1 Samuel 7, Help People Get Right With God
#1. Wait For Evidence Of Conviction (v1-3)
#2. Call For A Full Repentance (v3-6)
#3. Expect Battle And Pray For Victory (v7-10)
#4. Celebrate And Remember God’s Work (v11-14)
#5. Reconnect And Minister Regularly (v15-17)
1 Samuel 7, Help People Get Right With God
1 Samuel 7, Help People Get Right With God
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All right, so as we head into first Samuel, chapter seven, since this is our first time together in first Samuel, I want to take a moment and walk through a little bit of the history, give some of the timeline to help set the stage for the book itself, but also specifically for the Ministry of Samuel.
That will be.
Looking at tonight and so, here's a quick look at the timeline and you can walk through this a little bit differently depending on which way you want to.
There's a few different ways, so you can notice the dates there, although they may not look like dates, but 1400 BC starting and then working down to 400.
See is covered on this time frame.
Also we have the different books of the well, what's known as the historical books.
So Joshua judges first and second Samuel 1st and 2nd Kings, Ezra and Nehemiah.
Those are listed there at the top.
So you can kind of see the time periods that they cover.
And so we've been walking in succession.
As we've been reading through the Bible in three years so far, we came out of Judge Joshua into judges.
And the chronology continues.
And now first Samuel continues immediately after the book of Judges.
It's really you could consider Samuel the last judge of the Book of Judges, and so he comes on the scene.
He's the last of the judges, and he establishes the Kingdom of Israel with the first king.
Leader, King David will come into the picture, of course, and take the throne.
He'll pass the baton on to his son Solomon, and that's pretty much the contents of first and Second Samuel.
And so we're going to be looking at the establishing of that Kingdom in that way, after Solomon, the Kingdom of Israel is going to be divided.
And so as we head on into.
And further into the chronology 1st and 2nd Kings will see the division between the two nations, the civil War that happens and the Northern Kingdom retains the name.
The Southern Kingdom takes on the name Judah, and they continue to exist independently of each other for some time.
This station really in their history is really of rebellion, that they are just in a state of rebellion.
Throughout this time and so, Israel doesn't last very long in their rebellion.
The Lord brings the nation of Assyria to come and conquer them to deal with their rebellion and disciplines them.
In that way, the nation of Judah had a couple revivals and so they lasted a little bit longer, but they really kept this downward.
Spiral going on.
In rebellion against the Lord for the most.
Part and so.
The Lord raises up the nation of Babylon and the the Nation of Babylon comes against them, conquers the nation of Judah, takes them into captivity for 70 years, and all of these things become really familiar with us as we head into Jeremiah next year and the prophets.
We we spend a lot of time.
In that final portion of the nation of Judah, as you look at different books of the Bible, and so there's a bit of a gap there.
The the 70 years of capped.
Movie, But then the books, Ezra, Nehemiah.
Come on the scene and there it picks up the the timeline again and begins to tell the story of Israel going back into the promised land, rebuilding the temple, rebuilding Jerusalem, and the things that are happening there as the nation is reestablished in the land and that.
Really sets the stage for the New Testament.
You might have heard about the 400 years of silence, right? That's after.
Ezra and Nehemiah after Malachi is on the scene, right? That's that's around 400 BC. And then there's no major prophecies.
No major prophets from the Lord, from 400 to the time of John the Baptist, and when he comes on the scene, he's the first one to bring the word of the Lord in quite some time, and then that.
The account of the Gospels, the New Testament, and the Life and Ministry of Jesus, and so that's a quick overview at much of the timeline of the Scriptures.
Now for us tonight, looking at first Samuel, it's important to note where we're at on that timeline that Samuel comes at the tail end.
Of the book of judge.
This and we saw a couple weeks ago the Book of Judges really ends very dark as everyone is doing what is right in their own eyes.
Everybody is living after their own ideas and it is resulting in absolute iniquity.
Terrible vile things being done and.
Just full on rebellion against the Lord and it's into that context that the Lord calls a young boy named Samuel and says, Samuel, you're going to speak my word.
And and as he was being raised at the Tabernacle, there God established him as a prophet.
Everybody knew the whole land of Israel, knew that this young man spoke the word of the Lord and was an instrument of God.
But he doesn't start his ministry right there in his youth.
It really doesn't start until we get here Chapter 7 where the the real life and Ministry of Samuel begins to step up and and take hold of the nation and have a real impact in the nation.
And so we're heading from.
This dark place of judges.
Now into the time of the Ministry of the Prophet Samuel.
And as we look at.
For Samuel, chapter seven, I've titled The Message Help People get right with God because it's Samuel who helps the nation at this.
Point as they are far from God.
Again, the time of judges doing whatever they want to do.
They're far from God.
They're disconnected from God, but they desire to get right with God.
And so Samuel in Chapter 7 here, steps in and says, let me help you with that, and he provides for us an example in that that we get to be ambassadors.
Of the Lord as well.
That we get to have this similar opportunity to go and make disciples to go and help people who desire to get right with God that we have what we need, what they need in the things that God has revealed.
And so we have the opportunity then to be part of that.
