day 9: strength

1 Samuel 2:1-10; Psalm 18:2; Luke 1:67-69

“And Hannah prayed and said, ‘My heart exults in the LORD; my strength[horn] is exalted in the LORD.  My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation.  There is none holy like the LORD; there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God…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 power of his anointed.'” – 1 Samuel 2:1-2, 10

“I love you, O LORD, my strength.  The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” – Psalm 18:1-2

“And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,  ‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David,'” – Luke 1:67-69

In all three passages we find people praising God after coming out of difficult situations.  Hannah who was barren gave birth to a son.  David who was in danger of being killed by his enemies, even by his own king without reason, got out alive.  Zechariah who was well along in years was given a son.  In all three passages we find in the praises a curious word for a modern audience to describe God – the word “horn” (hannah – “my horn”, david & zechariah “horn of my salvation”).   What does it mean that God is our “horn”?  it seems the horn (as can be discovered from the context as well as other uses of it found in the bible) is a symbol for strength, like the weapon of an ox.  an interesting thing the barne’s commentary pointed out that could be related was that there was a practice in israel that a person could go into the temple of God and hold onto the horns of the altar inside to escape danger (1 Kings 1:50, 1 Kings 2:28).  so in all three passages we find the theme of the strength of God on behalf of his people.

however, hannah mentions another person: “his [God’s] king” and “his [God’s] anointed (or messiah).”  zechariah, also recognizes that God has raised up a “horn of salvation” that would be a person from the house of david.  this person, we discover, is Jesus.  Jesus was born to be the strength and power of God expressed on our behalf.  we are unable to save ourselves from our sin, so Jesus came to defeat sin.  we need a horn, a strength, greater than us to fight this overwhelming battle.  yet, this powerful warrior and weapon did not come at first in the way we might have expected…a lowly baby…then as a homeless preacher…then hung on a cross like a criminal.   He fought the battle for our souls with the power of a humble and blameless life.  something no one had the strength to do before.  by shedding no one’s blood but His own as a sacrifice, He completely disarmed the power of sin.  only those that run to Him are safe.  the first time He came, He fought and won the battle against sin.   the next time He comes, He will come to fight and win the battle against sinners.  He is giving us time.  may we be found with the Horn of Salvation.

where and to whom do we run to, especially in times of trouble?  can we admit that we need strength?  do we believe that He is not only strong enough but that He is the only one strong enough to save us?

thank you Lord that you are our strength.


2 thoughts on “day 9: strength”

  1. Thanks for pointing out the connection to the practice of running into the temple and holding onto the “horns” of the alter to escape danger… and more generally, not just that God’s strength is great but that it extends to us. I realize the “behalf of His people” part is such an important part of His strength that I seldom praise when I pray to God…

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