Samuel Administers Justice-Rescued
Key Verse: “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.” (1 Samuel 7:3)
This week’s lesson comes on the heels of our Independence Day celebration, a time to pause, reflect, and remember our freedom. Just as America has been freed, so is the case with every child of God. Samuel was a judge who purposed to maintain and enhance Israel’s relationship with God. He was to impart the wisdom of God, instruct them in the way of God, and implant them in the word of God.
REPENTANCE – THE FIRST STEP (v. 3-4)
As Samuel begins to speak to the whole house of Israel, he instructed them to return unto the Lord. By this time, Israel had abandoned God and in doing so they offended him as well. The prophetic voice of Samuel came with instructions to put away the strange gods (Baalim), the idol gods, and Ashtaroth and begin to prepare their hearts for a period of reaffirmation. Baalim was the god of thunder and rain and Ashtaroth was the god of love and fertility. Israel believed that by serving these strange gods they would have a very fertile and productive land and harvest. However, it was time to repent and change their hearts and minds to serve God and him only. It is good to know that even when we have strayed away, God can and will open his hand and his heart that we may be reclaimed.
INTERCESSION – THE SECOND STEP (v. 5-11)
Samuel then calls all of Israel to Mizpeh to begin to pray unto God for them. As they were fasting and praying and offering themselves back to God, the Philistines heard that they were meeting at Mizpeh and conspired to destroy them. Israel heard that they [the Philistines] were closing in on them and became afraid, however, Samuel told them to continue to cry out unto the Lord, he offered a lamb to God and that very day, God thundered before the Philistines and they began to panic causing them to turn back but the men of Israel went out to smite the Philistines until the came under Beth-car. It is amazing to see how God fights for his people in times of trouble.
MINISTRY – THE FINAL STEP (v. 15-17)
The lesson closes with the assertion that Samuel administered justice throughout all the land of Israel. Each year, he went to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpeh and judged Israel. When Samuel returned to Ramah, he judged Israel and there he built an altar for this was his central location of ministry.
This is a great lesson for us to remember that no matter how far we have fallen away from God, he still stands with arms wide open to reclaim and restore us. It is a blessing to know that God hears and answers prayer.
Reverend Rodney C. Griffin, Jr., B.A.
Mount Vernon Baptist Church
Dr. Johnny L. Miller, Pastor
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