When the preacher’s car broke down on a country road, he walked to a nearby roadhouse to use the
phone. After calling for a tow truck, he spotted his old friend, Frank, drunk and shabbily dressed at the
bar. “What happened to you, Frank?” asked the good reverend. “ … More
Israel mourned for 20 years as the ark was stored, like an unwanted box, in Abinadab’s house in Kerjarth-Jearim (vv. 1-2). Eleazar, for all practical purposes, was the priest over it but Samuel is the real leader during this time period. He no doubt performed the functions of a priest, military leader, judge, and king, but his main task was to bring the people back to God. Samuel told the people to turn away from their strange God’s and serve only the Lord, which they did (vv. 3-4).
Mizpeh, which is located just north of Jerusalem, became an important site. It was there that the Israelites had gathered to mobilize against the tribe of Benjamin (Judges 20:1). It was here that Samuel prays for the people and they confess their sins (vv. 5-6). He was appointed leader and Saul was presented to the people as king.
The Philistines heard about Saul’s convocation and determined that they would squelch a possible revolution by attacking the Israelites. Samuel did what the people asked and offered a lamb for a burnt offering. The Lord accepted the sacrifice, answered the prayer for deliverance and saved his people. The Philistines were decisively defeated and came no more into the coast of Israel (vv. 7-11). God gave Israel a great victory, and it was the first one they had for along time. Samuel took a stone and places it between Miapeh and Shen, giving it the name of Ebenezer which means “stone of help” (v. 12). We all need an Ebenezer stone. God was able to use Samuel because he was genuinely dedicated to God.
It is easy for me to complain about my problems and refuse to change and do what He requires, as the Israelites did under Samuel’s leadership. I should not seek new guidance from God until I have acted on His previous directions.
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View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »
I Samuel 4:1-22God’s Judgment Falls on Eli And His Sons
I Samuel 5:1-12The Philistines And The Ark
I Samuel 6:1-21The Ark Returned to Israel
I Samuel 7:1-17Samuel Leads in Revival
I Samuel 8:1-22Israel Rejects God And Demands a King
I Samuel 9:1-14The Search For a King
I Samuel 9:15-27Saul is Chosen as King
I Samuel 10:1-13Saul is Anointed as King
I Samuel 10:14-27Samuel Gathered the leaders of Israel together