   

We can learn much from Hannah.  


Help us, Lord, to be authentic before You. Not as justification for our weaknesses and sin but as surrender to You with honest pleadings for Your help. Lord, hear us, revive us, restore us, and answer us according to Your perfect will. And in times of joy may we—like Hannah— loudly and boldly exalt You! May we praise You always. Amen!