Journey Through The Scriptures
Lesson 3: Victory Over the Philistines
(Scripture to Read: Samuel 7:1 – 17)
One of the greatest achievements of Samuel's long ministry was the spiritual renewal he led that brought Israel back to the exclusive worship of God. The people had been engaged in idolatry for many years – and the nation reached a low point when the Ark of the Covenant was captured by Israel’s archenemies, the Philistines. These non-Semitic people had held the Ark for seven months, and had captured many Israeli towns. The people mourned their condition, and Samuel used this occasion to deal with the root of Israel's problem.
Samuel told the Israelites that the Lord would deliver them if they discarded their many idols and turned to Him. The people responded, and God answered with blessing as Samuel interceded for Israel. The change was immediate, as God caused the Philistine army to be confused and easily routed by the Israelites. Israel took back many of their cities and drove the Philistines out of their region. Samuel raised an “Ebenezer,” or “stone of help,” in honor of God’s blessing. Samuel also continued to judge Israel as a true "circuit rider" who went from city to city to carry out his ministry.
- Why was losing the Ark of the Covenant to the Philistines so devastating for Israel?
- Why did God intervene in the battle against the Philistines described in this chapter?
- Verse 9 says that Samuel offered a burnt offering to the Lord. What important role was Samuel fulfilling by this sacrifice?
- Why did the Israelites need Samuel to serve as their judge?
Something to Think About
The great spiritual renewal that Samuel led reminds us God is always ready and willing to accept the worship and commitment of His people. True repentance always involves turning away from whatever may be interfering with our devotion to God. Read Malachi 3:7 for God's promise to those who return to Him.