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“Flourishing Worship” // 1 Samuel 2:1-11

Mary Ellen Ermis September 18, 2022 sermons, 1 Samuel, cityrise, Crosspoint Church - Bellaire, houston, Roger Patterson, The Flourishing Life Journey,

The following is a manuscript of the sermon presented by Senior Pastor Dr. Roger Patterson on Sunday, September 18, 2022 at our Crosspoint Church-Bellaire campus. To view the sermon in full, check out the link below.

Good morning, church family!  Glad to be with you today as always.  I want to begin with a question for you.

There’s the story of a grown man who still lived with his mom who wouldn’t get out of bed for church one Sunday morning.

His mom came into him and said, “Son, you have to get up and go to church.”

He replied to her, “I’m not going to church today. I don’t want to go to church. Those people are mean. The music isn’t any good. The room is always too cold. I’m not going to church today mom!”

She said, “What do you mean you aren’t going to church? You have to get up, get dressed, and get yourself to church today!”

He replied once again, “No mom! I’m not going to church!”

She said, “Son, you don’t have a choice…You are the Pastor!”

Have you ever entered the worship service at church but you didn’t feel like worshipping?  …I have!

The worship of God, both individual and corporate, is meant to create transformation in us.  We’re going to see that in 1 Samuel, as we look at Hannah’s experience with God.

Eugene Peterson writes of the transforming nature of worship in his book A Long Obedience in the Same Direction…

Eugene Peterson writes…

I have put a great emphasis on the fact that Christians worship because they want to, not because they are forced to.  But I have never said we worship because we feel like it.  Feelings are great liars.  If Christians worshiped only when they felt like it, there would be precious little worship.  Feelings are important in many areas but completely unreliable in matters of faith.

Please find the book of 1 Samuel in your copy of the Scriptures.  It’s in the OT just after Ruth.  1 Samuel picks up where Judges left off.

Three key themes are prevalent among God’s people at the end of Judges:

  • spiritual ineptitude,
  • sexual misconduct,
  • and in involvement in tragic military encounters resulting in lives lost through the actions of corrupt leaders.

These themes are actually evident still in the first four chapters of 1 Samuel in the lives of Eli and his corrupt sons, Hophni and Phinehas abuses of women serving at the Tent of meeting and ultimately their death in a catastrophic battle with the Philistines.  But amidst the dark backdrop in which so many struggled and failed, Hannah found the path from floundering to flourishing.

We aren’t going to read chapter 1 but I want to introduce you to the characters and give you a synopsis of what’s going on.  Go back and read it later today for yourself  and you will meet:

  • Eli, the priest charged with overseeing worship and sacrifice at the temple\
  • Elkanah, Hannah’s husband, a faithful and God-fearing man
  • Hannah, Elkanah’s 1st wife who in the beginning of this account is both barren and broken
  • Peninnah, Elkanah’s 2nd wife who has born children and has boasted about it
  • Samuel, the promised child given to the Lord’s service in the temple

So what happens in Chapter 1:  The account opens with Elkanah, a man from the hill county of Ephraim and his two wives.  Multiple wives was not condemned in Hebrew scriptures and was more a cultural reality than a moral precedent, so don’t get hung up there.  These wives are Hannah whose name means “gracious woman” and Peninnah whose name means “pearl.”

Hannah could not have children and it is likely that Elkanah took Peninnah as a wife once he realized this so he would have heirs.  He still showed favoritism to Hannah which contributed to an increasingly difficult relationship between the two women.  Chapter 1 calls Peninnah Hannah’s rival and states that she provoked Hannah constantly to irritate her.

I’m sure this created resentment in Hannah and fostered a cycle of toxicity that would have been nearly impossible to overcome as it had been going on for years.

In Hannah’s desperation, she goes to the temple to seek the Lord.  Eli the priest was sitting at the doorpost of the temple and saw her coming.

1 Samuel 1:5-11

But to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb. And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb. So it went on year by year. As often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat. And Elkanah, her husband, said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? And why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?”