Work helping people get right with God, and so Samuel provides a great example for us and encouragement for us in this Ministry of Reconciliation that has been in try.
Listed to us.
And so we're going to walk through five points from Samuel life here in Chapter 7 to help us help people get right with God.
The first thing we'll find here in verses one through 3 point number one.
Wait for evidence of conviction.
Wait for evidence of conviction.
Look at verses one.
Through three it says.
Then the men of Kirjath Jearim came and took the Ark of the Lord, and brought it into the House of Abinadab on the hill and consecrated Eliezer his son, to keep the Ark of the Lord.
So it was that the Ark remained in Kirjath Jearim a long time.
It was there 20 years.
And all the House of Israel lamented after the Lord.
Then Samuel spoke to all the House of Israel, saying, if you return to the Lord with all your hearts.
Then put away the foreign gods and the asterisks from among you, and prepare your hearts for the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you from the hand of the philistines.
As we begin Chapter 7, we're picking up the account that is recorded here about the Ark of the Covenant, and there's several chapters that are really devoted to this journey that the Ark of the Covenant takes.
Remember the Ark of the Covenant?
Was that central place?
That significant place where God said he would dwell?
So above the Ark of the Covenant between the wings of the Cherubim that was covering the Ark, God says my presence will dwell there.
That's where I will.
Meet with you.
Well, the Israelites had come to such a state of rebellion and spiritual decline that they actually.
Took the Ark of the Covenant into battle as sort of a good luck charm.
Hoping that just the very presence without any turning to God without even relying upon God, but just the the presence of this relic would bring them victory.
But actually what happened was they experienced defeat and the Philistines took possession of the Ark.
Of the Covenant, and God took an opportunity there to say to the Philistines.
You know what guys you need to know, that I'm God.
And so everywhere in the land of the philistines, that the Ark of the cup.
And it went.
God made his presence known.
He knocked down their idols, he broke apart their idols.
He struck them with disease and plagues and and they knew it.
So by the end they kept moving it from town to town.
By the end the Philistines tried to move it to another Philistine town, and the people stood at the edge of town.
Said no way.
You're not bringing that thing here, because clearly there is a God attached.
There is a God that comes along with that and he is not happy with us taking possession of the Ark of the Covenant, and so they send the ark back to Israel in chapter 6.
Israel doesn't handle it properly.
They don't really do a great job, but finally it ends up at this place kirjath, jearim, and so that's where Chapter 6 ends.
It's where Chapter 7 begins.
It's now entrusted to this home of Abinadab.
His son is consecrated to take care of it, not to be a priest, but just to.
Make sure that nobody tries to open it.
Make sure that nobody violates it.
It's you know him preserving the Ark of the Covenant for a later time.
But verse two goes on to tell us that now it stays here in this state for a long time for 20 years.
The Ark of the Covenant is sitting there.
In this guy's house now, it used to be in the Tabernacle at Shiloh. Remember, but again back in Chapter 4, the Philistines conquered that area.
It's likely they destroyed or the Israelites dismantled the Tabernacle at that time, because Shiloh in that area was overrun by the Philistine.
And so now at this point it seems there is no Tabernacle.
There is no real connection to God or relationship with God and for 20 years the Ark of the Covenant is just there at this guys house.
And it tells us at the end of verse two there that Israel lamented after the Lord.
And I think this speaks to us, of in the importance of timing.
Again, I made the point, wait for evidence of conviction.
Samuel was recognized as a prophet 20 years before.
These events that we're reading are about to transpire right back in chapter three, it describes how he was called.
It mentions there that from Dandy, Beersheba, everybody knew that he was a prophet of the Lord.
But it seems that Samuel, for the last 20 years has just been staying the course.
He's been serving the Lord and and being faithful to the Lord, being walking with the Lord.
But he's not a national leader.
Here he's not, you know, on the the forefront of the scene.
He's not, you know, running a a prophetic ministry for those 20 years.
He was raised up within the Tabernacle.
Again, that was overrun by the Philistines.
So it seems that he.
Moved to Ramah, his hometown.
And he was there for 20 years.
We don't know all the details.
We don't know what he was up to, but now at the right time.
And now, as Israel is in this condition, it says at the end of verse two that Israel lamented after the Lord.
That it took some time for Israel to be in a place where they could receive.
From Samuel the prophet.
Were they desired?
To be back in fellowship with the Lord here you have Samuel, this young man, who had been ministered to by the Lord in a significant way a powerful way.
He really becomes one of the greatest prophets of all time, right?
But they were not willing to listen.
To this prophet of the Lord.
Until now, 20 years after the Ark is returned to the Land of Israel.
It's something interesting to consider.
The time that's needed.
It's not necessarily the amount of time, but it's the right time.
The timing of the Lord to bring conviction in peoples hearts so that they are in a place where they're able to and willing to receive from the Lord.
You can have the best prophet in all the world right in front of you.
Speaking with you face to face, but if you're not ready to listen to what God has to say, then the best prophet in.
All the world.
Sitting with you talking face to face does not really make an impact in your life.
Your heart my heart is really more important than the messenger themselves.
It's my willingness, my openness, my
State of conviction.
Am I being convicted by the Lord?
