Highlights In Today's Reading:
The Israelites are losing the war with the Philistines. They decide they need God in their midst so they foolishly take the most sacred Ark of the Covenant into battle and are not only defeated by the Philistines but the Ark is captured by the Philistines (4:11; Exodus 25:16,21); Eli's sons die in the battle and Eli dies when he hears the pitiful news. Why did the Philistines willingly send the Ark back to the Israelites (I Samuel 7:1-2).
During the time of Eli and his two sons, Israel once again drifted far from the Lord. For many years they had been under control of the Philistines. During this time, nothing is said of godly Samuel who was growing to manhood while heathen worship permeates the promised land. Israel's spiritual indifference, false worship, and corrupt practices of the heathen had existed for many years.
After Samuel became judge, it is a joy to read: All the house of Israel lamented after the Lord (7:2). They also fasted on that day as well as confessed: We have sinned against the Lord (7:6). Their confession of sin was followed by a desire to be obedient to the Word of God as recorded in Deuteronomy 6:13-14.
Our sinful ways also must be confessed and forsaken. We know that godly sorrow worketh repentance (II Corinthians 7:10). There must be a determination to put away sins. For Israel this meant putting away (the false gods of) Baalim and Ashtaroth (7:4).
Samuel led the Israelites to Mizpeh. After their public confession of sin against Jehovah, Samuel judged the people of Israel (I Samuel 7:6). His first responsibility was to be their intercessor in prayer (7:9). Following their confession of sin and the desire to look to the Lord for guidance, Samuel prepared and offered a burnt offering sacrifice, symbolic of entire consecration to God.
The many years of domination by the Philistines over Israel could not be overthrown either by the supernatural strength of Samson or by the leadership of the other eleven judges, but it was terminated by the prayers of Samuel who was faithful to God. Samson, who represented the best of human strength, only began to deliver Israel (Judges 13:5); but through Samuel, who represented the power of prayer and obedience to His Word, the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines (I Samuel 7:13).
Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts (Zechariah 4:6).
For the Christian, when there is sincere repentance, Jesus becomes our intercessor. When we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9).
Thought for Today:
God's instructions for our lives are not burdensome but will keep us from spiritual defeat.
Through the rock called Ebenezer, which means the stone of help (I Samuel 7:12). Jesus is our Rock of salvation; our help comes from Him (Psalms 18:2; 121:2). I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me (Philippians 4:13).
4:9 quit yourselves like men =b> act like men and exercise all the strength you have; 4:12 his clothes rent . . . earth upon his head =b> signs of great sorrow regarding the Ark of God; 4:13 his heart trembled =b> deeply stirred; 4:18 judged =b> governed or ruled; 4:19 travailed =b> gave birth; 5:6 emerods =b> tumors, boils; 6:2 diviners =b> fortune-tellers; 6:5 images =b> likenesses; 6:6 had wrought wonderfully =b> did mighty things; 6:7 milch kine =b> heifers, milk cows; 6:8 coffer =b> box; 6:14 clave =b> split; 7:1 sanctified =b> consecrated; 7:3 strange =b> foreign, false; 7:10 discomfited them =b> confused them and caused them to panic.
Pray for The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcasts sponsored by Mr & Mrs Melvin Morris; Vicki Bartels, Mrs Judith Anne Ross • Bible Pathway Media Producer: Rick Hash • Government Officials: Rep. Paul Kanjorski (PA) and Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (GA) • Country: Italy (58 million) in southern Europe • Major languages: Italian and German • Religious freedom • 81% Roman Catholic; .4% Protestant; .1% Eastern Orthodox • Prayer Suggestion: Be specific in your prayers (Luke 18:41-43).
Optional Reading: Acts 3
Memory Verse for the Week: I Peter 1:23