After they had eaten and drunk in Shiloh, Hannah rose. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord.

10 She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. 11 And 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.”

Eli was observing her and thought her to be drunk because her lips were moving but her voice couldn’t be heard.  The scriptures state that she was speaking in her heart.

Beyond the mother’s heart’s desire to have children, let’s consider some practical 1st century reasons for Hannah’s grief and desire for children.  Pastor J.D. Greear records multiple likely possibilities:

  • According the Jewish Talmud, a person without children was as “good as dead”
  • Barrenness was a legitimate grounds for divorce
  • Israel was an agrarian society, which simply meant if you had more sons, you could own and work more land and improve both your income and status
  • Children were also the ancient world’s “retirement plan.” The more children you had, the more likely you’d be cared for in your old age.
  • And of course there was the constant provocation of Peninnah bearing lots of children and bragging about it.

In her prayer, she makes a vow to the Lord – “Give me a child and I will give him back to You to be your servant all the days of his life.

Once she explains the solemnity of her prayer to Eli, he blesses her with affirmation and sends her on her way in chapter 1, vs. 17.

At this moment, her countenance changes from sad to glad and it isn’t long before Samuel is conceived and born.  After the child is weaned, Hannah honors her promise and brings him to the temple and presents him to Eli to serve the Lord. 

Let’s look at those last few verses of chapter 1…

1 Samuel 1:26-28

26 And she said, “Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord. 27 For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. 28 Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.”

All of that brings us to our focus this morning which is what happened next – Hannah worships the Lord once more!  Hannah’s sorrow is turned to joy, her pain is turned to praise as she journeys from floundering to flourishing. 

She devoted herself and any blessing the Lord might bring to her to God before she saw it fulfilled.

She loved the Lord in spite of her downcast spirit and she worshipped and committed herself to Him even when she didn’t feel like doing so.

This leads us to two questions:

  1. What does a life of flourishing worship look like?
  2. And how does worship help us flourish?

The first 11 verses of chapter 2 hold the keys to these questions in Hannah’s song of praise recorded there.  I want us to see these through the following simple outline:

Worship Helps Us Flourish by:

  • Aligning Our Affections (vv. 1-2)
  • Adjusting our Attitude (vv. 3-5)
  • Making God’s Sovereignty our Security (vv. 8-11)

I. Worship Helps us flourish by aligning our affections

Let’s begin with the first couple of verses:

1 Samuel 2:1-2

1 And Hannah prayed and said, “My heart exults in the Lord;  my horn is exalted in the Lord. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation.  “There is none holy like the Lord: for there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God.

As a starting place, notice the source of Hannah’s joy…it is the Lord Himself.  Verse 1 alone holds 3 Hebrew words that clue us into this truth:

  • My heart “exults”; HB = rejoice, triumph, overflow – its JOY!
  • My horn is “exalted”; HB = the Lord has made me strong
  • My mouth “derides”; HB = my mouth grows wide, or “I smile at my enemies!” Imagine if you will that the Lord builds such great confidence in Hannah and in us that we can “grin” at our enemies.

So vs. 1 describes her utter joy in the Lord but vs. 2 reminds us that this can be true because of who God is and not just because of what He can do or does!

Remember that Hannah went to the temple to make a vow to the Lord. She chose to center herself before Him and in Him before He ever answered her prayer.

If we’re not careful, we will believe that Hannah is only rejoicing because of her pregnancy and the birth of her son.  But vs. 2 declares to us that she is not only rejoicing that her prayer was answered and favorably BUT she is rejoicing because she has aligned her heart and life back in the middle of God’s glory and his plan for her.

1 Samuel 2:2

“There is none holy like the Lord: for there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God.

The life lesson for us here is like it is for Hannah – her joy did not have to be dependent on gaining a son; she found joy in God and his immutable character as well. 

This is echoed by the popular John Piper quote…

Piper writes…

God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.