I might open to hearing from the Lord, and if I'm open to hearing from the Lord, then I don't need to have the best prophet that's ever existed.
I just need one of you to stand in front of me and say what the Lord is saying because I'm ready to hear from the Lord and.
And here's the Nation of Israel.
They've not been ready for a long time, but now.
They're ready, but picture this from Samuel's POV, right? Real big call at the beginning.
And then 20 years of not much happening.
You could imagine you could understand that would be quite challenging and perhaps discouraging for someone in that condition that.
Not much is happening.
I mean, I thought I heard from the Lord and there was this, you know, great move of God.
And I heard his voice and he told me I was going to be this prophet and everybody knew that I was a prophet, but it just doesn't seem like a lot is happening as a result of my ministry right now.
But 20 years later, God is going to use all of the seeds that Samuel has been sowing.
He's going to use all of the the the faithfulness of Samuel that has been going on for the past 20 years.
He's maintained himself as a prophet of the Lord as a as a man of integrity that the people can trust.
And so now at the right time.
Time they're ready to listen and he is prepared to bring forth the message.
I think this is important for us to consider that we wait for evidence of conviction.
Sometimes we want to do the Holy Spirit's job because you know there are people that we love. We care about and so we want to.
Bring about the change without waiting for the Lord to begin the work that he wants to do in their hearts.
And I want to encourage you this.
Evening to be thinking about.
From Samuel's perspective right, he he desired for the nation to be turned back to the Lord.
But for a while he had to just kind of maintain a stable steady course.
Not real, you know.
Not real big opportunities.
But just a.
Faithfulness to the Lord for 20 years while he waited for the right time.
When the conviction of the Lord was upon the people, and they lamented after the Lord.
Now of course, sometimes God calls people to proclaim and preach repentance to people that are not ready and not wanting to listen and refusing the conviction of the Lord.
And so there's another scenario there that can also be considered.
In those cases, and those kinds of ministries.
But at the same time.
I would suggest that that's not necessarily our default ministry, right?
That we're not by default chasing down people who don't want to listen.
But that really our job.
Our role is to like Samuel to.
Be men and women who.
Pursue the heart of God and seek to be faithful to the Lord.
Praying for those around us and waiting for the right opportunity for the conviction of the Lord and that opportunity to bring forth the message from God.
That he has for them.
Perhaps you could consider the example of the apostle Paul in acts chapter 18.
As Silas and Timothy come and joined them, Paul is compelled by the Holy Spirit and he testifies to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ, as was his practice.
But as was typical, the Jews opposed him.
They blasphemed, they shook his garments, or he shook his garments and said to them, your blood be upon your own heads.
I am clean from now on.
I will go to the Gentiles.
Everywhere Paul went, he tried to minister to the Jews.
He really had a great heart for the Jews.
He wanted them to receive the gospel and he expresses that clearly throughout the book of acts and in his writings as well.
But he comes to this place where he says you know what it's time for me to stop.
Hitting my head against the wall, right?
Like OK, I need to accept.
You guys are not going to receive this.
I'm not going to keep trying to accomplish something that the Lord really hasn't put in front of me and put in place and instead I'm going to go to the Gentiles and go back to the beginning of pulse.
Paul acts Chapter 9 right the Lord told him he was going to send him to the Gentiles and so he knows the Lord has called me.
I mean, I really want the juice to me.
Say I I really.
I mean I'm so.
Desperate for them.
I love them greatly.
He wants them to be saved.
He's trying until he comes to this.
Place where he says you know what?
I really just got to walk through the.
Door those who.
Are open to receiving the message they're they're interested in the message they're experiencing the conviction of the Lord, and so I need to be ministering.
To them, the Gentiles.
It's a example for us to consider, perhaps to wait for evidence of conviction.
That it's not our job to bring about conviction.
It's not our job to force people to recognize the truth or confess the truth.
It's our job to really be praying for people.
And be really sensitive to what the Lord is doing in their lives that we can then join in with that work.
That is happening.
The challenging part, I think, is the 20 years.
You ever notice how patient God is?
I mean, we're really thankful he's patient with us and our failures and how long it takes for us to come around.
And, you know, get with the program and understand what's going on.
Sometimes it's hard for us to have that same kind of patience with others around us and we want things to happen quicker.
We want change to happen quicker.
We want you know the awakening and the awareness to to happen faster, but.
And this isn't.
For sure, it's different time frame for different people, but perhaps.
The Lord's call in your life.
Is to be a.
Faithful man or a woman of God for the next 20 years.
While he works in the hearts of the people around you, but you got to maintain your course.
You got to maintain your relationship with the Lord so that in 20 years when the time comes, you will then have the right and the opportunity and the credibility.
Me to bring forth the message of the Lord when they're ready to receive it. That's a hard thing to do right, but understand God's patient.
He's not in a hurry.
He he knows exactly how these things are going to work together, and we can really rest and his plans and purposes rest in his leadings.
We don't have to.
Make stuff happen.
We have to hear from him and go forward as he leads us and guides us and so we for evidence of conviction.
If you've been really trying hard, you know to get some people to understand to have their eyes opened.
