“There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one beside you; there is no one like our God.” (1 Samuel 2:2)
Hannah is singing for joy! God has filled her mouth and her heart with praise for the gift of a child! But her song soon turns to darker themes, contrasting starkly with her joy. She sings of a thundering from heaven, judgement to the ends of the earth, and the silencing of the wicked in a place of darkness. How can she keep singing, we wonder?
This joyful woman knows. Her anguish and despair have brought her to the depths and there she has come to know the God who is merciful beyond words but who does not allow evil and darkness to prevail.
Perhaps you have been deeply challenged by the difficulties of the past year. You may have contemplated the fragility of human life, the mystery of why, how, amid joy, a sudden visitation of fear can shake all that seemed secure. Life, death, security, doubt, faith, confusion — these exist together in our sin-broken world.
Hannah’s song encourages us not only to get ready to “sing out with joy, he is coming, hallelujah!” but also to reflect on our confession, “he will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead”. It urges us to prepare, yes, for gladness beyond words, but also the return of our righteous Judge. “No one is holy like the Lord … he is a God who knows; by him are deeds weighed” (verses 2,3). Her song reveals a God who sees history as a whole, the fracture and “disgrace” of sin side by side with the reconciling grace and endless love of God revealed in Christ the Saviour.
Our world needs this Saviour now. Those of us who know the grace and love he brings have a treasure to share with all who long for security and hope. To know and embrace God’s faithful love and mercy is to have, like Hannah, a new song to sing, a song of joy for a Saviour like no other, who comes, sees, knows, loves and welcomes us all.
Gracious God, you have filled our lives with joy through the coming of Jesus our Saviour. Make us messengers of hope to those who long for your peace, the welcome and comfort of your saving love. Amen.