Summary: When Israel decided to turn back to God wholeheartedl, there was great spiritual revival in that country and God delivered them from their enemy.
The Bible says in verse 2 that all the people of Israel decided to turn back to the Lord.
Wow. That is a very good news.
When all the people of the entire nation turned back to God is something newsworthy.
Why? What happened before that? Why is this turning to the Lord very significant for Israel?
Because before that, Israel has turned it's back away from God.
Remember that at that time, they have sinned against God and allowed idols to enter their hearts.
And so, God used the wicked Philistines to teach them a hard lesson of their disobedience.
They were severely defeated in battle, a lot of Israelites were killed and worst of all, the ark of God has been captured.
For some time, the ark stayed under the hands of the Philistines until they were inflicted with boils and their crops destroyed by pestilence.
Finally, after seven long months of suffering, the Philistines decided to return the ark to Israel and it was such a great celebration in that nation.
But chapter six of I Samuel ended with a sad fate to the seventy men of Beth-Shemesh.
Out of curiosity, they decided to look into the ark and were killed instantly by the angel of death because of their lack of awe and reverence to God's presence.
However, this 1 Samuel chapter seven opened with the ark of God remaining in the house of one of the Israelites for twenty long years.
It was then that all Israel decided to turn back to God.
There was a great spiritual revival in that country.
You see, this is what God desires for Israel to do.
God wanted them to go back to His care and protection.
God wanted them to restore their love and fellowship back.
However, they must deal with their idols and consecrate their lives back to God.
That was the same message in the Book of Joel 2:13 (NIV) 13 Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. "
That word "relents" means die down or subsides.
It means that when Israel decided to repent from their sins and returns to the Lord, God's wrath is appeased.
Those calamities that He allowed in order to punish Israel will lessen and eventually die down in degree until it eventually subsides.
Because God is gracious.
He is compassionate.
He is slow to anger and abounding in love.
In the same manner, whenever we turn away from God, expect a strong hand of discipline to fall upon you.
He will have to chastise us when we go to the wrong path of life.
He will have to reproof our bad attitude that displeases Him.
He will have to castigate us for not obeying Him.
And sometimes, His discipline can be very painful and severe.
But all these are for our own good so that we can return to the Lord our God and embrace His love, His forgiveness and His mercy once again.
God wants us to always turn back to God whenever we have swayed to the wrong path.
And the result will always be good and bright.
In our study for today, we will look at the challenge given by Samuel for Israel to return to the Lord.
Then, we are going to see that once Israel decided to return to the Lord, they were confronted by a big problem ahead.
Finally, we will learn how God delivered them from their enemy because the Lord has taken their fight.
Before the end of this message, I will ask you to make a decision for Christ.
This can be the most important decision that you will ever make in your lifetime.
Please listen carefully, don't sleep on me now, turn off or mute your cell phones and don't let anything disturb your concentration.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE SEVENTH CHAPTER OF 1 SAMUEL
1. SAMUEL CHALLENGED ISRAEL TO TURN BACK TO GOD.
I Samuel 7:3-6 (NIV) “3 So Samuel said to all the Israelites, “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.” 4 So the Israelites put away their Baals and Ashtoreths, and served the Lord only. 5 Then Samuel said, “Assemble all Israel at Mizpah, and I will intercede with the Lord for you.” 6 When 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.” Now Samuel was serving as leader of Israel at Mizpah."