Samuel – A Lifetime Serving God
· A people experience trouble by keeping foreign gods in their midst. But it isn't Israel!
· The presence of the Ark had a peculiar effect on the Philistine gods (I Sam. 5:2-5)
· The Philistine's solution? Hey, just move the Ark! (5:8) But that only worsened things (5:9)
· After trying another move, God finally had their attention (6:1-6) But they hedge their bets (6:7)
· Note how the Philistine's experience is an odd reminder of the plight of Israel
· The Ark is brought to Kiriath Jearim, where it stays till David brings it to Jerusalem (II Sam. 6:2)
· Despite the fact the Ark had returned, Israel failed to grasp the lesson (7:2,3)
· Can you see how Samuel's background prepared him for this moment? (7:3-6)
· Why is intercessory prayer important? We have a Mediator (I Tim 2:5,6) & an Advocate
· But remember James 5:16, and especially Matt. 18:19.20. What does I Pet. 3:7 mean?
· Remember the importance of Joshua's example (Josh. 1:7,8; 24:23,24)
· Unlike the last disaster (34,000 killed!!), Israel prepares spiritually before battle (7:6)
· They also remember just who it is that brings victory (7:8) No more spiritual lucky charms.
· It's not a difficult lesson. Commit ourselves to God, and He will be near. (7:10,11)
· We've seen a number of times when stones are used to commemorate a special experience. (For instance, Gen 12:8, 35:7, Joshua 4:5-7, 24:26)
· Here, after their victory, the Israelites put up a stone and call it Ebenezer (the Lord has helped us)
· Like those previous examples, this is something the Israelites can point back to and say, 'God did something for us there, and we remember.'
· The message of 'Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing' should mean more now.
#1) We cannot expect God to answer our prayers when we are "straddling the fence"
#2) When we serve the Lord with all our hearts, God will respond to fervent prayers
#3) Though we access to God's heart directly through Christ, we still need intercessory prayer
#4) We should never fail to honor God and give Him the glory for our successes
For next week, read I Samuel 7:15-8:22