And Eli said to her, “How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you.”
But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.” Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to Him.” 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.
— First Samuel 1:12-19
How do we know that Hannah received Eli’s word as being from the Lord? She immediately went and ate and was encouraged. She had the assurance that the Lord had heard her prayer. This indicates again something impressive about her. How could she believe the word of a person who had just demonstrated his lack of discernment? Hadn’t Eli just misjudged her for being a drunkard? How is it that she could then trust Eli’s word that the Lord would answer her prayer? Hannah recognized Eli was still the Lord’s representative, regardless of his personal failures and flaws.
Hannah is a good model for us. Though Eli had faded as a spiritual man, he was still judge and high priest. He was able to speak for the Lord with clarity even after he was exposed as being wrong in his judgment. Even though he didn’t know what Hannah had prayed, he encouraged her, assuring her that the Lord would answer her prayer.
Adapted from David: After God’s Heart, pages 20-21.
Tomorrow: “Learn to be Misunderstood”