I Samuel Chapter 7
of Israel [1-6]."
Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's
transcription is provided with written permission by http://www.theseason.org
I Samuel 7:1 "And the men of Kirjath-fearim came, and fetched up the ark of the Lord, and brought it into the house of Abinadab in the hill, and sanctified Eleazar his son to keep the ark of the Lord."
"Eleazar" means "God is our help" and naturally he is an Levite. "Abinadab" means the "father of nobility", so the ark will be taken care of by Eleazar the Levite, so this would have been in accordance with God's instructions and pleasing to God.
I Samuel 7:2 "And it came to pass, while the ark abode in Kirjath-jearim, that the time was long; for it was twenty years: and all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord."
The Ark remaind with the Philistines for seven months, then it was sent to Ekron and then on to Kirjath-jearim where the ark remained for twenty years until it was finally returned to the Israelites.
I Samuel 7:3 "And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, "If ye do return unto the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you and prepare your hearts unto the Lord, and serve Him only: and He will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines."
It is from this heathen worship of "Ashtaroth" that the feast of Ishtar came, that has developed into what we call "Easter" today. Samuel is telling the Israelites that if they first set their hearts right, then turn from the worship of these strange gods, and turn their hearts and minds unto the Lord, than He, the Lord God will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines. Pay attention to what happens in the next conflict with the Philistines, after the people of Israel set their minds and hearts right with the Lord and sought His help.
I Samuel 7:4 "Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served the Lord only."
The children of Israel had been in these false religious forms for many years and it would be hard to put away these religious acts and sexual orgies that took place under the name of Baalim and Ashtaroth, but all Israel turned back to God. It would be like the churches of today setting all their traditions concerning Easter and Christmas aside that did not conform to the Scriptures, and following only the entire Word of God. When our parents taught us their traditions, we hold those traditions dear and it would be hard to completely discard them instantly, However, that is exactly what these Israelites did.
I Samuel 7:5 "And Samuel said, "Gather all Israel to Mizpeh, and I will pray for you unto the Lord."
"Mizpeh" in the Hebrew tongue means "watchtower". This is the way that victories are won over our enemies. Prayer is doing it right way. "Gather yourselves together and then I will pray for you unto the Lord," was Samuel's orders. Eli and his family have been out of the picture for over twenty years, and Samuel was the Judge over all Israel, and the High Priest. It is just as important that each of us consult our Heavenly Father before making a major decision.
I Samuel 7:6 "And they gathered together to Mizpeh, 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 children of Israel in Mizpeh."
Samuel was the last Judge that Israel will have ruling over her as a nation. In that first battle with the Philistines, the Israelites did not consult God nor did they give Him any consideration as to His ways and desires. The elders met and decided amongst themselves what they would do, and they left Eli and God out of their plans. They went on their own and thought that the religious ways that they had created would give them the victory. They relied on a religious thing, the ark of the covenant to save them.
This is the same problem that many have today, for many Christians today think that some religious building or system, or door with a church name can save them. There is only one savior, and His name is Jesus Christ, the "Anointed One". There are no artifacts, no degree, no religious form can save you, but it is God that does the saving through the Son of God. Now these Israel are starting to turn back to the Father and put those heathen religious traditions to the side, and get serious with God. They are putting discipline in their lives and setting their minds to serving God and obeying His instructions.
I Samuel 7:7 "And when the Philistines heard that the children of Israel were gathered together to Mizpeh, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the children of Israel heard it, they were afraid of the Philistines."
When the Philistines leaders saw that the entire nation was gathered together in one place, they figured that this was the time to eliminate the whole nation. It didn't take long for the Israelites to hear what was happening back in the Philistine fortress. The Philistines were going to war against the Israelites again. Remember the last time this happened, the elders and the people did not consult with the Lord nor Eli, and they suffered huge losses, some thirty four thousand men were lost in battle. The piles of the Philistines were now healed, the mice problem was gone, that the Philistines were now ready for war.
I Samuel 7:8 "And the children of Israel said to Samuel, "Cease not to cry unto the Lord our God for us, that He will save us out of the hand of the Philistines."
