Hannah from 1 Samuel (who our very own blogger gets her name from!), knew that her relationship with God should be reciprocal. Like Samson’s mother, who I wrote about last week, Hannah was barren. And it was killing her. She cried every time her husband Elkanah offered a sacrifice because the portion of the meat she received was so much less than Penninah, Elkanah’s other wife who had multiple children. In those moments, she became sorrowful because her barrenness was so apparent.
One time she felt particularly depressed so she cried out to the Lord for help. Most importantly, Hannah knew that if God would bless her with the desire of her heart (to have a son) then she would be forever grateful, and she promised to show her gratefulness by raising her son to serve the Lord. “And she made this vow: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut” (1 Samuel 1:11).
God blessed her with a son in a matter of months, and after she had stopped breastfeeding, she took him to the temple to be an assistant of sorts to the priest. In verses 27 and 28 she says, “I asked the Lord to give me this boy, and he has granted my request. Now I am giving him to the Lord, and he will belong to the Lord his whole life.”
I’m no relationship expert, but I do know that reciprocity is important in any relationship, whether it be mother/daughter, boyfriend/girlfriend, father/son, friend/friend, teacher/student, etc. In every relationship, each person expects something from the other and although expectations may vary, “the stability of the relationship comes from the extent to which rights and responsibilities are balanced” (http://www.creativeconflictresolution.org/JustConflict/mt-tb.cgi/131). A lot of relationships fail because they lack that stability, causing one person to feel that they are giving soooo much more than the other.
Merciful Mondays: Jael
“For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon you or destroy you or forget the solemn covenant he made with your ancestors.” Deuteronomy 4:31