Hannah’s Vow

Hannah is an excellent and simple model for obedience, indeed!

  • Take God at His Word. Hannah knows exactly who her Father is. And she lives like she knows exactly who her Father is—dependent on Him alone, desperate for Him alone.


  • Determine to Obey. Long before the time came, she made a decision to obey. Hannah had considered what obedience would look like, cost, what the timeline should reasonably be, etc., and determined to obey nonetheless.


  • Invite Accountability. She informed others of her plans, declaring them instead of concealing. So, she could be encouraged and nudged towards accountability, instead of spared humiliation if she failed.


  • Plan, Gather, Execute. She planned towards obedience, gathered necessary things to ensure success, and left no excuse for disobedience. And then she DID OBEY.


Simple steps to significant obedience. This wasn’t just Hannah making a New Year’s resolution to read her Bible more or drink more water. This was covenant obedience over matters of the heart and home, in areas of life and longing. This was costly obedience as a woman and mother.


Hannah was scorned because of her barrenness, mistreated, and maligned in her own home. She pleaded with the Lord to bless her with a child and committed to honoring the Lord with the child, should one be given. Easy peasy. Pretty straightforward. If you’re a robot.


But if we have seen anything in Scripture, or even in these terrible tales of almost obedience, these are real people. Honestly, it could all be kept a little “less real” for primetime in my opinion. But the Lord withheld no details from us that we might know and trust the authenticity of their humanity.


These were great and poor fathers, perfect and grand failures. Broken marriages, broken homes, barren women, and twisted sisters who wrestled with life.


Hannah is a young mother who’d been shamed every day of her married life. She grieved her own barrenness in a house filled with another woman’s children. Just daggers!


Yes, her husband loved her more, but don’t you know that was doubted every time she saw him enjoy and adore his children too? Don’t you know affection was insufficient when her heart’s desire was to be blessed by the Lord and honor the Lord with her life?


Just imagine. New mom, new baby. First child. All the feelings, all the fears so many have felt before. Except most mothers do not begin their pregnancies with a shot gun start and a running clock.


“If you will, I will.”

11And she vowed a vow and said, “O LORD of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.” (1 Samuel 1:11)

A sacrificial promise was made before the prayer was even answered. Hannah would have a couple of years with the son she waited a lifetime for. And then he would be GONE. GIVEN AWAY.  Not to neglect or disregard. Samuel was not simply overlooked in a bustling, busy house. This was a change in physical location. He was given back—returned in gratitude to the Lord who provided him.


Mere months. Mere days she had left. Mere minutes with her boy. We often think in terms of years left before our young leave the nest for college. Now subtract fifteen years off that timeline and consider what lessons would be taught or plans would be prioritized. I bet Hannah could teach a class on urgency as well.


Time flies, even for the oblivious. It flies exponentially faster for those keenly aware of its speed.


How gut-wrenching that promise must have been to keep. Hannah brought her toddler to the temple knowing she would leave without him, knowing she would leave Samuel in the hands of wayward, crooked, and corrupt men.


My God, how could you allow her to do that?! Why would you let her make such a foolishly bold promise and then keep it??

For you. So, you would know it can be done. So, you would see what obedience looks like as a woman and mother.  So, you would see that it can only be done by faith. So, you would see obedience is about trust given freely, not rules followed perfectly. So, you would see that I can be trusted with your children too.


God can still be trusted with the protection of the faithful and the judgement of the wicked.

God can still be trusted with our beloveds in a broken world.


Obedience is hard. Honoring the Lord is hard.


How did Hannah model obedience: depend, determine, declare, do. 

Remember Him, know Him, live like He is TRUE.


What would your life look like if you started with Hannah’s step one—Take God at His Word. What areas would need to be rid of fear and filled with faith? What areas of your life are you needing to stop counting the cost and determine once and for all to finally obey? What would it look like if you began welcoming and embracing accountability—to be done with self-preserving, allow yourself to be misunderstood, foolish even, in a pursuit of faithfulness. What areas do you need to prepare for obedience, plan for obedience, and then take action steps of obedience? Is it in finances, your personal faith, relationships?


Can you think of anyone else who purposely distanced themselves from family to honor the Lord AND had to trust the Lord to protect their loved ones in the midst of wicked people?


Were you thinking Abraham and Lot when he rested near the great trees, in the boundaries of his God, near altars still standing in His honor and watched a “son” walk away to the greener grounds towards Gomorrah?