Again, there are sometimes that God calls people to that kind of ministry, and so if you know that God called you to that, great.
Then keep being.
Faithful to what God called you to.
But also recognize that there's other kinds of ministry where the Lord says I just want you to just be.
A good example.
Just live out a good and godly life.
They know where you stand.
They note you know Samuel gave the word right back in Samuel chapter three.
It tells us that that from Dandy Bisheaba, everybody knew that Samuel was a prophet.
Of the Lord.
But that doesn't mean that they're all running to Samuel, Samuel, lead us in the ways of the Lord and tell us, you know how to get right with the.
Lord, until 20 years later.
And so we need to allow the the time and the space for God to do that work in people hearts that we can then bring forth the word at the right time.
Well, moving on to versus 3 through six really continuing in verse 3 on into verse six, it gives us point #2.
And that is call for a full repentance.
As we endeavor to help people get right with God, we need to wait for the right time.
But then when the time is there we need to not wimp.
Out and be soft and gentle and watered down what it is that God has said or what it is that God is required.
Check out verse 3 again.
It says then Samuel spoke to all the House of Israel saying if you return to the Lord with all your hearts then put away the foreign gods and the asteroids from among you.
And prepare your hearts for the Lord, and serve him only, and he will deliver you from the hand of the philistines.
So the children of Israel put away the balls and the asteroids and served the Lord only, and Samuel said, gather all Israel to Mizpah and I will pray to the Lord for you.
So they gathered together at Mizpah, drew water and poured it out before the Lord, and they fasted that day and said and said, there we have sinned against the Lord.
And Samuel judged the children of Israel at Mizpah.
There it is, Samuel, the last judge of the Book of Judges.
He judges the children of Israel at Mizpah.
He rises up at that right time and is a leader in the nation to help them turn and get right with God and what he does as they are lamenting after the Lord they're desiring.
Oh man, the Ark has been gone.
It's back but.
Although the Ark of the Covenant is back.
And has been.
Back in their land for 20 years.
That place where the presence of God dwelt.
Experience the presence of God.
Even though the Ark is back in the land, pastor Warren Risby puts it this way.
The Ark had been returned to Israel.
But Israel had not returned to the Lord.
So Samuel called them to repentance.
The nation recognizes we have the Ark back.
But we're missing the presence of the Lord.
This instrument, this furnishing from the Tabernacle.
But we're not experiencing.
The presence of God, the power of God, the working and the leading of God in our lives.
And so they're lamenting after the Lord.
They have this real keen awareness.
I have religious things in my life, but I don't have God in my life.
Now again, as we're seeking to Minister to people around us and help people get right with God a lot of times that falls into the scenario where there's religious people and so it's really hard for us to talk to them about the things of the Lord because they're religious, and so they are convinced they've deceived themselves or been deceived that.
They don't need.
To really know the Lord or have a relationship with the Lord they don't need.
To be born.
But through the process of time through the conviction of the Lord, there will be this awareness.
We have the religious elements.
But we don't know God.
And so Samuel says verse 3 then Samuel spoke to the house.
Of Israel saying.
All right, you're in this condition.
You recognize your need.
So Samuel rose up, now is the time.
If you want.
To return to the Lord.
Return with all of your heart.
And God's going to do at work.
Return with all of your heart and God will deliver you from the hand.
Of the philistines here.
Here Samuel describes for them what repentance looks like.
Another way to put this he describes here what revival looks like.
It looks like he turning to God with all your heart.
It's a wholehearted, not.
I want it, just you know.
Give a little portion of my time a little portion of my day to God.
But I want.
To give my whole heart to God.
It's a complete dedication.
A full focus.
On the themes of the Lord, and he goes on to say, put away, foreign gods have no competing gods in your life.
Have no competing passions.
No nothing that competes with.
The word of the.
Lord, with the things of God in your life.
This means that and we'll see here in verse four, we'll just go ahead and read it.
The children of Israel put away the balls and the asteroids and serve the Lord only.
So the children of Israel at this time they had foreign gods.
They were worshipping foreign gods.
And yet at.
The same time they would say, well, we love the Lord.
But they also had these foreign gods and and there was this.
Division in their hearts that they were not really fully aware of.
But now, as they're lamenting, after Lord Samuel says, OK, you you, can you still have the opportunity to get right with God?
Need to really.
Fully and wholeheartedly turn to the Lord and that.
Means you put away.
Anything that's not of God, any false gods, the balls, the asteroids.
These were various gods of the people around them that they worshipped for various things.
They worshipped him for good weather, for success for finances.
For pleasure they they worshipped all these gods, for a variety of reasons.
And so they were pursuing all of these things, and Samuel says you need to stop that.
You need to throw those away and return with all of your heart.
He says you need to prepare your heart for the Lord, that you're not just.
Sad that God is not working in your life, right?
But but you need to on your.
Own with, you know.
Put in some effort on your own to prepare your heart to turn your.
Heart to the things of the Lord.
To start cleaning out to, to recognize, and perhaps this is like some self evaluation here.
Recognizing the the positions that you've taken, the decisions that you've made, the passions that you've had at and to start reversing those things that are not good and not in line with who God is and what he has said.
