In her prayer, Hannah recognises a truth that is so fundamental to our understanding of God, and yet so alien to our human way of interpreting the world: God does not view success and failure, strength and weakness, victory and defeat, in the same way that we view it.
Verses 4 and 5 remind us that those who are strong in their own strength, who rely on their own skills and successes, and who do not acknowledge the Lord will be made humble. But those who know their need and recognise their weakness will be raised up.
God is not in the business of being impressed by our human achievements. They pale into insignificance next to a sovereign God who has command over life and death itself. We serve a God who has all of this power, which he would share with us. Why would we trust in our own strengths and skills? It is a hard lesson for any human to be humbled by the Lord, but if we will not accept this lesson, then we are cutting ourselves off from the very source of life and strength.
Hannah’s picture here is of a God who turns the world upside down. Princes will be laid low while the poor will be raised up. Barren places will be made rich and fertile. Those who hunger will hunger no more. If you feel worn down, unfruitful, or unfulfilled, the Lord reaches out his hand to you today.