Thursday, January 26, 2012

1 Samuel 7-8 Januray 25, 2012

Good Evening Ladies, let's pray. Don’t you enjoy talking to the LORD! My friend Sandy says it is a privilege and an honor to bring your petitions before the throne of God. And it is so easy just talk to Him, after all He is your “Abba Father.”

  Mark 1:35  Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

We are told Jesus prayed no less than nineteen times in the Gospels. John 17 is Jesus’ longest prayer.  But why did Jesus pray? He could raise the dead, heal the lame and the blind! Why would He need to pray? Although fully God, He was also fully human. His prayers not only taught His disciples and us the importance of prayer, but it also shows His intimate conversations with His Father and His complete dependence on God. How can we be too busy to pray? We shouldn’t make a decision or utter a word from our mouth without His guidance.

I wish I could say to you that I do that all the time. You’ve heard me apologize enough to know that is not true. That is the desire of my heart to be in constant communication with my LORD.

Andrew Murray “Prayer is not monologue, but dialogue; God’s voice is its most essential part. Listening to God’s voice is the secret of the assurance that He will listen to mine.”
Oswald Chambers “It is only when we know that we are powerless that we are prepared to listen to Jesus Christ and to do what He says.”
Tonight Samuel with intercede for the children of Israel as they seek help from God.
 God is Faithful Even When His Children are Not
Israel Seeks the LORD-ch. 7
Israel Rejects the LORD-ch. 8
The Philistines didn’t possess the ark any longer, but the LORD was not with Israel. The Philistines had destroyed Shiloh.
Ch.1  v. 2  all the people of Israel mourned and sought after the LORD. 3 And Samuel said to the whole house of Israel, "If you are returning to the LORD with all your hearts, then  rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and  commit yourselves to the LORD and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.”  4 So the Israelites put away their Baals and Ashtoreths, and served the LORD only. 5 Then Samuel said, “Assemble all Israel at Mizpah and I will intercede with the LORD for you.” The meaning of Mizpah seems to be "watchtower." 

First mention of Mizpah  Genesis 31:49 when Jacob and Laban part company.
Normally we think this is a blessing “May the LORD keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other.”  (Actually it was a warning that if Jacob mistreated Laban’s daughters of took other wives, God would be His witness.) Mizpah is a key location for Israel. In Judges, Jephthah repeated his vow to the Lord here, Israel made an oath at Mizpah. Samuel will again assemble the people here again in Ch. 10
6 When they had assembled at Mizpah, they drew water and poured it out before the LORD. On that day they fasted and there they confessed, “We have sinned against the LORD”
Pouring out water
·        Clarks’s "And they poured out their hearts in deep penitence and sorrow, as Waters, before the Lord."
·        The same desire is voice by Hannah in 1 Samuel 1:15; I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit; I have Poured Out my soul before the Lord. 
·        David also in Psalm 22:14, I am Poured Out like Water
·        Wesley's Notes 7:6 to cleanse themselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit.
In fear of the Philistines the people beg Samuel to pray; to be their intercessor.
8“Do not stop crying out to the LORD our God for us, that he may rescue us from the hand of the Philistines.” 9 …”Samuel” cried out to the LORD on Israel’s behalf, and the LORD answered him. 10 While Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to engage Israel in battle. But that day the LORD thundered with loud thunder against the Philistines and threw them into such a panic that they were routed before the Israelites.
Once again God win the battle for His people.

 God is Faithful Even When His Children are Not

Listen to the prophetic words of Hannah’s Prayer to the LORD 1 Samuel 2:9-11

9 He will guard the feet of his saints, but the wicked will be silenced in darkness.
 “It is not by strength that one prevails;10 those who oppose the LORD will be shattered. He will thunder against them from heaven; the LORD will judge the ends of the earth.
“He will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed.”

 8- 12 Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far has the LORD helped us.”
        KJV Hitherto hath the LORD helped us.

Does this remind you of the stones that Joshua piled up in various places to signify victories and memorials to God; especially the 12 stones taken from the middle of the Jordan?

Pondering the word Ebenezer, I found a Christian Blog on the web called “AnotherThink.”
 “Samuel placed a large stone at the place where this restoration began. He publicly dedicated it as a monument to God's help, God's faithfulness, and God’s eternal covenant. And as the people got on with their lives, the stone stood there, visible to all who passed that way, a reminder of judgment and repentance, mercy and restoration.”

The song from the hymnal tonight was composed by the Methodist pastor and hymnist Robert Robinson. Robinson penned the words at age 22 in the year 1757. The Second Verse is one of my favorites..  

