1 Samuel 7

1 Samuel 7 has the ark of the Lord in Kiriath-jearim for some 20 years.  The people there consecrated Eleazar to have charge of caring for the ark.  Samuel challenged the people to get their lives in order.  “If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods….and direct your heart to the Lord and serve him only”.  The direction was clear.  Get rid of everything that interferes with worshipping God and get after that with a singlemindedness and a heart that serves only Him.

Is it worth it?  Samuel gives the ‘then’ part of that if/then question.  “He will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines”.  Yes – it is worth it.  If we walk with God and worship Him alone, then He cares for us.  Samuel saw their commitment to turn around and worship God, so he offers to get involved.  “Gather all Israel at Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord for you”.  If the people come together, Samuel will pray for them.  And that mattered a lot.  When the Philistines heard it, they decided to attack and try to stop Samuel.  But it didn’t work.

Samuel cried out to God and “was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to attack Israel. 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 enemy decided to attack and try to stop the prayer to God, but God showed up and dealt with them directly.  The Israelites didn’t really have to do anything beyond clean up.  They chased the enemy and struck them down.  But God enabled it.  He showed up and was their God.

God still shows up today.  He is still the same God and in charge of all things.  Just like “the Philistines were subdued and did not again enter the territory of Israel”, God is alive and active in our world today.  He loves to show up and show Himself for who He is.  Because of Samuel’s faith and trust, “the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel”.  He moved and not only dealt with the enemy that day, but all the days of Samuel.  God is our refuge and strength.  We need to call out to Him!

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