THE LORD THUNDERED
1 Samuel 7
Samuel Judges Israel
Terror struck the people of Beth-shemesh after they witness the death of those who offended the holiness of God. They send messengers to their neighbors, and the ark of the Lord has moved again; this time to Kiriath-jearim and placed in the house of Abinadab. Abinadab's son Eleazar is set apart as a guardian for the ark. Israel laments after the Lord as the ark comes to rest for decades and disappears from national life. Twenty years pass as Israel endures Philistine subjugation as well as a political, spiritual, and emotional malaise. Suddenly, Samuel is reintroduced as he calls the people to return to the Lord with all their heart and put away their foreign gods. He assured the people that repentance, faith, and the exclusive worship of the Lord would bring deliverance from the Philistines. The people of Israel responded in obedience and set their hope fully on the Lord. Samuel calls for a solemn assembly in Mizpah where he would pray for them. A great revival was about to take place. The people gathered sacrificed, fasted, and confessed their sins to the Lord. While the people of Israel return to the Lord, the lords of the Philistines return to afflict Israel in full force. The assembly that met in Mizpah had no thought of going to war, and when they learned that Philistines were approaching, it struck fear into their hearts. They pleaded with Samuel to continue crying out to the Lord on their behalf so that the Lord would save them. Samuel offered a lamb for the sin of the people, and the Lord answered Samuel's prayer. The Lord thundered against the Philistines, and they were thrown into confusion before the Israelites. The men of Israel pursued them and struck them down as they fled. Samuel set up a monument to commemorate the victory over the Philistines between Mizpah and Shen. Samuel called the stone Ebenezer or the stone of help. A great resurgence followed, and the Philistines did not succeed in invading Israel all the days of Samuel. The Lord put his hand against the Philistines and cities that had been lost to them were recovered. The victory over the Philistines also resulted in peace between Israel and the Amorites. Samuel was a man of prayer who accomplished what Samson could not and he judged Israel all the days of his life. His judicial circuit moved from Bethel to Gilgal to Mizpah and back to his home at Ramah. Samuel built an altar to the Lord at Ramah.
Things To Consider:
- How does one fall into spiritual lethargy?
- Why does God demand exclusive worship?
- What gets in the way of our worship?
- Why is repentance important?
- Should we fast? Why or why not?
- Why do we sometimes have to reach a point of desperation before we pray?
- What Lamb takes away our sin?
- What ebenezers do you have?