And Sammy says you need to serve him only you serve.
No other gods.
No other voice is louder to you than gods.
No other voice has greater authority than God.
Voice that what God says is the highest authority, the most importance.
This is what repentance looks like.
This is what revival looks like.
You have to return with all your heart.
Put away all the foreign gods.
Prepare your heart for the Lord, and serve him only.
And Samuel says, if you do this.
God will deliver you from the hand of the philistines.
He will bring deliverance in your life from those battles from that enemy that threatens you greatly.
This is what repentance looks like.
This is what revival looks like, and so for us as we have opportunity when God does open that door.
Hopefully it doesn't take 20 years, but if it does, well, we're ready with this message.
Return with all your heart.
You know, sometimes the message that we give is.
Hey, you know you just.
Need to start reading your Bible?
More right, you just need to.
Take this little step and.
That might be appropriate.
You you need to be led by the Lord when you have those opportunities to Minister to people, but but understand that what God is calling people to is a full repentance and sometimes because it sounds so hard in our head and it's so radically different than what the world around us is doing, we.
Kind of watered down.
We hold back we we don't faithfully represent what God has said in his word to the people around us.
We try to soften it a little bit so that it's palatable, right and and we.
Need to be careful.
With that again, that doesn't mean we cram truth truth down people's throats, and we, you know.
Force them to to accept it or receive it, but at the same time we need to be careful that we don't shy away from.
The truth that God has revealed and the truth stands in stark contrast to what the rest of society is saying and believing and trying to force everybody else to say as well.
And as representatives of the Lord, we need to be willing and able to call for a full repentance.
To say no, don't just start coming to church once a week, turn to God with all of your heart.
Completely transform your life and change your life and be wholehearted in your pursuits of God and the things of God.
Well verse five Samuel says gather all Israel to Mizpah and I.
Will pray to.
The Lord for you.
You guys want to?
Turn back to God.
OK, here's what it's going to take full repentance.
Turn with your whole heart.
And if you want to do that, let's gather together.
At Mizpah, it's a central place there in the land of Israel.
And so he gives the invitation.
It's kind of like the altar call, right?
Hey, if you're wanting to to get your life right with the Lord once you stand up and make your way down to the front, right?
Let's all stand up and make our way down to Mizpah.
If you want to repent and get your life right with God, and they responded versuchs.
So they gathered together at Mizpah.
They drew water and poured it out before the Lord, and they fasted that day and said there we have sinned against the Lord and Samuel judged the children of Israel at Mizpah.
They go through this ceremony of pouring out water.
And it's interesting to consider because we don't have this commanded in Scripture somewhere in a way that we could say.
This is what the Lord told them to do, and This is why, right?
You look at this.
Why did they pour out water?
Perhaps they're just seeking to symbolically say we're pouring our lives out completely unto the Lord.
And it's a good picture if that's what they're trying to say.
We don't know exactly.
We can trust Samuel is involved here, so it is something that had meaning and significance.
They poured out water.
They fasted, they confessed.
We have sinned against the Lord, so you can see these aspects of repentance here.
They're turning their hearts completely to the Lord.
They're confessing their sin before God.
And they're saying we're turning our lives over completely.
Help people get right with God and call them.
To a full repentance, no.
Don't call them to just a a little step.
Don't call them to just you know a little bit of reform in their life.
Now, I'm not saying we can't invite people to church or that kind of thing like, hey, you know that's part of the leading steps that that bring people to that place.
And so that's kind of earlier in the journey, right?
But when it comes time to man, I I just, I know I need to get right with the Lord, then then that's the time for.
Here's how to do that.
You don't get right with the Lord with a partial commitment with a you know, little 5 minutes of your day to devote to the Lord you.
You get right with the Lord with eight full repentance, a full devotion to God, and turning to God with your whole heart.
Well, moving on to verses seven through 10, we get point #3 to consider as we want to help people get right with God Point #3 we need to expect battle and pray for victory.
Expect battle and pray for victory.
Verse seven through 10 says this.
Now, when the philistines heard that the children of Israel had gathered together at Mizpah, the Lords of the Philistines went up against Israel.
And when the children of Israel heard of it, they were afraid of the Philistines.
So the children 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.
And Samuel took a suckling lamb and offered it as a whole burnt offering.
To the Lord.
Then Samuel cried out to the Lord for Israel.
And the Lord answered him.
Now as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel.
But the Lord thundered with a loud Thunder upon the philistines that day, and so confused them that they were overcome before Israel.
Here's something that you can count on for sure, every time, without exception.
When someone makes a decision.
To turn and get right with God.
The enemy is going to attack.
There is always going to be a battle.
And so that's why.
Here, in the point, I say expect battle as you have opportunity to Minister, you need to understand as they turn to the Lord, or as we turn to the Lord in repentance.
We can expect we can note that that decision and that new commitment to the Lord is going to be challenged by the enemy, and it's right here at Mizpah, as Israel gathered together.
The Philistines hear about it, and they now come up for battle.
And their decisions to trust the.
Lord are going to be challenged.
Israel, will you really follow the Lord?
Will you really hold fast to him only or are you going to call out to other gods and try to seek salvation and deliverance from somewhere else?
