Luke 1:46-55 & 1 Samuel 2:1-10 (Psalm 23)
See also “Low Estate”
Make a detailed study of these two passages of scripture, notably both from women.In both of these stories there are temples, there are people of covenant with the Lord, there is meekness and lowliness of heart, and devotion to the most high God.
From 1 Samuel 2:
1 And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, mine horn is exalted in the Lord: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.
The footnote on “rejoiceth” in this verse suggests that to rejoice in the Lord is to express thanksgiving. The Spirit of the Lord causes me to consider strongly the importance of this first verse, but it is not as I would assume.
I keep coming at this verse with an angle of vengeance because of references to “enemies.” “Horn” is a figurative reference to “power” or “capacity.” Elsewhere in the Old Testament, we read of horns of the wicked being destroyed and the horns of the righteous being exalted. So where there is this comparison between the wicked and the righteous in the same verse, there is a natural tendency to assume that this is something of a call to arms against the wicked. I run through my mind a list of who are current enemies and what should I do to destroy them. Evidence, this is then, that I am not yet of a mind to leave judgment to the Lord.
“Of you, it is required to forgive all men.” (Doctrine and Covenants 64:10) Judgment is the Lord’s and the Lord’s alone to make for all men. So where the spirit of the Lord can confirm to my heart that actions are not to be adopted that I see in others, at the same time, that same Spirit teaches a man to love his neighbor as himself.
In Hannah’s instance, she was being afflicted by the comments of her husband’s other wife who was blessed with children. She states that “my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.” Her strength to overcome her opposition was not to fight her opposition. Her strength was in prayer (read the verse) and in looking to and rejoicing in the salvation of the Lord.
2 There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.
On the first instance of “none” there are three other verses of scripture that reinforce that same statement, that besides God, there is none as holy or as strong. This was a new dimension of understanding on a particularly familiar verse from the Book of Mormon:
Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered. (2 Nephi 2:7)
Now in this passage of scripture, I had always assumed that the “none” in this verse had reference to “those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit.” But because it was referenced as a supporting scripture to the above verse, I am lead to believe that it is in reference to Christ. For the verse itself says: “he offereth himself… to answer the ends of the law”. Hence, for “none else can the ends of the law be answered.” Only Christ the Lord could perform this salvation, and there was none else.
3 Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.
The actions of our words may be enough to condemn us. I have evidence presently before me in both the Book of Mormon (3 Nephi 27:15) and the Old Testament(see immediately above) , and I suppose that I may find more elsewhere if I where to look for it that clearly states that God will judge man according to his works.
There is something else in verse three that is conclusive in this statement. To talk proudly, or arrogantly, is to assume knowledge of something in absolute. We speak as if it is the end to all truth on a subject when we speak with arrogance. Oh how humbling is the comparison, that “the Lord is a God of knowledge.” He is more than a well versed university professor, more than one of the great world philosophers. He is a God of knowledge. Omniscient is His understanding. Past, present, and future is His perspective. There is nothing except He knows it.
The next five verses offers a comparison between those that wait upon the Lord for direction, and those who attempt to become great of their own accord. In every instance, those who are well to do as a result of their own strength are removed from that prosperity. Those who are humble and follow the Spirit of the Lord are brought to strength.
4 The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength.
5 They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased: so that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble.
6 The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.
7 The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up.
8 He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and he hath set the world upon them.
Now in the next verse, there is a continuation and a conclusion to the above group of verses.
9 He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.
Do I believe the above passage of scripture? Of course, the reason why the wicked shall not prevail is because by strength shall no man prevail. The ultimate tests of faith are the works of peace to be performed by his righteous saints.
10 The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the Lord shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.
This last verse is a reminder that in the end, Christ will be given strength or capacity to reign over all. He already has.
Morning by morning, I continue to come back to these passages of scripture. I’ve added to them now the words of Ammon found in Alma 26 where he rejoices in the missionary labors of him and his brethren. Yesterday, I spent the entire day basking in divine light. I am conclusively aware of the answer to my prayers in learning why it is that the Lord has brought me back to my home.