“No one will succeed by strength alone” (1 Samuel 2:9, NLT)
Hannah had been childless for many years. In a society which saw infertility as a curse from God, Hannah fell into despair. She cried out to God, continually asking him for a son. Eventually, her heart became aligned with God’s. She vowed to give God her son if he blessed her with one. God had been looking for a new prophet for the nation, a judge for his people Israel, but could find none. He needed to start afresh, and Hannah’s womb would carry the future voice of the Lord for the nation. Samuel would be a firm and unswerving messenger for the living God.
After Samuel’s birth, at some point early in his childhood, Hannah dedicated him to God. When she did so, she prayed. In her prayer, she praised God. Then she said, “No one will succeed by strength alone” (1 Samuel 2:9). She knew God had to be in the equation. She was not able to produce Samuel, and Samuel could not become a force for the Lord unless God helped them. They could not succeed by strength alone; they could not prevail with mere human might. They needed God.
God must be in the equation. Recently, I was enraptured in a book by immensely brilliant Christian scholars. Their logic was incredible, and their research was vast. As they made their arguments, I was in awe, and greatly edified. I could feel my mind expanding. My brain grew a little. I was greatly encouraged. Then, almost as quickly, I became disheartened. How in the world will I ever recommunicate this, let alone remember this, I thought. I do not have the ability. I’m a mere mortal, not a world-class scholar.
Then I remembered, I will not succeed by strength alone. I will not prevail through or because of my might, intelligence, intellect, memory, arguments, etc. God is in my equation. I am, by the blood of Christ, his child. Like Hannah, I must run to him and ask of him. I want to learn and read and grow, but I also need to rest in his ability for my life. He can take my simple faith and use it for his glory. I must trust him. I must remember his power.