As the Philistines come against Israel, it tells us that the children of Israel were very afraid there at the end of verse seven, they were afraid of the philistines of the Philistines.
They're freaked out and and you can understand, because the last time they fought the philistines.
Was back in first Samuel Chapter 4.
30,000 men died in that battle and they lost the Ark of the Covenant.
The last time they had this same battle, they lost severely.
And they lost the Ark of the Covenant, and since then the the Philistines have oppressed them.
They've taken much territory, they've bullied them, they've destroyed Shiloh.
It's not surprising that Israel is freaked out now, when this?
Overbearing presence that's been there in their lives now comes up and says hey, I hear you're trying to get right with God.
Let me put a stop to that right now, and so Israel is.
Freaked out and and and.
Yet at the same time.
Notice what they say in verse eight, they ask for prayer.
Do not cease to cry out to the Lord and notice what they say.
The Lord our God.
They really have turned to the Lord.
They don't say the Lord your God, which is often what the the nation of Israel will say to a prophet.
They'll they'll talk to them about the prophets God, but no, he's our God.
We've turned to him, we've trusted in him.
And so Samuel.
Pray for us.
And notice what it says in verse eight that he may save us from the hand of the Philistines.
And here you can see a real change as they call out to God.
They're looking to God to save them.
Back in first Samuel Chapter 4.
Earlier battle with the Philistines in verse 3.
It tells us that they bring in the Ark.
Of the covenant.
When it comes among us, it may save us from the hand of our enemies.
They're looking at the object itself, and they're saying the object, the relic the Ark will save us.
But now, 20 years later, after they've had a full repentance and and they've turned to the Lord.
Now that they've been convicted and and have really gotten right with God, now they're not saying it may save us.
They're saying pray for us that he may save us.
It's a huge difference.
They're not trusting in religion, they're not trusting in.
What what's that called?
Superstition they're not trusting in you know those kinds of things they're trusting in the Lord.
You know today people trust in the church to save us.
They trust, trust in the government to save us.
They trust in this.
Thing or that thing?
There's superstitions today, just as there was then.
But we need to be in this place where we trust God to save us.
And when people around us are getting right with God and when God is using us in their lives, we need to expect battle as those decisions are made that the enemy is going to come and challenge those decisions and seek to bully into pressure and and to get people to give up.
On those commitments that were made to the.
Lord so recently.
And so Samuel is involved in this.
And he joins with them in the battle in prayer and verse nine.
It tells us he makes an offering.
It's a whole burnt offering to the Lord, which again represents the burnt offering as one of the offerings that is burnt completely and totally upon the altar, and it pictures a whole devotion to God.
And so Samuel offers this kind of offering and cries out to the Lord and says God, we have given ourselves to you completely and wholly.
And we're looking to you or trusting in you.
To deliver us.
And what does God do?
He delivers them.
Just like you promised through Samuel earlier.
If you turn to the Lord with your whole heart, God will deliver you from the philistines, and so now when the philistines come, and Israel does trust in God.
God thunders with a loud Thunder.
And the philistines are confused, and they're overcome before Israel expect battle.
But don't be overwhelmed by the battle and like give up and be freaked out and be running.
Away from the battle expect.
Battle and pray for victory and trust God.
In the midst of that battle that is going on James Chapter 5, verse 16 says, confess your trespasses to one another and pray for one another that you.
May be healed.
The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
As you think about this verse, boy is this like really just.
Plead out in front of us here in First Samuel Chapter 7 confess your trespasses.
They confess before the Lord.
They're turning their hearts back to the Lord.
They're asking for prayer.
And the Lord is healing them.
And the prayer of Samuel is effective.
And and it's accomplishing victory in their lives.
As they turn their hearts to the Lord, and as the enemy comes against them, this is still a ministry that we have today.
To turn back to the Lord to help each other in our pursuits of the Lord.
To pray for one another and specifically to pray for those that God has us ministering to you.
And he will bring victory.
It will be effective.
It will be powerful as we pray for those that God has connected us with in this way.
Well, moving on to verses 11 through 14 we get point #4 tonight and that is celebrate and remember God's work as you help people get right with God.
We start by waiting for the right time, right?
When the time is right when the conviction is there, we call for repentance a full repentance, not a watered down version of it.
We expect the battle that will take place and we pray for the victory that God wants to bring.
And then as God brings that victory.
We get the opportunity to celebrate that and remember the work that God has done.
Verses 11 through 14 says, and the men of Israel went out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines and drove them back as far as below Beth car.
Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer.
Saying thus far, the Lord has helped us.
So the philistines were subdued and they did not come anymore into the territory of Israel and the hand of the Lord was against the philistines all the days of Samuel.
Then the cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron to Gath, and Israel recovered its territory from the hands of the Philistines.
Also, there is peace between Israel and the Amorites.
The Philistines mount up and attack.
The Lord Thunders and confuses them, and Israel now charges.
Against the enemy and chases them, pursues them down.
Below this point, Beth car we don't know.
Exactly where that is, but.
They pushed them away and they gained back territory that they had lost.
Remember that Joshua had given the whole land to the people of Israel, right?