And we can see here that Hannah is most certainly satisfied in Him.  If her only joy had been in obtaining a son, I do not believe she could have fulfilled her promise to lend him to the Lord.  But because her validity was wrapped up in God, she could do what she vowed to do with confidence and trust – returning Samuel to the One who made his conception, birth and life possible.

This order of priorities is highlighted in Chapter 1:18-19…

1 Samuel 1:18-19

18 And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.  19 They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord; then they went back to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her.

  • First, Hannah expressed faith,
  • then worship
  • and ONLY THEN did she experience answered prayer.
  • Not the other way around.

Too often we pray to God…

“Show me and then I will believe you, worship you and follow You.”  Or, “Get me out of this scrape, Lord, and I will be forever Yours.”

So, to put this in a sentence — Our joy should come from our connection to God’s heart and not only what comes from His hand!

J.D.Greear writes…

Faith means rejoicing in God when our dreams are still unfulfilled and resting on God when life is falling apart all around us.

TRUE WORSHIP causes us to align our affections correctly – to put them in the right place

Let’s evaluate for a moment:

  • Is my life characterized by worship of God even when my circumstances are dire?
  • Am I willing to offer Him a sacrifice of praise even when I don’t feel like worshipping?
  • Am I willing to exert the energy needed to make worship one of the core disciplines of my spiritual life along with prayer and time in the Word?
  • Am I more concerned about receiving from God’s hand than I am trusting Him and praising Him for who He is?

Worship not only aligns our affections – it also adjusts our attitude.  Let’s look at the next few verses of Chapter 2 starting in vs. 3…

Worship Helps Us Flourish by:

  • Aligning Our Affections (vv. 1-2)
  • Adjusting our Attitude (vv. 3-5)
  • Making God’s Sovereignty our Security (vv. 8-11)

II. Worship helps us flourish by adjusting our attitude

1 Samuel 2:3-5

Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble bind on strength. Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger. The barren has borne seven, but she who has many children is forlorn.

These verses reflect Hannah’s heart of humility.  In her song of praise, she cautions herself and others not to allow arrogance to come forth from the mouth.  James echoes this in his writings…

James 4:10

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

Jesus’ very teachings align with this also.  We see it in…

Matthew 23:12

Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

This is counterintuitive to our human way of thought.  In our thinking, the way up is the way up.  But in God’s economy, the way up is the way down.  To ascend the ladder is to first descend it or at least to let others ascend it first.  This paradox is plainly stated like this…HUMILITY IS THE PATH TO EXALTATION!

True worship, because it causes us to focus on God for who He is and not just what He can do or give, ADJUSTS OUR ATTITUDE. 

We can’t come face to face with the living God without having our PRIDE SHATTERED.  And when that happens, humility is born.  A humility that believes in God and His sovereignty no matter the state in which we currently find ourselves.

You see, worship reminds you and me that it isn’t all about you and me!  God’s story is His story.  It’s all about Him.  This life, and anything abundant in it, comes from Him and is for His glory and purpose first and then for our good!  This pride shattering worship is reflected in the first few verses of Isaiah 6…

Isaiah 6:1-5

1 In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”  4 And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

When Isaiah sees the Lord high and lifted up, he is undoneHe immediately realizes that his very best is as filthy rags. The automatic response of facing God is the abasing of ourselves…we become low in His presence.

That is one of the many significant reasons for frequent corporate worship…remembering again that we are not the center of the universe but that He created it and IS the center of it.

So, let’s ask ourselves this simple question: When we come to worship corporately, or when we engage in a time of worship personally, are we doing so in a spirit of humility?

Worship helps us flourish by adjusting our attitude!

Finally, worship not only aligns our affections and adjusts our attitude, it also involves making God’s sovereignty our security.

Worship Helps Us Flourish by:

  • Aligning Our Affections (vv. 1-2)
  • Adjusting our Attitude (vv. 3-5)
  • Making God’s Sovereignty our Security (vv. 8-11)


The final verses of Hannah’s song of praise highlight this truth.  Let’s start in vs. 8…

1 Samuel 2:8-11

He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor. For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and on them he has set the world. “He will guard the feet of his faithful ones, but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness, for not by might shall a man prevail. 10 The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; against them he will thunder in heaven. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth; he will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed.”

