Summary of 1 Samuel 7:
The ark of the covenant is now at Kiriath Jearim, guarded by Eleazar. The ark stayed here 20 years until the Israelites rid themselves of foreign gods and Ashtoreths.
All the Israelites gathered at Mizpah where Samuel interceded for them with the Lord. They fasted and confessed their sins. The Philistines, hearing of this gathering, went to Mizpah and attacked. Samuel continued to pray to God and sacrificed a burnt offering. The Lord sent loud thunder, panicking the Philistines. The Israelites routed the Philistines, slaughtering them as they fled beyond Beth Car.
Samuel set a stone to show the Lord helping them. The Philistines did not invade again. Throughout Samuel’s lifetime, Israel regained the land taken from them by the Philistines and there was peace with the Amorites. Samuel served as judge all the days of his life, making his home in Ramah.
BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 8, Day 4: 1 Samuel 7:
9) Part personal question. My answer: Samuel told the Israelites to give up their foreign gods. When they did, he interceded for them with the Lord, offering up burnt sacrifices. He prayed for the people on Israel’s behalf and he served as judge for the people and priest as well. Give up idols and reflect God wherever we are. We need to pray for others and intercede for them with God if need be.
10) They gave up their foreign gods. They confessed their sins. They relied on God when threatened by the Philistines. They had faith. God defeated the Philistines for them and gave them lasting peace. God answered their prayers.
11) In chapter 4, the Israelites demanded God to be with them. They put their faith in the ark, an object, not God. Their hearts were twisted and not fully with the Lord. They were prideful. In chapter 7, they entreated God to be with them. They put their faith in God. They confessed their sins. Their hearts were full of faith. We learn we have to have true faith if we want God to fight our battles for us. We have to ask God, not demand God to help us.
Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 8, Day 4: 1 Samuel 7:
Once your heart is right for God, He is there. All the pieces come together. He protects and saves and prospers. It’s as simple as believing faith in Him.
End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 8, Day 4: 1 Samuel 7:
The ark did not rest in the temple; instead, it rested in the house of Abinadab.
For 20 years, the people weren’t right with God. Their cities were in ruins, their armies were defeated, and they were under Philistine domination. They refused to turn to Him.
Where was Samuel for all this time?
God raised up Samuel as a prophet and a judge (1 Samuel 4:1). Yet Samuel was strangely absent from the whole Ark of the Covenant fiasco. 1 Samuel 4:1 is the last place Samuel was mentioned, right before Israel schemed to use the ark as a good luck charm in battle. We don’t know where Samuel was but presumably in training still.
What was important about repenting to the Lord?
Samuel called the nation to repentance.
- The repentance had to be inward (with all your hearts) and
- Outward (put away the foreign gods).
The inward was more important than the outward, and it had to come first. That is why Samuel first called Israel to return with all your hearts, then told them to put away the foreign gods.
However, inward repentance is a secret thing. It is hidden. No one can really “see” the heart of another. Yet the inward was proved by the outward. We can know if Israel did return with all your hearts by seeing if they really did put away the foreign gods.
The Israelites were serving two gods and thought they weren’t rejecting him because of this. They felt they only added the worship of other gods to their worship of the LORD. Samuel called on Israel to turn their backs on these other gods and serve Him only.
Baal was attractive because he was thought to be the god of weather, bringing good crops and financial success. Ashtoreth was attractive because she was thought to be the goddess of fertility, thus connected to love and sex.
- This is where Jacob separated from Laban (Genesis 31:49) and was the gathering place for a repentant Israel in Judges 20:1. This was a place remembered for separation and repentance.
- This showed the spiritual need Israel felt at the time. They expressed their repentance both by putting away the bad and by pursuing the good.
A ceremonial pouring of water demonstrated the soul poured out before the LORD. It was an expression of emptiness and need. Lamentations 2:19: Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the watches; pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord.
Israel also expressed their sorrow over their sin by fasting (a message that nothing else really mattered except getting right with God) and by confession (a straightforward claim of guilt and responsibility).
1 John 1:5-10 makes it clear that confession is vital to maintain relationship with God. As God convicts us of sin or sins that hinder fellowship with Him, we must confess it and receive forgiveness and cleansing for our relationship with God to continue without hindrance.
“We have sinned against the LORD.” This is almost exactly what David said when he was confronted with his sin in 2 Samuel 12:13.
With God fighting for them, Israel was invincible. Small faith in the true and living God is more powerful than strong faith in a lie.
How 1 Samuel 4 is different from 1 Samuel 7:
The last time Israel was in this kind of situation they said, “Let’s get the Ark of the Covenant and take it into battle with us. Then we can’t lose!” Now they are much wiser before the LORD, and instead of trusting in the ark they did the right thing and asked Samuel to cry out to the LORD our God for us.
The battle was won before it began because the LORD answered Samuel.
The Bible speaks of Samuel as a mighty man of prayer: Samuel was among those who called upon His name; they called upon the LORD, and He answered them. (Psalm 99:6)
God not only sent thunder, He also sent confusion to the Philistines and confidence to Israel.
- A man of faith
- A man of peace
- A man of military prowess
- A servant
- A man of prayer
- A man of hard work
- A judge
- A leader