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5. Samuel, Israel’s Judge

December 17, 2009

Text:      I Samuel 7:2-17

Outline:      I. Israel Seeks the Lord      I Samuel 7:2-6

                         II. Israel Routs the Philistines      I Samuel 7:7-13

                        III. Israel is at Peace      I Samuel 7:14-17

Context/Discussions/Comments:

     Israel continues to be oppressed and attacked by the Philistines during the 20 years the Ark has been at Kiriath Jearim. These attacks were actually good in that Israel was in mourning and actually became interested in seeking the Lord and worshipping Him. Samuel senses this and tells Israel to get rid of their idols and gather at Mizpah if they are serious about recommitting themselves to God. He also tells them that if they truly seek God and serve only Him, God will deliver them from the hands of the Philistines. So Israel did get rid of their idols and assembled at Mizpah [about 14 miles SSE of Shiloh] to meet with Samuel. There they poured water before the Lord, fasted, and confessed their sin. I presume the “pouring of water” is a type of baptism signifying confession, forgiveness, and purification. Samuel is Israel’s judge and priest but not their High Priest. Samuel can offer sacrifices but tabernacle worship as established by Moses is non-existent in that the Ark is separated from the tabernacle in Shiloh.

     The Philistines learn that Israel is gathered at Mizpah and make plans to attack them. Israel becomes aware of Philistia’s plan, is afraid, and asks Samuel to pray for the Lord to rescue them. Samuel not only prays but sacrifices a lamb as a Burnt Offering for all Israel on the altar at Mizpah. During the sacrifice the Philistines get ready to attack but the Lord intervenes with loud thunder and the Philistines panic. Israel routs the Philistines and pursue them to Beth Car. Samuel places a large stone at Ebenezer in commemoration of their victory.

     Philistia did not invade Israel again during Samuel’s lifetime. In fact, Israel gained back territory between Ekron and Gath. There was also peace with the Amorites.

      Samuel lived in Ramah but set up a circuit from Bethel to Gilgal to Mizpah for the purpose of judging Israel.

Lessons/Applications:

     1. One cannot claim to seek the Lord and still have “idols” in your midst. Removing our “idols” indicates we are serious in our commitment to the Lord.

     2. God loves to confuse our enemies when we are willing to place our trust completely in Him.

     3. It is good to establish a permanent reminder of those times in our lives when God has miraculously intervened and given us victory.

     4. Real PEACE is possible only when we seek the Lord, confess our sin, and pledge to serve Him.

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