There was the difference between the two wars; this time the children of Israel sought out Samuel and they requested Samuel to cry out to the Lord on their behalf for the victory. They wanted to be removed from being under the control of the Philistines for good. They had the right idea; they sought after and ask God for His help. God can get the job done by Himself, if He must.
I Samuel 7:9 "And Samuel took a sucking lamb, and offered it for a burnt offering wholly unto the Lord: and Samuel cried unto the Lord for Israel; and the Lord heard him."
We see here a type of the Lamb of God, of Jesus Christ's sacrificial offering on the cross for our sins. When Samuel cried out to the Lord, the Lord heard Samuel's prayer. This is a type of al lamb being offered for the salvation of man, and to be saved is the subject here.
I Samuel 7:10 "And as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel: but the Lord thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them; and they were smitten before Israel."
It makes a big difference when God is involved in your battles. When the ark was carried into battle, it did not thunder and the heavy rains never came. However when the people cried out to God and asked for help, God put the mud, rain, lightning and all the conditions necessary to stop the Philistines from advancing against Israel.
The Ark was something that God had Moses create, and it was created by the hand of man. A religion is just like the Ark, it is also something created in the minds of men for men. A religion may cause you to feel good for a while, but in the eyes of God that is all it is, a man made structure. Man made traditions and sayings are worthless and if you count on them, you have cut God out of your plan. It is God that gives the victory, not the plan or relics made of any man. It pleases God when you ask Him for His help, for He cares for you. When God is with you, it just doesn't matter who is against you. When God is with you it is going to be a good day.
I Samuel 7:11 "And the men of Israel went out of Mizpeh and pursued the Philistines, and smote them, until they came under Beth-car."
Now that Eli is gone, Samuel will be the final judge. The people will Samuel ask for a king very soon, and it is Samuel that will anoint the king that shall rule Israel. God the Father wanted to be our king, and human beings would not allow it. This request for a king will be the downfall even to our day, that men and women want another man to lead them, instead of relying on the Father for their help and guidance. They asked for for a king and God will give it to them.
The Israelites saw that God had interceded on their behalf, and they went after the Philistines and smote them in a pasture [Beth-car].
I Samuel 7:12 "Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen and called the name of it Eben-ezer, saying, "Hereto hath the Lord helped us."
Remember that "Eben" in the Hebrew means "stone", while "ezer" means "help". Samuel took a stone and marked the spot of the victory calling the spot, "Stone of our help". God could have used men to protect the ark, had men asked Him for protection in that first battle. However the ark at that time had two rip-off preachers with them, and the people thought the ark was going to protect them. A religion will not save anyone, but it is the Father through the Son that saves us, and don't forget that. .
I Samuel 7:13 "So the Philistines were subdued, and they came no more into the coast of Israel: and the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel."
The hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days that Samuel was Judge over Israel. Samuel will continue on as the High Priest, and remain over the priesthood after a king is placed on the throne. However when the king reigns, the position of Judge will end. We know that once Saul the king is installed, then the Philistines will come against Israel again.
I Samuel 7:14 "And the cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron even unto Gath; and the coasts thereof did Israel deliver out of the hands of the Philistines. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites. "
The Amorites are the people of the highland. The Philistines were subdued, the land and cities were restored to Israel and peace existed on all sides of Israel for the time being.
I Samuel 7:15 "And Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life."
I Samuel 7:16 "And he went from year to year in circuit to Beth-el, and Gilgal, and Mizpeh, and judged Israel in all those places."
Samuel made a circuit and took care of all the problems that arose in Israel. This is much the way of the old circuit rider judges of the old west of our land, where times would be scheduled for the judge to appear in town to hold court, and move on to the next town.
I Samuel 7:17 "And his return was to Ramah; for there was his house; and there he judged Israel; and there he built an altar unto the Lord."
After the circuit was completed, Samuel would return to his home at Ramah, and there he would have his time with the Lord. This is a good lesson for us also, for when we return home after a busy schedule, take time to be with the Father. Thank Him for His protection and those blessings that He has given you. Though we do not build altars to the Lord today, we are to talk to Him as we do our earthly father, for he cares for you and desires to be part of your entire life. Take time to meditate and think about your day. This is also a good way to start your day off, with prayer and meditation with God's Word.
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