1 Samuel 7

1 Samuel 7 sees the return of God’s power to the Israelites.  The Ark is back and is moved to Kiriath-jearim where it is put under the charge of Eleazar to care for it.  It was there for some 20 years but the people didn’t truly return to God as they still had their idols and images.  Samuel tells them “If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your heart to the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines”.  If you want to get back to God – you have to put off all the other stuff – you can’t worship God and anything else!

So they listen and get rid of the junk in their lives and served only the Lord.  As Samuel sees this, he asks them to gather together so he can pray for them.  They assemble at Mizpah and Samuel leads them to repentance as they confess “we have sinned against the Lord”.  Scripture tells us “Samuel judged the people” that day and led them to restoration with God.  He called them to come, led them to understand their sin, and then brought them through the process of healing to the point they called out to God.  He too cries out to God and offers a burnt offering on their behalf.

The Philistines had heard that the Israelites were coming together – and they are nervous.  They have been in control for many years and weren’t about to lose control if they could help it.  So they mounted up their army and came to attack.  “But the Lord thundered with a mighty sound that day against the Philistines and threw them into confusion, and they were routed before Israel”.  The Israelites didn’t have to do anything – God did the fighting for them, and all they did was chase down the Philistines that were left and complete the victory.

After the victory, Samuel does something important.  He creates a place of remembrance so the people did not forget what God had done.  “Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, “Till now the Lord has helped us”.  Where is your Ebenezer stone?  Where do you go to be reminded of God’s faithfulness in your life?  We all need that kind of reminder.  We lose track of what God has done for us.  We forget His continual faithfulness and help.  We lose sight of the past and what God has done.  We need to have our own Ebenezer stone and go there regularly to worship and glorify our God.  He alone is in control.  He alone is the almighty!

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