Eighteenth-century England needed revival. It was an evil place. Into that world, God sent a woman named Susanna. Susanna married Samuel Wesley and they had 19 children; among them were Charles and John. God used Susanna's boys to usher in the great Wesleyan Revival, to inaugurate the Methodist denomination, and to change the course of history.
Israel in the 12th century BC was an evil place. The last verse in the book of Judges tells the story! “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25, ESV). To a sin-saturated nation, God sent a woman named Hannah to give birth to Israel’s last judge, a prophet, a priest, and a king-maker named Samuel, and to usher in a great revival and change the course of history.
Hannah’s name tells a new story. Her name means “woman of grace.”
“Hannah was childless” (1 Samuel 1:2, CSB), and though “deeply hurt, Hannah prayed to the Lord and wept with many tears... She pleaded, ‘Lord of Armies, if you will take notice of your servant’s affliction, remember and not forget me, and give your servant a son, I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life’ ” (1 Samuel 1:10-11, CSB). Notice the urgency, the desperation, the passion.
“While she continued praying in the Lord’s presence, Eli (the High Priest) watched her mouth. Hannah was praying silently, and though her lips were moving, her voice could not be heard. Eli thought she was drunk and said to her, ‘How long are you going to be drunk? Get rid of your wine!’ ” (1 Samuel 1:12-14, CSB). This isn’t the only time in the Bible that someone is accused of being drunk. At Pentecost, the earliest disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and accused of drunkenness. Like the disciples, Hannah was worshipping and praying in the presence and power of the God’s Spirit!
God was faithful and gracious to Hannah. “After some time, Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, because she said, ‘I requested him from the Lord’ ”(1 Samuel 1:20, CSB).
The name Samuel comes from two Hebrew words. The first part, “Samu” can be translated “to hear” or “heard.” The second part, “el,” is the Hebrew word for God. Hannah named her son Samuel because her prayers had been “heard by the Lord” or “I requested him from the Lord.”
God's answer to Israel's darkness and depravity was a baby boy … Samuel! God's answer to our sin was also a baby boy … Jesus!
I believe that God wants to send an outpouring of His blessings. Maybe “the Lord of Armies” is waiting for us to recognize our brokenness, to admit our helplessness, and to faithfully, expectantly, pray with urgency … desperation … passion!
Oh Lord, send revival to our sin-sick world.