Leave your country, your kindred, and your father’s house.


What about Abraham taking Isaac from their home to a hill where a sacrifice was to be made? Leave your country, your kindred, and your father’s house.


What about Hannah bringing her boy Samuel to the temple to stay? Leave your country, your kindred, and your father’s house.


What about Jesus and his own family? An alien, a stranger among his own, while keeping camp with a new, unfamiliar family? Do you know how Jesus defined family according to Scripture?


Jesus replied, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the Word of God and do it.” Luke 8:21


Leave your country, your kindred, and your Father’s House. Sounds different when you imagine it spoken to Christ on the Cross.


A new tree. A living stone for a living altar.


Pagans and fools had come for generations to the woods with their questions and God gave HIS ONE AND ONLY ANSWER ON A TREE. Isn’t HE marvelous, indeed?!


This was fulfilled prophecy but it was also a shouted sign unto the lost.


It makes me feel differently about rainbows. Man thinks we have corrupted His signs and symbols in our foolish PRIDE, but He has allowed us to gravitate to the exact symbols He intends to teach us under. Covenant Judgement. Covenant Salvation. Two ends of His perfect bow, with sinful proud people in the middle, who can’t be wicked enough to stop His LOVE from COMING AGAIN.


Leave your country, your kindred, and your Father’s House. Again. Go get those who are mine.


I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarine, and wonder how He could love me,  a sinner condemned, unclean.

He took my sins and my sorrows, He made them His very own; He bore the burden to Calv’ry, and suffered and died alone.

When with the ransomed in glory, His face I at last shall see. ‘Twill be my joy through the ages, to sing of His love for me.

How marvelous! How wonderful! And my song shall ever be! How marvelous! How wonderful! Is my Savior’s love for me!


Maybe it’s time to sing anew the songs of old.


As we have known HIM by HIS love, we will be known by our love. As we have known HIS love by HIS obedience. Our love will be known by our obedience to HIM.


Love is love? Tell that to Hannah. Tell that to Abraham. Love is costly. Love requires obedience. Love exalts the Savior over ourselves. This is the LOVE that wins. And none other.





What in your life needs to have Hannah’s vow applied to it?


Children are a gift but not a guarantee, a blessing but not a birthright. I’m no Hannah, but as someone who thought they couldn’t have children and then did, I know this is true—intentionality and earnestness grow well in the absence of entitlement.


I saw children as a gift often given to others, but never as a gift to be mine. And then the Lord allowed them. He opened my womb and used my broken and dying body to birth miracles—Emerson 32 Weeks 2.14lbs and Berkley 28 Weeks 2.4 lbs (and they are not twins.)


How can my heart not beat only for them to know HIM? How can my life not be lived on an HIS ALTAR? How can I not pray the babe at my breast learns to love the same altar, where love graciously given should gladly be returned? How can urgency and obedience not be this Salty Lady’s foolish and feeble goal? These things must be. And not just for me, but my children as well.


In the great wide world, there was a woman

and her empty heart and home.

But in them, there was a picture–

Of a son and sands, in long-awaited lands,

a nation of descendants her own.



In the great wide world, there was a woman

and her empty heart and home.

But in them there was a promise–

Of a faithful priest, a nation’s raised hands in worship to the Lamb,

a son and a vow of her own.



In the great wide world there was a Father

and his filling but quite empty house.

But in it there were rooms–

Prepared by the Son from before the world began.

An inheritance for His heirs, the ransomed and redeemed,

the sleepy saints–waiting to be welcomed home.



Lay down precious Isaac.

Lay down Samuel.

Lay down Son

Take your place upon the altar until your Father’s work is done.


Get up Isaac.

Get up Samuel.

Stay down Son.

Remain upon the altar while your Father’s work is done.


Come home Isaac.

Come home Samuel.

Come home Son.

The work was finished on the altar by the Father, Spirit, Son.


Go down Helper.

Go down Spirit.

Go down Son.

Go and get my children, their Father’s work is almost done.


Come home Children.

Come home Daughters.

Come home Sons.

Come home Orphans and now Prodigals, to the Father you must run.


Goodnight suffering.

Goodnight striving.

Goodnight world and all your pain.


Goodnight moon, and man, and sun.

A place has been prepared for us where we will live as one.