When we are truly sensible that by sin we have provoked God to withdraw from us and that we are undone if we continue in that state,
if we make a solemn business of returning to God we may be assured we are on the way to a renewed prosperity and deliverance.
I Samuel 1
1 And the men of Kirjath-jearim came, and fetched up the ark of the LORD, and brought it into the house of Abinadab in the hill, and sanctified Eleazar his son to keep the ark of the LORD.
2 And it came to pass, while the ark abode in Kirjath-jearim, that the time was long; for it was twenty years: and all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD.
3 ¶ And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.
4 Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served the LORD only.
5 And Samuel said, Gather all Israel to Mizpeh, and I will pray for you unto the LORD.
6 And they gathered together to Mizpeh, and drew water, and poured it out before the LORD, and fasted on that day, and said there, We have sinned against the LORD. And Samuel judged the children of Israel in Mizpeh.
7 And when the Philistines heard that the children of Israel were gathered together to Mizpeh, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the children of Israel heard it, they were afraid of the Philistines.
8 And the children of Israel said to Samuel, Cease not to cry unto the LORD our God for us, that he will save us out of the hand of the Philistines.
9 ¶ And Samuel took a sucking lamb, and offered it for a burnt offering wholly unto the LORD: and Samuel cried unto the LORD for Israel; and the LORD heard him.
10 And as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel: but the LORD thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them; and they were smitten before Israel.
11 And the men of Israel went out of Mizpeh, and pursued the Philistines, and smote them, until they came under Beth-car.
12 Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Eben-ezer, saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us.
13 ¶ So the Philistines were subdued, and they came no more into the coast of Israel: and the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel.
14 And the cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron even unto Gath; and the coasts thereof did Israel deliver out of the hands of the Philistines. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.
15 And Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life.
16 And he went from year to year in circuit to Beth-el, and Gilgal, and Mizpeh, and judged Israel in all those places.
17 And his return was to Ramah; for there was his house; and there he judged Israel; and there he built an altar unto the LORD.
I Samuel 1 – J. Vernon McGee
1 Samuel 7:1-4 – Reverence Blessed
It is interesting to notice that when the Israelites were weaned from the Ark, their hearts lamented after the LORD, I Samuel 7:2. We cannot be permanently happy without God. Seasons of apathy and irreligion will sooner or later be succeeded by faith and love, as the frost of winter yields to the touch of spring. In this case, the revival was due to the patient labor of Samuel, and he did splendid service in urging the people to deal drastically with the idols of Canaan, which had cut them off from God as clouds hide the sun.
1 Samuel 7:5-17 – Leading the Nation in God’s Ways
We are here taught the successive steps that must be taken if revival is to be granted to either Church or individual.
1. Unity. All Israel was gathered. The divisions and jealousies of preceding years were renounced.
2. Confession. The people poured out their hearts before the Lord.
3. The abandonment of false gods. They “put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served the LORD only” (1 Samuel 7:4).
4. Intercessory prayer. The one condition of revival is to get back to prayer. “Cease not to cry unto the LORD our God for us” (1 Samuel 7:8).
5. Full surrender, as set forth in Samuel’s burned-offering. Yield thyself to God, and thy Philistine sins, stealing up the valleys, will fall back discomfited, and thou shalt raise thine Ebenezer.
So Israel proved. There was immediate evidence that God had accepted them. Natural phenomena fought on their side. The very spot which had been the scene of defeat became the scene of glorious victory. Compare I Samuel 4:1; 7:12. Here is great encouragement for us, for at certain spots in our life-experience we have been defeated; but just in these same spots, when the barriers which have intercepted God’s help are leveled, we shall become more than conquerors.
I Samuel 7:8—Cease not to cry unto the LORD our God.
Samuel was famous for his prayers. They are repeatedly referred to in the brief record of his life. In the Psalms he is spoken of as the one who “called upon the LORD” (Psalm 99:6). Indeed, he fought and won Israel’s battles by his strong intercessions. Mary of Scots said that she dreaded the prayers of John Knox more than the battalions of the King of France. So his people were accustomed to think that if the prophet’s hands were held out in importunate prayer, their foes must be restrained.
In the Life of Mr. Reginald Radcliffe, one who contributes reminiscences interjects a remark which deserves to be carefully pondered: “The great secret of the blessing which came from God to the awakening of whole districts, the quickening of Christians, and the salvation of multitudes, was prayer, continued, fervent, believing, expectant. There was never anything striking in the addresses; but through communion with the living Christ, the word came forth with living and life giving power. Often would the forenoon be spent in continuous prayer.” This may well convict some of us of the cause of our failure. We have expected the Lord to thunder and discomfort our Philistines, and with a great deliverance; but we have ceased to cry unto the Lord.
Ye that are the Lord’s remembrances, cease not to cry unto Him. If the judge avenged the unfortunate widow, shall not God avenge his own elect, who cry day and night? It is recorded of our Lord that He prayed early and late, and all night. He prayed when He was about to be transfigured; for his disciples; in the Garden of Gethsemane; and for his murderers. How much more do we need to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)!