But the Philistines had taken cities like Gath and Ekron.
And again, since Shiloh had been lost that.
The Philistines were occupying that territory, but now in this battle they take back land that they had lost.
They're having a victory, not just in the that moment of battle, but they're taking back territory that God had given to them.
They're recovering things that had been lost.
And God is restoring to them.
Some of the inheritance.
Some of the blessings that he had previously given to them.
This is how it often is, right in times of rebellion.
In times of disconnection to God we we lose so much of what God has provided, but as.
We turn back.
The the crowd there on the I I.
Think it's an acts chapter 5 or maybe an actual acts Chapter 2.
So on the day of Pentecost, he tells them repents and be converted that times of refreshing may come from the Lord that that when you turn back this turmoil, this this difficulty that you've had internally is going to be.
Resolved when you turn to the Lord and you're converted and believe in Jesus that that you will have this time of refreshing and God going to restore and give back things that were lost.
Peace that you once had, perhaps victory that you once had.
Territory and and areas of your life that once were blessed and bountiful.
God restores as his people turned back to him.
And so, as Samuel is watching this unfold, he says, guys.
We need to remember.
This we need to take a moment after the battle is done and and just recognize the work that God has done.
And so it tells us in verse 12 that he sets up this stone and calls it Ebenezer.
He names the stone.
The the word Ebenezer means stone of help.
And he's saying, look guys, let's always remember God has helped us to this point thus far geographically.
We've pushed the Israel or the Philistines back beyond this point, and so this far God has helped us, or chronologically up to this point in time, right that that God has been with us up to this point, and we can set this here and remember and celebrate God's work.
Memorials like this can be very important and helpful.
God often had his people set up memorials.
Now, of course, sometimes the people of Israel took memorials that got a given and turned them into idolatry, and so there's a danger there.
But at the same time God established many things in his law and in the word as a memorial for his people.
In Exodus Chapter 13, God describes the.
Law of the first born and how the first born are.
To be redeemed.
First point of a donkey says you shall redeem with the lamb, that kind of thing.
And so the first born of.
Men, you know their their first born children there to redeem.
And God anticipates that their children are going to say, why do we do this?
It's kind of a weird practice, why?
Why do we re do this?
Why do we redeem certain animals and people in this way?
Why do we go through this practice?
And God says.
In that time, when your child asks.
Then you can explain to them by strength of hand.
The Lord brought us out of Egypt out of the.
House of *******
And explained the whole situation of Egypt.
The first born.
Being passed over, you know, for the Passover and and and all of the things that God done had done in deliverance, and so got built into the law.
These practices so that later on the kids would say, why do we do this so that then there could be the explanation of here's how God delivered us and delivered all the firstborns.
And so we treat the firstborns this way or.
We redeem the first points in this way as a reminder of that.
It's an occasion for us to remember what God has done and tell the story about what happened.
As they crossed over the Jordan River.
God told Joshua and Joshua Chapter 4 take 12 Stones out of the river, set them up on the shore, take 12 Stones off the shore, put him in the river.
Again, so that.
You could always remember this is the point where God parted the river and we are able to crossover on dry land.
Of course, the Lord Jesus gave us communion said do this in remembrance of me.
All that to say, there are some things that are just really helpful as memorials in our lives.
As we have the opportunity to Minister to others to help them get right with God.
We can be looking out for opportunities to celebrate those things.
And you know, maybe.
There's a simple thing that you can do as a little bit of a reminder.
You know, maybe every year after that you have a reminder that alerts you hey, call up so and so and remind them hey, remember on this day last year.
We prayed a prayer together and you know there was this work that God did in our lives that there's this memorial.
There's this opportunity to recount and tell the story, or, you know it happened at Burger King.
And so here's a little Burger King figure, so you can just always remember.
You know God spoke to you at Burger.
Thing or whatever I'm just making up stuff but but you get the point right that that we get to celebrate and remember God's work and and maybe there's some ways that we can do that in a way that really just triggers those opportunities for us to reflect on the work of God and and think about the Ebenezer Stone, right? It's a stone that's set up that.
They would always remember now.
If they started to rebel against God again and lost territory.
How obvious would it have been if the Philistines now occupy the that area around the Ebenezer Stone and they can look across their border and?
Go oh man remember?
We used to be over there.
But we're over here now.
We've lost ground.
The Lord helped us that far what happened and it would be an occasion for them.
An opportunity for them to reflect and recognize when they were drifting from the Lord as well as celebrate what God had done in the victories that had been established.
So the philistines are pushed back and they have victory in.
Samuel is helping them to celebrate that and remember that. Well, finally, verses 15 through 17 point #5 tonight reconnect and minister regularly. Verse 15 says and Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life.
He went from year to year on a circuit to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah, and judged Israel in all those places.
But he always returned to Ramah, for his home.
Was there there he judged Israel.
There he built an altar to.
Here Chapter 7 is really a overview in a summary of the life of Samuel we saw his early days in the earlier chapters, but as a prophet to the land, this is really the overview of it.
He really came on the scene at this point when they lamented after the Lord LED them to repentance and then.
Maintained that with this circuit that he kept every.
