I Samuel 2:1b-10 Easter III
May 7, 2017
St Paul’s Anglican Church

“The LORD Killeth and Maketh Alive”

The Old Testament Lesson before us this morning is a perfect fit for the Easter Season! And it is certainly instructive for all of God’s people…

Hannah, as you recall, had no children. While other women were busy with the care and training of their many sons and daughters… she was not!

While others all around her could delight in the joy of their children… and tell of the cute things they said and did… she could not!

And while the happiness of children was reflected in the face of each mother… Hannah remained in silent grief – with deep pain in her heart!

You remember the incident in the Temple at Shiloh when Hannah was weeping in prayer before the LORD – vowing that if He would but grant her a son, she would dedicate him to the sacred service of the LORD all his days. In the Providence of God, at that very moment, she caught the eye of the High Priest, Eli, sitting on a seat by the post of the temple.

Eli – thinking that she was drunk – told her to put away her wine. But when she explained the gravity of her situation and the travail of her soul, he invoked the now famous words: Go in peace… and he also prayed that the LORD would hear her prayer and grant her her petition. We are told that when she went her way, her countenance was “no more sad.”

In due time, according to the Scriptural record, the LORD remembered Hannah and she bore a son. He was given the name “Samuel” – which means “His Name is God.” Samuel, in a way, was thus a “type of Christ” who foreshadowed the miraculous Birth of the Savior of this world.

As you know, Hannah kept her word… and fulfilled her vow. In her deep gratitude to the Almighty for His great gift, she – inspired by the Holy Spirit – composed the beautiful prayer before us this morning

There are so many lessons for us in these verses, we could remain busy with all of them for the rest of the Church Year.

For example, in verse eight, Hannah makes reference to the “pillars of the earth,” which have been interpreted as subsurface geological structures set in place to maintain the general stability of the earth’s land masses – perhaps an early reference to Tectonic Plate Theory or something similar…

She also bears the distinction of being the first in the Bible to employ the Hebrew word for “earth” – tebel – meaning, the earth’s habitable lands, as created and controlled by the Ancient of Days… This is profound…

…the pillars of the earth are the LORD’S, and he hath set the world upon them.

“How did she know?” we ask. Well, All Scripture is given by inspiration of God (II Timothy 3:16)… She was inspired by Him to write what she wrote!

We also find in verse ten her reference to a king, which may not seem strange to many… until we remember Israel had never been under the rule of any human king at any time – only the rule of judges for 270-years…

We also discover in verse ten, the first explicit reference in the Bible to the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ — as the Anointed One.

…the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.

But this morning, let us give quiet attention to the brilliant rays of Easter first observed by dear Hannah 1100 years before our Lord’s Birth was announced to Mary. Verse six…

The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.

At first glance, these words appear to the casual observer to be a reference to what has been called the “cycle of human life”… in much the same manner as the famous words of the Preacher given in the Book of Ecclesiastes…

A time to be born, and a time to die…

But the words of Hannah’s prayer are reversed!

The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.

This a striking statement of Faith in the Resurrection from the dead, and is nothing short of remarkable, humanly-speaking, when considering that in her day, there were no records of any person having ever lived… then died… and then brought back from Sheol (which is the Hebrew for “grave”).

This is really astounding, humanly-speaking, when we consider that in her day, no explicit revelation had yet been given regarding a future bodily resurrection from the dead. Yet by the Spirit of God what do we hear?

The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.

Over a thousand years after Hannah departed this life, we are informed by the Evangelists there was a sect known as the Sadducees, who maintained in their combined “wisdom” that there was no possibility of resurrection from the dead. They even posed an hypothetical situation to our Lord in order to ridicule the concept of life after death… to which He replied…

Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.

Their spiritual descendants are still with us today. They say the Bible’s teaching here is only “wishful thinking” for weak and deluded people. Yet it is they who show the symptoms of spiritual death – eyes unable to focus on truth when set before them… no pulse of love for God in their hearts… no word of respect from their lungs for His Self-Revelation…

So I ask you: Is anything to hard for God? Is it too difficult for Him to raise the dead back to life Who first set the earth upon its pillars?

I have always enjoyed the chapter in E.B. White’s famous book entitled Charlotte’s Web when the mother of the little girl who has told her about the talking spider and all of its remarkable stories visits the doctor to ask if he thinks there is anything wrong with her daughter. The doctor reminds her that spiders are themselves miracles… and their webs are also miracles!

In the same way, cannot He who spoke a word that brought Lazarus forth from the grave wrapped in his burial clothes not speak another word at the end of time that will call all mankind to stand before Him for a sacred accounting – to separate the sheep from the goats?

Why is it thought too difficult for God to quicken the dead and to put life back into dry bones?

To advance and to abase both belong to the Almighty. It is He Who humbles the proud… It is He Who gives grace and honor to the lowly…

It is He Who lays in the dust those who would vie with Him… and who would traduce His statutes…

But those who honor Him, He honors. He brought both Joseph and Daniel from prisons to live and rule in palaces. He brought David from holding the shepherd’s staff to hold the scepter of Israel.

In a very real sense, we are all given to participate — in this present life – in the power of Christ’s Resurrection… and to prepare for that great day yet ahead… to die to self… and resurrect to New Life in Christ…

And on a wider scale to understand the historic movement of nations… in the context of the “Great Reversal” of history brought about by Christ’s Resurrection…

Therefore, counsels the LORD through Hannah of old, let us talk no more so exceeding proudly; let us halt the arrogance that streams from our mouths.
For… the LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.

He is risen… The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia. Amen.

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