Observe how Hannah has been moved from desperation and despair to trust, security and hope in the Lord in these verses.  She is sharing her own story:

  • He raises up the poor from the dust;
  • he lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor.
  • She declares in vs. 8, He’s in CHARGE! The pillars of the Earth are the Lord’s!! 
  • This is God’s world and He is in control.
  • In other words, His sovereignty is her security!

She draws a line in vs. 9 between God’s treatment of the faithful and the wicked.  He GUARDS the feet of the faithful ones.

Solomon echoes this in the wisdom writing when he records in Proverbs 16:9 that the heart of man plans his way but the Lord directs his steps.  Conversely, He cuts off the wicked in darkness.

Hannah proclaims the virtuous justice of God in vs. 10.  His justice is complete and fair and well – JUST. 

  • He will break His adversaries in pieces and thunder against them – judging to the ends of the earth while giving strength and exaltation to His king and anointed.
  • Hannah is pointing to the freedom we gain when we leave justice in the hands of God and stop trying to carry that out ourselves. Paul reinforces this in…

Romans 12:19

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

The last verse of her song is a Messianic proclamation.  She points forward to the One who will rule for eternity – Jesus!  This was lived out practically in Hannah’s life – she had no need to be vengeful to Peninnah or to defend herself to her.  She simply placed her trust in the Lord and left the rest to Him.

What’s the practical takeaway for you and me today?  We meet Hannah in this account when she is filled with anxiety, insecurity and fear.  We see her make a determined vow to the Lord laced with worship after which her countenance immediately brightens and we see her filled with hope, peace, security and confidence.

Let me ask you this – are you held hostage to insecurity? Are you filled with anxiety or fear?  What do you think the answer for that is?  Our temptation is to try to take control – to work to improve ourselves, to defend ourselves to others, to seek more strength, beauty, success or other when in reality the ONLY answer is to cast our gaze upon Jesus.

The more we seek His presence and His peace, the less we will be concerned about those other things, the things that hold us back and keep us from being fully devoted to the One who created us and has a perfect plan for us.

So how do we do that?  WE WORSHIP.  WE TRULY WORSHIP!


True worship makes God’s sovereignty our security.  That is why we need to fill our lives with scriptures and songs of the faith consistently and abundantly.  They remind us that God is in control even when it seems He cannot be.  That all things are in His hands even though we sometimes feel personally out of control.

What is our pathway to security and hope?  IT IS WORSHIP!  It is the one thing that takes our eyes off of everything else and puts them where they truly belong – on the Sovereignty of God and the sacrifice of His Son.  Worship is transformational.  You don’t believe me?  Check out the Hannah of Chapter 2 compared to the Hannah of Chapter 1 – a new Hannah thanks to her journey of worship.

Do you want to flourish?  Then WORSHIP.  Do you want your life to change?  Then WORSHIP.  Determine no matter how hard your life may seem to run toward God and not away from Him.  The enemy wants you to believe you can do it on your own.  He wants you to abandon worship and the community of faith and spend your life striving in futility.

What is your source of joy?  Is it God’s heart or His hand?

Have you brought your praise to God in spite of your pain?

Have you committed to worship Him in the midst of your circumstances even before the answer to your prayer arrives?

The account of Hannah’s life shows us that WORSHIP is the pathway to the FLOURISHING LIFE!

It begins by surrendering your will to his…asking Jesus to be your savior and Lord.

Maybe you’re reluctant to worship God – truly worship Him.  Then, even in your seat today, fling your hands up, raise your voice high and determine in your heart to give Him the sacrifice of praise He so richly deserves.  Even if your heart is full of pain.  Even if you can’t see a path forward.  God knows.  He understands and He wants to walk with you toward confidence and security that only He can give.  Whatever your need, whatever your decision, let’s stand and sing and you respond!