Thursday, April 9, 2009

widespread, fearful movement toward God

This treasure is from Samuel chapter seven.

There are so many stories in a reading of 4 chapters, that it is hard to get more than a taste of the good things God has to show us.

Listen to this:

2 From the time that the Chest came to rest in Kiriath Jearim, a long time passed—twenty years it was—and throughout Israel there was a widespread, fearful movement toward God.
3 Then Samuel addressed the house of Israel: "If you are truly serious about coming back to God, clean house. Get rid of the foreign gods and fertility goddesses, ground yourselves firmly in God, worship him and him alone, and he'll save you from Philistine oppression."
4 They did it. They got rid of the gods and goddesses, the images of Baal and Ashtoreth, and gave their exclusive attention and service to God.
5 Next Samuel said, "Get everybody together at Mizpah and I'll pray for you."
6 So everyone assembled at Mizpah. They drew water from the wells and poured it out before God in a ritual of cleansing. They fasted all day and prayed, "We have sinned against God."

These few short verses represent the last 20 years of Samuel's life. Imagine! Twenty years. He followed God all his life, without deviating. He lead the people to follow God also.

The Philistines prepared another battle, and God defeated them.

13 -14 "The Philistines learned their lesson and stayed home—no more border crossings. God was hard on the Philistines all through Samuel's lifetime. All the cities from Ekron to Gath that the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored. Israel also freed the surrounding countryside from Philistine control. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites. "

The slavery they had suffered was over. They were free in their land to prosper and enjoy the benefits of their own work. Samuel faithfully ministered the words of God to all the people.

15 -17 "Samuel gave solid leadership to Israel his entire life. Every year he went on a circuit from Bethel to Gilgal to Mizpah. He gave leadership to Israel in each of these places. But always he would return to Ramah, where he lived, and preside from there. That is where he built an altar to God. "

The story moves on - because nothing stays still forever. But in this interlude, Samuel is faithful. He teaches the people to be faithful.

And there is "widespread, fearful movement toward God."

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