Here I raise mine Ebenezer; hither by thy help I’m come;
and I hope, by thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger, Interposed his precious blood. 
(public domain)

Dr. Gregory Neal “Spiritually and theologically speaking, an Ebenezer can be nearly anything that reminds us of God’s presence and help: the Bible, the Sacramental Elements, a cross, a picture, a fellow believer, a hymn – those things which serve as reminders of God’s love, God’s Real Presence, and God’s assistance are "Ebenezers."
We’ve all wandered from the fold of God at one time or another. Our Ebenezer can be as simple as a prayer journal where we have unburdened our heart before the LORD.  We can also record answers to prayers. What a legacy we can leave our children when we teach them to pray and to leave them our journals indicating we prayed for them through their teen years and the early years of their marriage.  We all need a constant reminder so we don’t forget God’s infinite mercy and His boundless grace He has poured out on us.  What is your Ebenezer?  Find somewhere in your home or your car to display a visual prompt. Something to Daily remind us we need worship and praise him; to pour out our heart to Him, to empty ourselves of our desires and our needs. Ladies, after He rescued us with His Precious Blood we never have to fear; we will Safely Arrive at home, in heaven with our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ.

 God is Faithful Even If  We are Not

Israel Rejects the LORD Samuel 8
In the last verses of Chapter 7 15 Samuel continued as judge over Israel all the days of his life. 16 From year to year he went on a circuit from Bethel to Gilgal to Mizpah, judging Israel in all those places. 17 But he always went back to Ramah, where his home was, and there he also judged Israel. And he built an altar there to the LORD.
Probably 20-25 years pass between Chapter 7 and Chapter 8. Now Samuel is an old man. He appoints his sons to be judges and they turn out to be as wicked as Eli’s sons.  I want to make an excuse for Samuel he seems to be as bad a parent as Eli. BUT ladies we are not responsible for the actions of our children. If we have raised them to know the Bible and LORD Jesus as their Savior, it is their responsibility to accept or reject His love.
4 So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. 5 They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.”
Samuel was displeased with their request,

But God is Faithful Even When Israel Was Not 

God is not surprised by Israel asking for a King, in fact throughout the Bible we have evidence that God has planned for a King to reign.

God’s promises to Abraham Genesis 17:6  I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you.

Sarah 16 I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”

Jacob Genesis 35:11 And God said to him, “I am God Almighty; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will come from your body.

7 And the LORD told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. 8 As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. 9 Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do.” 

God is Faithful Even When We are Not

It wasn’t Israel greatest sin to ask for a King, their sin was to demand one now. Just as God was preparing Samuel in Hannah’s womb to replace Eli as priest; He had already chosen His King to be David from the tribe of Judah.

 God would use Saul to chastise his people.

Hosea 13:11 So in my anger I gave you a king, and in my wrath I took him away.

1 Samuel 2:9 … warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do.”
Weirsbe “The key word in Samuels speech is the word TAKE, not give. vv.11-17
·        He will take your sons and make them serve in the army
·        others to plow his ground and reap his harvest,
·        others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots.
·        He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers.
·        He will take the best of your fields crops, grain, and wine to feed his officials and servants
·        Your servants, the best of your cattle, donkey, and flocks he will take for his own use.
·        You, yourselves will become his slaves.
18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day.”
 19 ...“No!” they said. “We want a king over us. 20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”
22 The LORD answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.”

JV McGee “God will grant Israel's desire for King but it will not be to their advantage.  God's guidance of the nation will be indirectly through the prophet. As we shall see God will not speak directly to the king, but still through the prophet who will convey God’s word to the king. The king will accept it or reject as he chooses”

The demands Samuel made Ch.7 v.3 reminds me of this scripture from
2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV) 14If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
In our nation today, it is hard for many to follow an invisible God; to take in FAITH all that the LORD has done for us and promised us. Like Israel we want be like all the other nations, a visible leader. In our churches do we strive to look like the world and sound like the world.
In America needs to humble ourselves and pray and seek God’s face. If Jesus prayed to His Father, isn’t it emphatic that we fervently and specifically pray for our nation.

God is Faithful Even When We are Not

Coming up in February are the birthdays of President Washington and President Lincoln. Lincoln is one of my favorite presidents to quote.
"...I know that the Lord is always on the side of the right. But it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation should be on the Lord's side." 

"I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day."

Just as Samuel was intercessor for the children of Israel, we too have an intercessor before the throne of God. Jesus Christ stands at the right hand of His Father’s throne and intercedes for us every day and night. O What A Savior!

Will you choose tonight to be faithful in praying to God, your Father?

 Let us pray.