Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
1 Samuel 7:7-9 (NIV)
When the Philistines heard that Israel had assembled at Mizpah, the rulers of the Philistines came up to attack them. When the Israelites heard of it, they were afraid because of the Philistines. They said to Samuel, “Do not stop crying out to the Lord our God for us, that he may rescue us from the hand of the Philistines.” Then Samuel took a suckling lamb and sacrificed it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. He cried out to the Lord on Israel’s behalf, and the Lord answered him.
1 Samuel 7:7-9(MSG)
When the Philistines heard that Israel was meeting at Mizpah, the Philistine leaders went on the offensive. Israel got the report and became frightened—Philistines on the move again! They pleaded with Samuel, “Pray with all your might! And don’t let up! Pray to God, our God, that he’ll save us from the boot of the Philistines.” Samuel took a young lamb not yet weaned and offered it whole as a Whole-Burnt-Offering to God. He prayed fervently to God, interceding for Israel. And God answered.
“Now when the Philistines heard that the Israelites had gathered at Mizpah, the lords (governors) of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the Israelites heard it, they were afraid of the Philistines. And the sons of Israel said to Samuel, “Do not cease to cry out to the Lord our God for us, so that He may save us from the hand of the Philistines.” So Samuel took a nursing lamb and offered it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord; and Samuel cried out to the Lord for Israel and the Lord answered him.” -AMPLIFIED
The people of Israel are gathered at Mizpah. There they were getting things right with the Lord their God. They had fasted and prayed. They had confessed their sin to God and also to one another. They had symbolically poured out a cleansing sacrifice to the Lord. Things appeared to be going well.
There they are on top of Mizpah seeking the face of God when they are alerted that the Philistines have heard they are gathered there on top of the mountain. The Philistines are irate over this fact and think that Israel is up to no good. (They think that Israel is having a war counsel.) The Philistine leaders go on the offensive and decide to rise up against Israel while everyone is gathered together; easy target. Right?
The newly rededicated to the Lord Israelites freak-out! They pleaded with Samuel to quickly, “Pray with all your might! And don’t let up! Pray to God, our God, that he’ll save us from the boot of the Philistines.” And Samuel did just as they asked; he prayed and he prayed hard. He also took a young nursing lamb and offered it as a burnt offering to the Lord. (Samuel is going to be sure that he is approaching God in the proper way before these newly dedicated people.) He cries out to the Lord; right there before all the people. And guess what? God answered him! AND HOW!
God is about to show Israel His AWESOMENESS! Though they feared asking Him personally themselves for His help; they had the wisdom to ask the man of God to seek audience with the Most High and God heard them. (Isn’t that totally awesome?) God heard and God answered.
Scripture tells us this, “While Samuel was offering the sacrifice, the Philistines came within range to fight Israel. Just then God thundered, a huge thunderclap exploding among the Philistines. They panicked—mass confusion!—and ran helter-skelter from Israel. Israel poured out of Mizpah and gave chase, killing Philistines right and left, to a point just beyond Beth Car. Samuel took a single rock and set it upright between Mizpah and Shen. He named it “Ebenezer” (Rock of Help), saying, “This marks the place where God helped us.” -1 Samuel 7:10-12 (MSG)
Ebenezer, the “Rock of Help”; a memorial made as a place of remembrance for the people. It was there at that rock, Ebenezer, that God heard their cry in the time of their distress and did something totally amazing!
Moses had reminded the people of Israel many years before that if they would seek God they would find Him. ” But even there, if you seek God, your God, you’ll be able to find him if you’re serious, looking for him with your whole heart and soul. When troubles come and all these awful things happen to you, in future days you will come back to God, your God, and listen obediently to what he says. God, your God, is above all a compassionate God. In the end he will not abandon you, he won’t bring you to ruin, he won’t forget the covenant with your ancestors which he swore to them.” -Deuteronomy 4:29-31 (MSG)
God still hears us and answers our prayer. God spoke these words as a reminder to Jeremiah, “When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. “Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” God’s Decree.” -Jeremiah 29:13 (MSG)
“This is the [remarkable degree of] confidence which we [as believers are entitled to] have before Him: that if we ask anything according to His will, [that is, consistent with His plan and purpose] He hears us. And if we know [for a fact, as indeed we do] that He hears and listens to us in whatever we ask, we [also] know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted to us] the requests which we have asked from Him.” -1 John 5:14-15 (AMP)
God is ready and waiting to answer your prayers. Remember, nothing is impossible for Him. Just remember to seek His guidance, (do not ask something against His will) believe that He is able and trust Him to do His perfect will in your life. God ANSWERS prayer!
Lord, I have read of your amazing answers to prayer in your Word. I have heard of others testimonies of how you have answered their prayer. I have also seen evidence of you answering my own prayers. I wonder to myself why in my mind I do not trust you in EVERYTHING? Why do I question if you are able; when I know that you are. Forgive me for any unbelief that I harbor in my heart Lord. I want to trust you in everything. Hear my prayer; be the Amazing God that you are, Lord.