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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

2020.05.13 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Samuel 7:2–17

Questions from the Scripture text: Where did the ark remain, for how long (1 Samuel 7:2)? How did the house of Israel respond to this? Who spoke to them in 1 Samuel 7:3? With what did he say to return to Yahweh? What did he tell them to put away? What did he tell them to prepare? Whom did he tell them to serve? What did he say that Yahweh would then do? How did Israel respond (1 Samuel 7:4)? What does Samuel say for them to do in 1 Samuel 7:5? What does he say that he will do? What do the people do when they gather in 1 Samuel 7:6? What do they say? How does the end of verse 6 summarize Samuel’s ministry? Who heard about this gathering (1 Samuel 7:7)? What did they do? How did Israel feel about this? What do the Israelites do in their fear (1 Samuel 7:8)? What did Samuel offer in 1 Samuel 7:9 as the basis for this crying out? What was happening when the Philistines drew near to attack (1 Samuel 7:10)? How did their attack go (1 Samuel 7:10-11)? What does Samuel set up in 1 Samuel 7:12? What does he call it and why?  What do the Philistines stop doing in 1 Samuel 7:13? What was Yahweh’s response, and for how long, to Samuel’s crying (1 Samuel 7:13-14)? How long did Samuel judge Israel (1 Samuel 7:15)? What was his routine for judging them (1 Samuel 7:16-17)? Where was home base, and what did he do there?
There is this terrible myth in the churches that the New Testament tells about heart religion, and that the Old Testament tells about behavior religion. Today’s passage is clear: “turn to Yahweh with all your heart” and “prepare your hearts for Yahweh.” The Lord has always been after His people’s hearts.

This is one reason why 1 Samuel 7:4 is so amazing. If we’ve grown accustomed to Israel in the wilderness and in the period of the Judges, we aren’t expecting much in the way of repentance, but it comes quickly and completely. They put away the foreign gods and served Yahweh only (verse 4).

1 Samuel 7:61 Samuel 7:151 Samuel 7:16, and 1 Samuel 7:17 all emphasize that this is the story of Samuel being the last great judge of Israel. But how does he do so? Preaching repentance, 1 Samuel 7:3. Praying, 1 Samuel 7:5.  Interceding for Israel by crying out to God for them, 1 Samuel 7:81 Samuel 7:9b. Offering up burnt offerings, verse 9a. When Ramah is named as added to the circuit of cities where he judges, he builds an altar there (1 Samuel 7:17).

This is novel among the judges, who were “saviors” of Israel ever since the generation after Joshua. But they had all been military types. Samuel’s method of judging depends upon the fact that the most dangerous threat is to offend the Lord, and the strongest defense is to be reconciled with the Lord.

He just “thunders” at the Philistines in 1 Samuel 7:10, and they suffer a defeat that is the first of an entire generation’s worth of defeats. And 1 Samuel 7:14 ends with over-simple statement, “Also there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.”

Yahweh is Israel’s great defense from Philistines and Amorites, but who keeps Israel safe from Yahweh? That’s where the whole burnt offering comes in. It doesn’t appear very impressive or valuable—a suckling lamb. And the truth is that it isn’t. Hebrews makes it clear that they always knew that the blood of bulls and goats could never take away sin (cf. Hebrews 10:1–4).

But that’s just it; it’s not that suckling to which the Lord is responding. It’s His Son to Whom the Lord is responding: the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Otherwise, we would all be under His judgment and wrath. But Jesus has taken all the wrath for those who come to God through Him. To us belongs the repentant grief of 1 Samuel 7:6. To God belongs forgiveness and redemption in Christ!
From what do you need deliverance in your life? What deliverance do you ultimately need?
Suggested Songs: ARP51AB “God, Be Merciful to Me” or TPH354 “Not All the Blood of Beasts”

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