1 Samuel 7

1 Samuel 7

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And the men of Kiriath-jearim came and took up the ark of the LORD and brought it to the house of Abinadab on the hill. And they consecrated his son Eleazar to have charge of the ark of the LORD. From the day that the ark was lodged at Kiriath-jearim, a long time passed, some twenty years, and all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD.

Samuel Judges Israel

And Samuel said to all the house of Israel, “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.” So the people of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtaroth, and they served the LORD only.

Then Samuel said, “Gather all Israel at Mizpah, and I will pray to the LORD for you.” So they gathered at Mizpah and drew water and poured it out before the LORD and fasted on that day and said there, “We have sinned against the LORD.” And Samuel judged the people of Israel at Mizpah. Now when the Philistines heard that the people of Israel had gathered at Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the people of Israel heard of it, they were afraid of the Philistines. And the people of Israel said to Samuel, “Do not cease to cry out to the LORD our God for us, that he may save us from the hand of the Philistines.” So Samuel took a nursing lamb and offered it as a whole burnt offering to the LORD. And Samuel cried out to the LORD for Israel, and the LORD answered him. As Samuel 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 defeated before Israel. And the men of Israel went out from Mizpah and pursued the Philistines and struck them, as far as below Beth-car.

Then 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.” So the Philistines were subdued and did not again enter the territory of Israel. And the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. The cities that the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron to Gath, and Israel delivered their territory from the hand of the Philistines. There was peace also between Israel and the Amorites.

Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. And he went on a circuit year by year to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah. And he judged Israel in all these places. Then he would return to Ramah, for his home was there, and there also he judged Israel. And he built there an altar to the LORD.


1 Samuel 7 Commentary

by Hank Workman

Twenty years – it took twenty long years for the people of Israel to get to the point they were ready to follow God.  Backstory – the Ark which had been used as almost a good luck charm in the people’s thinking was back in the land.  Through hardship and even striking people dead, God reestablished his holiness and the people were reverently afraid.  Consequently, although the Ark was in Israel, it remained in an obscure town.  The people ordained a priest to overlook and take care of this precious thing.  And twenty years passed.  Twenty long years where the Holy Spirit was at work preparing the people to return completely to God.

“The time was long, for it was twenty years; and all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord.”

1 Samuel 7:2

My Mom used to say quite often, “The work of the Holy Spirit is a long incredibly thorough work, refining us toward the greatness of God.”

The thorough work of the Holy Spirit is something we’re not usually too keen on.  Meaning, the instant society we live in, we want what we pray for to happen in our timing and if by all means, to have been answered yesterday.  But the timing of heart readiness is something we don’t take into account.  God is more concerned about our own heart condition and working in us than anything else.  He also takes great notice of the other lives surrounding in preparing their hearts, just like us, toward His next great move.

These twenty years stirred a longing for a depth of God that had not been seen in that generation’s lifetime.  It also laid the groundwork for the movement of God as they were ready to do what He required.

For at the close of the twenty years, Samuel stood before the people saying, “If you return to the Lord with all your heart, remove the foreign gods among you and direct your hearts to the Lord, serving Him alone – He will deliver.”

You see, it took all those years of longing for them to be ready to do what was challenged.  And they did.  They removed the gods of Baal and Ashtaroth and served God alone.  He delivered them.  The slow work of God prepared them for this decision.

“True repentance begins in lamenting after the Lord.  We must recognize the sin that has provoked Him to withdraw and are undone in the state of distance between us and Him.”

Matthew Henry

The slow thorough work of the Holy Spirit – Step back, look at things from this perspective of your own life.  Where is God directing your minds through with these thoughts?  What is He doing in you through the long waiting period?

1 Samuel 7 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

Coming off the heels of their defeat to the Philistines, Samuel would bring forth a challenge. Often in our weakest moments is when God’s voice will speak the loudest. God had stirred their hearts toward obedience by bringing the ark back to their land. He was the initiator of grace, now it was time to respond.

Samuel was a true leader. He not only called them to this, but he walked with them through it. He took them to Mizpah, a special place of repentance and prayed for them there. They renounced their old ways, poured out a sacrifice, and repented of their wrongdoing. This was the spiritual leadership Samuel had been called for.

So, consider what it took. The people were wounded by their sin. God initiated grace. A bold spiritual leader rose up to challenge, and finally, the people responded with repentance and obedience. This is the same pattern we see today.

F.B. Meyer wrote of this revival pattern using 5 points…

  1. Unity. All Israel was gathered. The divisions and jealousies of preceding years were renounced.
  2. Confession. The people poured out their hearts before the Lord.
  3. The abandonment of false gods. “They put away the Baalim and Ashtaroth and served the Lord only.”
  4. Intercessory prayer. The one condition of revival is to get back to prayer. “Cease not to cry unto the Lord our God for us.”
  5. Full surrender, as set forth in Samuel’s burned-offering. Yield thyself to God, and thy Philistine sins, stealing up the valleys, will fall back discomfited, and thou shalt raise thine Ebenezer.
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