There is a revival of Calvinistic teaching in the US today, one I am uncomfortable with. All of the early reformers had serious flaws in their theology and I believe predestination was Calvin’s. So what is going on with Hannah?
We are told that, the Lord had closed her womb. NIV Is this a proof of predestination? I say no. Calvin and I will look at the same words, the same story, and arrive at two different understandings. If God closed her womb, then he opened it later to fulfill God’s wishes, not Hannah’s. How many women through history prayed just as Hannah prayed, but received no child?
In Hannah’s time, in all religions, any woman who did not have children was assumed to be cursed by her god. It was an expression common to all. We understand today that some women cannot conceive for many reasons, including the infertility of her male partner. I do not choose to put any stress on the phrase, the Lord had closed her womb.
However, later, and the Lord remembered her, NIV is a very different statement. Hannah prayed, Eli blessed, God provided. This birth narrative is a forerunner of Elizabeth and John as well as Mary and Jesus. This is a time when God did step into a person’s life and make a change. God changed the future for Hannah, but He also, more importantly, changed the future for Israel. Samuel was too important to be left to chance. God provided.
God’s greatest intrusion into the human muck was the provision that His Word would become a human to be born of an unwed woman with the mandate to do nothing less than destroy sin and death. We generally say that Jesus did that by dying on the cross.
Biblically, that is only part of the process. Yes, Jesus had to die and be raised by God from the dead, but that was step one. People for 2,000 years have noticed that sin and death remain with us and have asked, why?
We get some of the answer from the prophets, especially Daniel and Ezekiel, and the final piece of the puzzle from Revelation, but we do not have all of it and we have no idea when it will all be completed. At some point, the Messiah Son of God will use the Sword of the Word of God to bring the final end of all that is against God and only then will we be able to live completely in the presence of God.
Meanwhile, Jesus has become our High Priest and covers our sins so that we can live near God, at least imperfectly.
Be righteous and do good.