She had promised God and she was determined to keep her promise. Grateful to Him for blessing her womb after years of barrenness, Hannah handed young Samuel to Eli, the priest, with the words, “For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him: therefore also I have lent [given] him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent [given] to the Lord” (1 Samuel 1:27-28a, KVJ). Samuel was not only asked of and received from God (v.20); now he was being lent to God.
On this point Bible scholar Matthew Henry writes, “(1) Whatever we give to God, it is what we have first asked and received from Him. All our gifts to Him were first His gifts to us. Of thy own, Lord, have we given thee, 1 Chronicles 29:14, 16. (2) Whatever we give to God may upon this account be said to be lent to Him, that though we may not recall it, as a thing lent, yet He will certainly repay it, with interest, to our unspeakable advantage.” Read the second point again – “Whatever is lent to God . . . He will certainly repay it, with interest, to our unspeakable advantage.” So how did God repay Hannah?
Remember, prior to God answering her prayers, Hannah longed for children but “the Lord had shut up her womb” (1 Samuel 1:5-6, 11). One child would have been enough for her; however, God was not finished. The narrative continues, “And Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife, and said, ‘The Lord give thee seed of this woman for the loan which is lent to the Lord.’ And they went unto their own home. And the Lord visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the Lord” (1 Samuel 2:20-21). For the act of lending her first born to the Lord, she who was barren was “repaid” with interest – five more children! She went from being seen as a cursed woman to one who was blessed to her “unspeakable advantage!”
God is no man’s debtor. As Creator and being all-sufficient within Himself, He is never in debt to anyone. Everything that we have – the house, the car, the finances, the children, and everything else – come from Him “and of thy own have we given thee” (1 Chronicles 29:13-14). In other words, we are giving back to God what was already His and was always His! However, it is comforting to know that He often rewards those who joyfully gives back to Him from what they have been blessed with. And when He does, it is often “with interest.” Just ask Hannah. Then try it for yourself.