GET TOGETHER- GO FROM OPPRESSION TO VICTORY
1Sam 17:3 ¶ Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, “If you return to the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths from among you, and prepare your hearts for the LORD, and serve Him only; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.”
Sometimes Israel had a hard time handling success. They would often be drawn into the worship of the Canaanites god’s and goddess’s . It was appealing to them. These religions often featured temple prostitution and sexual acts that were performed in fertility rites. They were very appealing to the flesh. Jesus had this to say about our flesh. That it is weak and that we must be strong in the face of temptation in Mt 26:41 “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
But just like how a fisherman uses a shiny bait to get a fish on the hook, into the boat and then into the frying pan. Satan will use lust and other things as bait to get God’s people off the path that God has for us. But praise God that when God’s people repent of our sins and turn to him then He is ready to restore and to grant us victory over our adversary.
Those same demonic spirits that were operating in Canaan, are operating in our culture today. They are trying to entice and lure children at an earlier age and to continue to tempt people throughout their adult lives. Israel had suffered the consequences for her sins. She was ready to repent and to turn back to God. When a person, an institution, or a nation is ready to do that God will forgive and God will restore.
Israel repented and Revival came. When Israel repented the nation was able to experience the covenantal blessings that God had promised her. 1Sa 7:4 So the children of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtoreths, and served the LORD only.
Israel demonstrated it’s repentance by gathering at Mizpah. The Prophet Samuel prayed for them. They prayed and fasted. This stirred the enemy up. 1Sa 7:7 ¶ Now when the Philistines heard that the children of Israel had gathered together at Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the children of Israel heard of it, they were afraid of the Philistines.” The enemy doesn’t like it when God’s people turn from idols and turn to Him.
The people got in fear, but rather than returning to the idols that they had previously been worshipping they moved closer to God: v.8 “So the children of Israel said to Samuel, “Do not cease to cry out to the LORD our God for us, that He may save us from the hand of the Philistines.” Then Samuel offered up a lamb as a sacrifice; 1Sa 7:9 And Samuel took a suckling lamb and offered it as a whole burnt offering to the LORD. Then Samuel cried out to the LORD for Israel, and the LORD answered him. He intercedes on their behalf.
Wow! That made me think of another time that a lamb was offered up as a sacrifice. That Lamb had a name! His name is Jesus! He died on the cross so that men and women can turn from their idols and come into a relationship with the true God. This true God is Holy. He is not like those demonic impostor gods and goddesses that were in Canaan. He is not seeking for people to perform perverted sexual acts to please, or appease Him. He is seeking a people that will turn to Him with our whole hearts.
God responds to Samuel’s payers and to Israel’s repentance and fasting by bringing forth a big victory: 1Sa 7:10 –12Now as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel. But the LORD thundered with a loud thunder upon the Philistines that day, and so confused them that they were overcome before Israel. And the men of Israel went out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, and drove them back as far as below Beth Car. Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.”
For some of us we may have never turned to Jesus Christ and are still clinging to the empty promises that Satan is selling in our culture today. The Lord wants you to know that if you will turn from that lifestyle of sin that He is ready to forgive you and to give you life eternal and life and life more abundant.
Some of us may have at one time committed our lives to the Lord, but the journey got discouraging and you returned to a life of the temporary pleasures of sin. For others we may be in a spiritual battle and the enemy is either tempting us to come back to the temporary pleasures of sin, or threatening us in some way. God is saying draw near to me and I will draw near to you. No matter what is going on we want to be in the will of God and in a Holy Spirit filled Philistine conquering relationship with Jesus Christ.
Let Us Pray
Lord we live in a nation that You have blessed mightily. Forgive us for when our passion has been for other things greater than it has been for You. Forgive us from the idolatry of self. Please turn this nation and all of us from the things that displease You. We know that when are lives line up with the will and desire of God that you will bless us. You will protect us, and You will prosper us.
In Jesus Name
Love you all! Your Friend/Kinfolk