Hannah took her vow to dedicate Samuel to God's service very seriously. Her prayer was profound and heartfelt. It came out of her sense of deepest need and trouble. But her promise was no simple off the cuff remark, uttered like a "get out of jail free" card. The kind of promise we make to be good if only the presenting situation resolves itself in our favour. Hannah's promise was no virtual promise, no promise without intention to see it through.
It was a promise she would keep. She would take Samuel to Eli and leave him there. How hard must that have been? How strong must she have been? How flippant some of our promises must seem in comparison. How littered are our lives with broken promises made in the heat of the moment but lacking any intention to fulfil.
Think about Hannah the next time you hear yourself making a vow.