1 Samuel 2:8
He raises up the poor from the dust;
he lifts the needy from the ash heap,
To make them sit with princes
and inherit the seat of honor.
For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,
and on them he has set the world.
These words come from Hannah as she thanks God for the birth of her son Samuel. As Hannah praises God, she reflects on the reversals He accomplishes. She sings that, just as God has reversed her barrenness, he will also lift up the downtrodden and glorify those who believe in Him. This message is repeated throughout the bible: Psalm 113:7-8 “He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the trash heap, to make them sit with princes.” James 2:5 “Listen my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which has promised to those who love him?” Of course, maybe the most familiar passage is found in Luke 1:46-55 (Mary’s Magnificat)…“For God has looked with favor on the lowliness of the Almighty’s servant. God has brought down the powerful from their thrones and lifted up the lonely. God has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty”.
People in need in every society hear a blessing in these verses. The single parent who cannot afford to put food on the table (or even own a table), the homeless family, the young child being raised in an abusive home, those who suffer from addiction and mental illness, the old who are lonely and feel abandoned. All are encompassed in Hannah’s song. Hannah’s words tell of the power of God to “intrude, intervene, and invert” (Walter Brueggemann).
I don’t believe that God curses those who are materially rich, by the way. I have too many wealthy friends and family members who generously give of themselves and their resources. I believe that God will reward them, also, because they are doing God’s will with the abundance they’ve been blessed with. They are doing Christ’s work here on earth.
Hannah was confident in God’s ability to humble the strong and exalt the weak because God is IN CONTROL! Hannah knew that the foundation of the earth itself (the pillars of the earth) belong to God!
Today, MANY of us feel like we are in an ash heap. The Covid virus and civil unrest has caused so much despair, loneliness, and loss worldwide. God is in control, though, and we must remember that He WILL raise us from the ashes. A philosopher friend of mine, Catherine Sloane, says, frequently… “All in God’s time. All in God’s time”. The sick will be healed, the poor will be rich, and God is with us ALWAYS. God is in control. Hold fast to this truth and believe.