The Lord! His adversaries shall be shattered; the Most High 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 2:10
The word that comes to mind when I see this passage is “braggadocio”. Also, the name of a font found in Microsoft Word, it means “empty boasting, arrogant pretension: cockiness” according to the Merriam-Webster website. My mental picture of this word is a combination of the song “We Will Rock You” by Queen, an MMA fighter trash-talking their opponent, and the yelp Tim Taylor makes in the TV show “Home Improvement”. I mean, Hannah sings about the Lord’s adversaries being “shattered”—that is not a mild statement!
In the context of the rest of Hannah’s song, however, it works well. Much like today, she was perceived to be weak as a woman, and there were political powers at play where she lived that threatened her and her people. Israel had judges, but they would frequently stray from the path dictated by the Ten Commandments and the 613 laws in Leviticus, resulting in the Lord sending some foreign nation to rule over them for a bit to punish them. At any moment, some massive foreign power could come in and rule over them again. I mean, the last verse in the book of Judges talks about how “in those days there was no king in Israel” and “all the people [doing] what was right in their own eyes.” (Judges 21:25, NRSV) There is about to be a takeover, and Israel might not come out on top in this one. The belief that the Lord was going to “shatter” the adversaries would be incredibly comforting because it meant that the Lord was in control and everything was going to work out in the end.
Is our world that much different today? Are we living in a situation where we feel like we are being ruled by enemy forces in the form of the other political party? What side is the Lord on, anyway? We need to take heart that the Lord has a plan for all of this and what is right will triumph in the end.
This is my Father’s world;
Why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is king, let the heavens ring;
God reigns, let the earth be glad!
Lutheran Book of Worship #554