And so he would have this pattern that he would walk through in the land of Israel.
This is showing the land of Israel with the borders under King Saul, which would be happening shortly in the chapters that we read to come.
But right in the middle of the nation there was these four kind of major cities, and so he would just have a circuit.
He would just go around and around.
Every year he would go from town to town to visit and and on this circuit he would be ministering to be judging the nation, bringing forth the word of the Lord to the nation, and so that was his ministry that he was able to do.
And so I worded it this way, reconnected Minister regularly every year.
He would make his rounds and he would go.
OK guys, remember what God is done?
He lamented you got right with the Lord and how God brought you back and let's continue to be faithful and and encourage them and help them to continue to walk in the ways of the Lord.
And then the things that God had called them.
Why did God have Samuel?
Go to these same places?
Year after year, why was this circuit there?
I would suggest important for us to consider.
None of the things that we've seen take place in Chapter 7 are once.
For all decisions.
The repentance that takes place.
It's not a I repented once, Israel repented once and that was it.
It's a lifetime of decisions to repent and to turn to the Lord.
It's an ongoing thing.
And so Samuel was continuing to Minister, continuing to call people to repentance, continuing to help them be connected to God, trusting for God, or trusting God to work in the battle.
That's not a once and for all kind of decision.
That helps for today's battle, but for tomorrow's battle we have to decide to trust God in the battle again and then tomorrow's battle.
After that, we have to trust God again.
And every time we make commitments to God and the enemy rises up, there's fear that strikes our hearts and we have to choose and decide we're going to trust God and we're going.
To go forward.
In faith and what he has said these.
Are things that God?
Calls us to continually not just one time in our life.
That's it, and then we're done.
No Samuel continued this circuit because the nation needed to be continually called back to maintain the work that God had done in their lives and to continue to progress forward.
And so Samuel made this.
He content connected with them and ministered to them regularly, and I think that's important for us to consider.
That what God has called us to as far as ministry is concerned.
And, God, you know, puts you at this place in a time where you're ministering to somebody.
The job isn't just get someone to say a prayer and then you're done, they're set for life and then they're on their way.
But I would suggest to you that maybe there is a reconnecting and an ongoing regular ministry.
You know discipleship is different than conversion, right?
Praying the sinner's prayer with somebody is one thing, and that's valuable and good, but then also we need to be.
Teaching them to observe the things that the Lord taught us, and so there's a ongoing work and ministry that goes along with that initial repentance.
And that initial work that God does in somebody life and so.
So there's something for us to consider perhaps, and I would even encourage you to consider this tonight.
You know, maybe think back to past ways that God has used you in peoples lives and maybe tonight the Lord just wants to stir up and remind you you know you guys haven't connected for a while.
Maybe you just need to.
Reach out send a message.
Poke him on Facebook, you know whatever you whatever you do, but just to say hey, remember that time.
I was just thinking about the time and God did this in our lives and I just want you to know I'm praying for you.
I'm always here for you and and perhaps the Lord would have you, to, you know, be an ongoing part of their life and not just that initial experience with the Lord.
Or that one time of cultural pendance, but that going forward perhaps?
For Samuel, is the rest of his life that there's this ongoing circuit that you're going.
You're making the rounds and hitting all of those areas that God has allowed you to minister in, and the ways that he's allowed you to be an impact in.
And so tonight we have a great example in the prophet Samuel, learning how to help people get right with God.
Wait for evidence of conviction.
Let the Lord show you when the right time is for that message to be brought forth.
Don't just be fighting against and trying to force something to happen.
Don't try to be the Holy Spirit for people.
But let the Lord show you when that right time is when.
The conviction is.
Apparent and then call for a full repentance.
Don't water down the message.
Bring forth the real desire of God and Call of God for them.
There's going to be challenges, but as you pray for victory, God is going to make.
That perfect if and it's going to accomplish much, and as he does set up some memorials, celebrate and remember the the work that God has done and then big picture.
You know long term after.
Make sure you circle back, reconnect and ministered regularly to those that God has used you to impact in other people.
's lives, let's pray, Lord, we thank you for your word and the opportunity to be part of your work.
I pray God that we would be effective agents for you, filled with your Holy Spirit.
Lord, with your heart with your eyes with your love, for people around us, Lord, that we might.
Be your hands your feet to your voice.
And bring forth your truth, your message, your comfort, your strength and your.
Help to those who are in need.
And so Lord, give us eyes to see those who are lamenting after you load that we might be able to connect them to help them to know you and to walk with you.
And I pray God that you would allow us to be.
Affective Lord making a huge impact in the lives of people around us.
Also what I pray that you would help us to have patience Lord for those that we desperately want to see that change right now.
We want to see it right away.
Lord, it's hard to see that the destruction that happens in the meantime.
But Lord, may we be patient to trust you.
To rest in your plan and your timings and load.
If it takes us 20 years, help us to walk with you faithfully for that opportunity.
To call someone to repentance.
And to be used.
In their life.
To be connected to you to know you.
And experience the victory and the restoration that you desire to bring.
It's worth it, Lord.
So help us.
To trust you and to walk according to your plans, we pray this in Jesus name.