Read 1 Samuel 4
Talk about being shocked! The ninety-eight-year-old priest Eli hears that they lost the war, his two sons were killed, and the Ark of God is taken (I Sam. 4:17,22). This is a reminder of the judgment of God (2:27-34). See what God did to the Philistines (5:1-12) and their plan to get rid of the Ark (6:2-9).
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 was said of godly Samuel who was growing to manhood while heathen worship permeated the promised land. Israel's spiritual indifference, false worship, and participation in corrupt practices had existed for many years.
After Samuel became judge, we read: All the house of Israel lamented after the Lord (I Sam. 7:2). They also fasted on that day and 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 godly sorrow worketh repentance (II Cor. 7:10). There must be a determination to put away our sins, just as Israel put away (the false gods of) Baalim and Ashtaroth (I Sam. 7:4).
Samuel led the Israelites to Mizpeh. After their public confession of sin against Jehovah, Samuel judged the people of Israel (7:6). His first responsibility was to be their intercessor in prayer (7:9). Following their confession of sin and their renewed desire to look to the Lord for guidance, Samuel prepared and offered a burnt offering sacrifice, symbolic of entire consecration to God.
The Philistines could not be overthrown by the supernatural strength of Samson, but their many years of domination over Israel were terminated by the prayers of Samuel who was faithful to God. Samson represented the best of human strength, but only began to deliver Israel (Judg. 13:5); but through Samuel, who represented the power of prayer and obedience to the Word of God, the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines (I Sam. 7:13).
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:
Let us hold fast (firmly) the profession of our faith without wavering (doubting); (for He is faithful that promised;) (Heb. 10:23).
Through the rock called Ebenezer, which means the stone of help (I Sam. 7:12). Jesus is our Rock of salvation; our help comes from Him (Ps. 18:2; 121:2). I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me (Phil. 4:13).
4:1 pitched encamped; 4:9 quit yourselves like men be courageous and exercise all the strength you have; 4:12 his clothes rent . . . earth upon his head signs of great sorrow; 4:19 travailed gave birth; 5:6 emerods tumors, hemorrhoids; 6:2 diviners fortune-tellers; 6:6 had wrought wonderfully did mighty things; 6:7 milch kine heifers, milk cows; 6:8 coffer chest; 6:14 clave split; 7:3 strange foreign, false; 7:10 discomfited them confused them in a panic.
Pray for International Broadcasts in honor of Dr. John A. Hash • Government Officials: Rep. Chellie Pingree (ME), and Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (GA) • Country: Bosnia and Hercegovina (4 million) on the Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe • Major language: Serbo-Croatian • Little evangelism being done • 40% Muslim; 28% Serbian Orthodox; 14% Roman Catholic • Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to give you contentment in your circumstances, whether in plenty or in want (Phil. 4:11-12).
Optional Reading: Acts 3
Memory Verse for the Week: 1 Peter 4:15