Learning to enter and enjoy God’s presence

Learning to enter and enjoy God’s presence


1 Samuel 1:9-2:10

After they had eaten and drunk in Shiloh, Hannah rose. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. 10 She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. 11 And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.” 12 As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman. 14 And Eli said to her, “How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you.” 15 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. 16 Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.” 17 Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.” 18 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. 19 They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord; then they went back to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her. 20 And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, “I have asked for him from the Lord.” 21 The man Elkanah and all his house went up to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice and to pay his vow. 22 But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “As soon as the child is weaned, I will bring him, so that he may appear in the presence of the Lord and dwell there forever.” 23 Elkanah her husband said to her, “Do what seems best to you; wait until you have weaned him; only, may the Lord establish his word.” So the woman remained and nursed her son until she weaned him. 24 And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and she brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh. And the child was young. 25 Then they slaughtered the bull, and they brought the child to Eli. 26 And she said, “Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord. 27 For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. 28 Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.” 

And he worshiped the Lord there. 

Hannah’s Prayer

And Hannah prayed and said, “My heart exults in the Lord; my horn is exalted in the Lord.  My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation.  “There is none holy like the Lord: for there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God.  Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth;  for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.  The bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble bind on strength.  Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger.  The barren has borne seven, but she who has many children is forlorn.  The Lord kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up.  The Lord makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and he exalts.  He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor.  For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and on them he has set the world.  “He will guard the feet of his faithful ones, but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness, for not by might shall a man prevail.  10  The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; against them he will thunder in heaven.  The Lord will judge the ends of the earth; he will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed.” 


Hannah trusted the Lord with her pain.

Hannah trusted the Lord with her son.

Hannah worshiped the Lord with her heart.


In theology and philosophy, there is a common distinction between God’s transcendence and immanence. Roughly, God’s transcendence means that he is “up there,” and his immanence means that he is “down here.” The concept of transcendence builds on biblical texts that describe God as “Most High” (Gen. 14:18–22; Deut. 32:8; Pss. 7:17; 9:2) or “high and lifted up” (Isa. 6:1). It also depends on texts speaking of heaven as God’s dwelling place (1 Kings 8:30–49) and as the place from which God speaks (Heb. 12:25–26). Heaven in Scripture sometimes refers to the sky above, but often it refers to a specific place. When God revealed to Moses the plan for the Israelite tabernacle and later to Solomon the plans for the permanent temple, the builders had to follow the plan to the letter, because that plan was an image of the heavenly tabernacle (Ex. 25:40; Heb. 8:1–7), where God himself dwells. Although God is omnipresent as we will see, he intensifies his presence in local areas, such as the burning bush of Exodus 3, the meeting with Israel at Mount Sinai (Ex. 19), the Most Holy Place in the tabernacle, and the Most Holy Place in the temple. God dwells preeminently in Jesus, the highest temple (John 1:14), and because of Jesus he dwells in believers as his temples (1 Cor. 3:16–17; 6:19; Eph. 2:21). The greatest intensity of divine presence is found in heaven. All these holy places are reflections of God’s heavenly presence.

Frame, John M.. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief (pp. 39-40). P&R Publishing. Kindle Edition. 

Immanence can be a synonym for God’s omnipresence. Like transcendence, then, it can designate location: everywhere, as distinct from “up there.” But like transcendence, it is best used as a theological term. As transcendence refers to God’s rule as the Sovereign Lord, so immanence refers to his presence in the world he has made, which we considered in the previous chapter. He not only rules over us, but is “with” us. The deepest sense in which God is present is in Jesus, God incarnate. Jesus is Immanuel, the name given to him in Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:23. To say that God is present or with us is not merely to describe his location but to describe his saving purpose. He comes among us, not just to be among us, but to deliver us from sin and its consequences.

Frame, John M.. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief (p. 42). P&R Publishing. Kindle Edition.

When we study God’s Word, it should lead us to both rejoicing and repenting. 

  • What stands out to you from the text?
  • What questions or comments do you have about it?
  • In what ways did you find yourself encouraged and/or rejoicing when you heard the message?
  • In what ways were you challenged to repent or change when you heard the message?
  • How did the teacher connect this passage to Christ? What other connections do you see between this message and the redemptive work of Christ?


  • What is one thing that you want to remember from this sermon?  
  • Why is that important to you?