Summary: There were three things to prepare for Holy War…
1. Samuel 1-2a – Elkanah has two wives, one with children the other w/o. Hannah, the wife that is barren, makes a vow to God that if He gives her a son, she will give him back to God for service. God grants her prayer and she dedicates him to God by putting him in the care of Eli the high priest.
2. Samuel 2b – Eli is high priest over Israel with his two sons Hophni and Phinehas. His two son abuse the priesthood and a “man of God” prophecies to Eli over them about their sin and coming destruction.
3. Samuel 3 – God calls Samuel and tells him of the coming judgment on Eli and the nation of Israel. Samuel becomes a prophet to Israel.
4. Samuel 4 – Israel is getting kicked around on the battlefield by the Philistines. They decide to take the ark of the Lord – their secrete weapon – onto the battlefield. Israel got all hyped up “the ground shook” from their cheering…but the still were defeated. Hophni and Phinehas were killed just like the prophecy from the man of God and Samuel and the ark of God was captured. When Eli found out, he fell back on his chair and broke his neck and died.
5. The Philistines took the ark – their trophy of the battle won – and brought to Asdod, the Gath, and then Ekron, and all three places suffered an outbreak of rats and tumors killing young and old.
6. After SEVEN months, the Philistines hashed out a plan to send the ark back to Israel and it came to Beth Shemesh, a town of priests and they placed it on large rock. Then seventy men disrespected the ark and God struck them dead. So they called on a neighboring town, Kiriath Jearim to come get it and take care of it.
2It was a long time, twenty years in all, that the ark remained at Kiriath Jearim, and all the people of Israel mourned and sought after the LORD. 3And 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." 4So the Israelites put away their Baals and Ashtoreths, and served the LORD only.
5Then Samuel said, "Assemble all Israel at Mizpah and I will intercede with the LORD for you." 6When 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." And Samuel was leader of Israel at Mizpah.
What can we learn from Samuel’s words to Israel?
It’s time for a Holy War!
There were three things to prepare for Holy War…
1. Clean House
Illustration: “Clean House” show on Style Network
Each episode begins with a short montage introducing the subjects of the makeover. Homeowners typically are "victims" of a combination of poor housekeeping ability and lifestyle situations that exacerbate the problem. Most of the homes on the show are so messy that a person could not enter and walk around freely.
The host guides family members through the process of letting go of things with the assistance of a "Yard Sale Diva.” Often, the family becomes very emotional and defensive about the junk it has harbored for decades, and the host will negotiate and make deals with family members in order to convince them to sell belongings. The excess belongings are sold at a yard sale (often while family members cry, moan, or try to take items back into the house) to raise money for the makeover.
It’s not easy getting rid of “junk” is it?
Here in Samuel chapter seven, Samuel is telling Israel to get rid of their junk.
For 20 years they had the ark, but they were still collecting junk.
For 20 years they were content at the altars without the ark – without the presence of Jehovah God.
Now, probably due to the preaching of Samuel, the people begin to mourn and seek after the Lord.
“If you are returning to the Lord with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods…and commit yourselves to the Lord”
- The first question would be do YOU need to return to the Lord with ALL your heart?
- “All your hearts” means everything!
- Sometimes we as Christians do the same thing as the Israelites were doing here. We have the ark – our covenant with God – tucked away out of sight, out of mind. We go through the motions of our Christian-ease without the power of HIS presence.