Here we see what kind of believer the Lord is pleased with—a not-so-loud one. We see two examples, the type we should be and the type we should not. We would think Eli, the priest, would be the right example, but it is Hannah’s prayers that were answered by the manner in which she lived.
I Samuel 1: 12 And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli marked her mouth.13 Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken. 14 And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee.
Hannah’s voice was not vocalized. In every sense she was a not-so-loud-believer. She prayed silently and it was answered. Her son’s birth was a turning point for Israel. He became a priest and the last judge of Israel. He is the one who anointed David to be king. She was not a loud, boisterous woman. She didn’t carry a sign. She was a from-the-heart-believer who didn’t say a lot.
Now, we can’t be secret disciples. We cannot be like Nicodemus and Joseph, who due to the fear were secret followers of Jesus. They believed but were scared to death of their fellow Pharisees. When Jesus died they came out of their shell. Not caring what others thought they stood up for Jesus seeking his body after his death. We need to stand up and be counted. We must talk the talk, but we must also walk the walk. If our testimony is just words, then it is in vain. Faith without works is dead. We have to back up what we say with our deeds—by what we do. There must be effective proof of following the Lord.
Jesus wasn’t mean or unfair to the Pharisees. They said and did not. We have to say AND do. The Bible says to be doers of the Word and not hearers only. The Pharisees made a big deal of long prayers in front of other people. Jesus wants ‘off stage’ Christians. It’s not as much about what we speak with our lips as it is with what we say with our lives.
Hannah came to the house of the Lord with a heavy heart. She had a desire to please God, but she also had a deep desire for a son. She could have blamed God because she was barren, but she humbled herself before him. Verses 10-11 say she wept sore and she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head. This was her prayer. She was willing to back up her words with her actions.
Some people come to church to be seen. Some come to find out things. Church is the place to meet God. Hannah came in with the mindset to pray and worship. You can’t say she prayed a pretty prayer because no one could hear her. Her lips moved with no sound. Eli thought she was drunk. Don’t worry what others think if you worship. Worship God anyway. Be the Christian God wants you to be, the kind the Bible demands. Her moving lips were a sign her heart was moving. When you call on God and live your life, make sure it’s from the heart and not the lips only. I know lost people who can rattle off scripture more than some Christians can. The problem is that it’s not in their heart where it needs to be.
It’s good to talk our testimony and speak encouraging words to each other. We should use our voice to praise God. Our voices should be a sign that our heart moves in the right direction. Eli called Hannah a child of the devil while he wasn’t doing a thing to fulfill his own duties as priest. His sons were drinking and committing wickedness in the house of the Lord, but Eli did nothing to bring his children in line. He talked it but didn’t walk it. He singled Hannah out because she wasn’t loud. Who did God honor?
If we direct our volume to God as we should then others will hear us loud and clear enough when it comes right down to it. Hannah made her mark on history reaching across the centuries telling us to move our heart toward God. Let our lips move for God. A life truly lived for God speaks volumes to others. She didn’t have to blow a trumpet. She poured her heart out to God, and the world got Samuel.
Lord, help us to be the not-so-loud believer that Hannah was.