God Rescues

1 Samuel 7:7-11

7When the Philistines heard that Israel had assembled at Mizpah, the rulers of the Philistines came up to attack them. When the Israelites heard of it, they were afraid because of the Philistines. 8They said to Samuel, “Do not stop crying out to the Lord our God for us, that he may rescue us from the hand of the Philistines.” 9Then Samuel took a suckling lamb and sacrificed it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. He cried out to the Lord on Israel’s behalf, and the Lord answered him.

10While 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.11The men of Israel rushed out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, slaughtering them along the way to a point below Beth Kar.

No Turning Back

When we decide to obey the Lord, it attracts difficult life challenges. Most often, financial, career, relationship or health troubles may prevent anyone from serving the Lord. Faith that God rescues becomes apparent when life is tough.

One believer has decided to follow the Lord through water baptism. He was very excited when baptism day came. Then, he felt numbness in his body, all of a sudden. He told his wife, “No turning back!” After the baptism ceremony, the numbness disappeared, and he even drove their car home with no difficulty.

Christ didn’t promise that everything will be fine if we obey Him. He allows problems as testing instruments, if we trust that His grace will sustain our needs.

Apostle Paul testified of his difficulty in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, 7In order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

God has good purposes why He allows difficulties each time we obey Him. Apostle Paul confessed that he had thorn in his flesh that may have bothered him physically or even emotionally. But by God’s grace, Paul delighted with troubles. He understood that problems are useful to keep him away from being arrogant.

When Eli the Priest was Israel’s leader, his sons were arrogant. The Lord let them die in battle against the Philistines. The Philistines captured the Ark of God but returned it to the Israelites after 7 months of devastation caused by the Lord. The Israelites rejoiced, and Samuel told them to serve the Lord only.

At the command of Samuel, the Israelites had assembled at Mizpah.

They fasted and confessed their sins while Samuel prayed for them.

The Philistines heard about it and their rulers decided to attack the Israelites.

1. Attack

7When the Philistines heard that Israel had assembled at Mizpah, the rulers of the Philistines came up to attack them. When the Israelites heard of it, they were afraid because of the Philistines. 8They said to Samuel, “Do not stop crying out to the Lord our God for us, that he may rescue us from the hand of the Philistines.” 9Then Samuel took a suckling lamb and sacrificed it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. He cried out to the Lord on Israel’s behalf, and the Lord answered him.

How did the Philistines come to know that the Israelites assembled?

Did the Philistines send spies to observe the activities of the Israelites?

Probably, when Samuel sent messengers to tell the Israelites to assemble at Mizpah, neighbors may have relayed to one another. (Samuel held his office as leader of Israel at Mizpah.) Or perhaps, messengers shouted openly in the marketplaces where strangers or foreigners were present.

Some Philistines merchants who traded among the Israelites may have heard about the Israelite gathering and reported to the Philistine rulers to earn good points or to promote themselves as loyalist to the Philistine rulers.

Doeg the Edomite

When King David was escaping from King Saul, he asked Ahimelek the priest for help. The chief shepherd of Saul, Doeg the Edomite, heard about that Ahimelek helped David and reported to King Saul. It says in 1 Samuel 22:9-10, 9Doeg the Edomite, who was standing with Saul’s officials, said, “I saw the son of Jesse come to Ahimelek son of Ahitub at Nob. 10Ahimelek inquired of the Lord for him; he also gave him provisions and the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”

David and tried to hide from Saul but not everyone wanted to help him. Doeg was a foreigner from Edom. He worked for King Saul. He may have wanted to show loyalty by reporting to Saul what he heard. David was able to evade King Saul. Enemies of David can’t defeat him because he trusted God to rescue him.

King David testified in Psalm 18:17-19, 17He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. 18They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. 19He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.

We may not have to be in actual battlefield to prove that God rescues us. King David successfully overcame his troubles when he delighted himself in the law of God. What’ benefit us if delight God’s law? It says in Psalm 119:92,

92If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.

When we allow Christ to prevail in our hearts, we delight in obeying Him. We’ve got joy and peace, even in times of trouble, and it follows our trust that in all circumstances, God uses them for our good, and we thank Him for that.

The Philistines attacked the Israelites but they were annihilated instead.

2. Annihilate

10While 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.11The men of Israel rushed out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, slaughtering them along the way to a point below Beth Kar.

The Israelites were scared when they heard that the Philistines advanced to attack them. They told Samuel to keep on praying. Samuel cried out to the Lord on behalf of the Israelites, and the Lord answered him.

Once again, the Lord showed His power when He caused the Philistines to panic and annihilated them and the Israelites saw what happened. The Israelites were victorious against the Philistines because they trusted the Lord and Samuel their leader. Samuel served as Israel’s leader from his youth until his old age.

The Israelites have learned that as long as they serve the Lord, they won’t worry of enemies attack. God rescued them. When Samuel served as leader of Israel, the Philistines stopped invading Israel. Surrounding nations may have also been scared when they heard how the God of Israel defeated the Philistines.

It says in Psalm 1:1-6, 1Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,
2but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. 3That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.

4Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. 5Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. 6For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

Samuel started serving the Lord at a very young age. His parents delivered him in the care of Eli the Priest, after he was weaned. Samuel had observed the wickedness of the sons of Eli, but he chose to follow the advice of Eli the Priest. Samuel exemplified that there is no retirement from serving the Lord. Why?

Faith in God is best describe by King David in Psalm 84:10, 10Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

This isn’t to conclude that God’s servants do not need to have vacation or travel somewhere else. There are necessities to be addressed but when joy of serving the Lord originates from the fruit of the Holy Spirit, it is eternally priceless.

You may have sensed such deep joy of obeying whatever God would tell you to do. Service that originated from God is the practical application of spiritual gift. Whenever we serve God using our spiritual gift, we will sense priceless joy.

If you have discovered that God’s instructions are the best life experiences ever, you would desire to keep serving the Lord for all eternity. You’ll never want to stop serving God. Serving God is the best life experience we can have.

What is it, what problem or trouble that often hinders you to serve God?

God rescued the Israelites when they sought His help.

Pray earnestly for God’s help, and He will rescue you from your troubles.

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