FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 1
SCRIPTURE:1 SAMUEL 7
BY: Jeremy Witt
The Ark of the Covenant was left in Kiriath-Jearim with a Levite named Eleazar. (Verse 1) For 20 years the Ark is there and seems almost forgotten. The Tabernacle was in Shiloh and most likely destroyed by the Philistines in the battle mentioned in 1 Samuel 4:1-18 because of the evil deeds of the priests in 2:12-17. We know that the Tabernacle and its articles inside were saved because they reappear at Nob during Saul’s reign in 1 Samuel 21:1-6 and at Gibeon during the reign of David and Solomon in 1 Chronicles 16:39, 21:29-30, and 2 Chronicles 1.
(Verse 2) Let’s remember that many people have died at the end of chapter 6 and now the people are in a time of mourning and probably living in fear. They may not know what to do. It may be like that dusty Bible for many. It is there in the back of our minds but not paid much attention. What we know is that other things have become more important. The people didn’t want to give up some things, so they just put God on a shelf like some of their wooden or stone idols. It took the nation 20 years to come to a point that life as they knew it was not enough. During this time, the Philistines have essentially done whatever they wanted to Israel. The people of Israel have done things their own way and worshipped other gods.
In verse 3, Samuel who is now a grown man (at the very least, he is in his 30’s or 40’s), speaks and tells the nation, if you are tired of living life as you have and are ready to return to the LORD, repent and get rid of those things that you have made more important than the LORD God.
Historical background: Baal was the god of the Canaanites, the god of thunder and rain, believed to control vegetation and agriculture. Baal was the son of El, the chief god of Canaan. Ashtoreth was the goddess of war and war. In Babylon, she was called Ishtar and Aphrodite in Greece. She represented fertility, and the Canaanites believed that the sexual union of Baal and Ashtoreth would magically rejuvenate the land and make it fertile.
A revival swept the land as they removed their gods in verse 4. Samuel calls the nation to Mizpah in verse 5. Mizpah is where Samuel became
Samuel prays to God in verse 5 and pours water out before the LORD in verse 6. This most likely represents repentance from sin and following God alone. Isn’t it when things go bad that we realize what we have done wrong? It is in times of pain and suffering that we pray more too. We realize that we are in control and in need of God. When things are good, we think that we did this and lose our focus upon Him.
Verse 7 compounds the Israelites understanding of their need for God when the armies of the Philistines show up. Notice verse 8. The people called out, a sacrifice was made, and God showed up and showed off! Confusion falls upon the Philistines when God speaks, and Israel defeats them.
Samuel sets up a stone called Ebenezer. For those of you old enough, this is where the hymn, “Here I raise my Ebenezer” is referring. This was a monument or marker to remind the nation what God had done. We need spiritual markers or monuments to help us not to forget how the LORD has shown up for us. Do you know your Ebenezer moments? Have you shared them with your family? Let us remember what the LORD has done and to help our children and grandchildren to know what the LORD has done.