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1 Samuel 4-7


A Devotional Journey
     led by Dr. Gene Pearson                                                                                                              
Thru the Bible in a Year
       This section begins with a battle between the Israelites and their enemies the Philistines which Israel losses along with the Ark of the Covenant, which contained the 10 Commandments, the Urim & Thumim and some of the manna which God had miraculously provided in the Sinai wanderings of Israel.
       This event makes clear that as sacred as the Ark is, God is not confined or controlled by any such object. Therefore, His blessing may give way to His judgment whether or not the Ark is present. Eli drops dead at the news that the Ark is captured and both his sons are dead, and Samuel becomes the priestly leader of Israel.
       What happens next is a demonstration that while God may not protect the safety of people who deserve His judgment, never the less, He does preserve His own honor. The possession of the Ark by the Philistines is a curse on them all – first resulting in the destruction of the idols which stand in its presence, and second by the physical punishment He inflicts on them.
       The Philistines get the message and seven months later send the Ark back to Israel in a cart pulled by two calves and filled with valuable offerings to secure their pardon from God.  In the same period, Samuel leads the Israelites successfully in battle against the Philistines (God provides all the decisive action in 7:10-11), and the people recognize Samuel as their judge (7:15), not realizing he will be their last.
       As in the case of all the previous judges, there was peace in Samuel’s lifetime because the enemies of his people (the Philistines) could not defeat them. As a judge, he even traveled a circuit (7:16)
       How important is it that we take God seriously?  We know that He may withhold His anger for lengthy periods at points; yet we are still ultimately and completely accountable to Him. We receive His directions; do we follow them?  Are you living in a way that honors Him? 
       Do you believe that every Christian has the same insight into God’s will?  Are there any people who should serve as interpreters and advisors for us?  Do we seek their help or avoid it?
       Today, ask God what you need to change as you follow Him?  Ask Him to show you any way(s) in which you are failing to carry out His will in your life. Then take some step to strengthen the relationship with Him and your own commitment to faithfully follow.
© A. Eugene Pearson 2011