Year 2 Day 242
Read - 1 Samuel 7:7-17
Message - Alan Burke
All bets are off! As the Israelites were confessing their sins, the Philistines heard what they were doing and thought this was the time that they could get rid of the Israelites for God. But really, you gotta wonder what this lot were thinking here, they should have had more sense, after all a golden box that belonged to the Israelites had left their god Dagon in the repair shop and the devastation that had been brought upon the people meant their cry went up to heaven because of how awful it was (ch5). Nonetheless they amass to wage war on the Israelites, the Israelites who had assembled together, men women and children, those who were infirm being supported by those whom they love, nursing infants strapped to their mothers, children all about, they had come to the Lord. This wasn’t a fighting force, this was from a human perceptive only going to be a one sided affair, with all bets off, this was going to be a complete massacre but then the Lord indeed delivered them.
They tell Samuel to keep interceding for them, notice the change there, for the call the Lord “our” God (v8). This is a people who had strayed, but had now come back, before they had taken the ark into battle without a second thought, they had tired to do it in their own strength and had failed but now, now they look to the Lord. There Samuel offers a sacrifice on their behalf, for the first time in this book we have the people coming before God as he had commanded it, making an offering for the atonement of sin as they offer a suckling lamb (Lev 14). On one level it seems such a trifle offering, one lamb for all who were gathered there, but it is what it symbolised, what it looked forward to what mattered, for the shedding of blood pointed forward to what Jesus would later provide, by his blood a once and for all sacrifice for all who believe (Heb 9:11-18).
Human strength was not going to defeat the philistines in this battle, a sword and a bow against an unarmed assembly of the people of God was a foregone conclusion that is until the Lord himself acted and they were routed before the Israelites. Blue skies, all of a sudden replaced by dark clouds, and the sound of thunder so loud and fearful that the Philistines were thrown into a panic and they were routed. Think back to the prayer of Hannah, the words that came from her lips as she stood before the Lord in prayer of how “it is not by strength that one prevails”(2:9c) and indeed here the people were shown that as her prayer went on as she prayed how… “those who oppose the Lord will be shattered, he will thunder against them from heaven” (v10). The Lord had shown his power, they had seen with their eyes his complete and utter control of all.
The Lord had delivered them, the Lord had done it. He was never going to bless a sinful people, he wasn’t going bless his people when they sinned grievously, when they despised the Holy, when they just did it in their own strength, doing all the pragmatic things they could think of as they took the ark to the battle field. But when they sorted themselves out, when they turned from their sin, when they repented, God did indeed work and brought salvation to them. At the first Ebenezer they had tried to use the Lord for their purposes failed (4:1), but here the second Ebenezer (7:12) the Lord acted on their behalf because they were repentant, the Lord wants more than just a ritual, more than tradition, more than observance, he wants us to turn to him, to trust in him, they did not deserve his forgiveness and we do not deserve his forgiveness, but he shows it to us in abundance to us though the Lamb of God that all sacrifices pointed towards, Jesus Christ.
Q10 How did God create man?
God created man male and female, after his own image, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, with dominion over the creatures. (Gen. 1:26–28, Col. 3:10, Eph. 4:24)