Psalm 161 from Beyond Psalm 150
Hannah lives a difficult life. First, she must share her husband’s affections with another woman. Second, Hannah is childless, while her husband’s other wife, Peninnah, isn’t. And Peninnah repeatedly mocks Hannah for her infertility.
Despite his love for her, Hannah’s husband dismisses her pain over being childless. He doesn’t understand her emotional anguish. At the temple Hannah prays earnestly for a son. But the priest accuses her of being drunk.
No one understands her, but God does. He hears her prayer and gives her a son, Samuel.
Here’s Hannah’s psalm of praise to God after the birth of her son.
“My heart exults in Yahweh!1 Samuel 2:1–10 (WEB)
My horn is exalted in Yahweh.
My mouth is enlarged over my enemies,
because I rejoice in your salvation.
There is no one as holy as Yahweh,
for there is no one besides you,
nor is there any rock like our God.
“Don’t keep talking so exceedingly proudly.
Don’t let arrogance come out of your mouth,
for Yahweh is a God of knowledge.
By him actions are weighed.
“The bows of the mighty men are broken.
Those who stumbled are armed with strength.
Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread.
Those who were hungry are satisfied.
Yes, the barren has borne seven.
She who has many children languishes.
“Yahweh kills and makes alive.
He brings down to Sheol and brings up.
Yahweh makes poor and makes rich.
He brings low, he also lifts up.
He raises up the poor out of the dust.
He lifts up the needy from the dunghill
to make them sit with princes
and inherit the throne of glory.
For the pillars of the earth are Yahweh’s.
He has set the world on them.
He will keep the feet of his holy ones,
but the wicked will be put to silence in darkness;
for no man will prevail by strength.
Those who strive with Yahweh shall be broken to pieces.
He will thunder against them in the sky.
“Yahweh will judge the ends of the earth.
He will give strength to his king,
and exalt the horn of his anointed.”
Reflections on Hannah’s Prayer of Praise
There’s no guarantee our life will turn out as we wish. And even when it seems everyone is against us, we can take comfort, knowing that God is always with us and will provide.
Do we praise God for his provisions? Are we willing to praise him during our discouraging times too? May we offer our praise to Yahweh during the good times and the not-so-good times.
Explore the other psalms—sacred songs of praise, petition, and lament—scattered throughout the Bible in Peter’s book Beyond Psalm 150.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.