In a previous blog, I described how the Israelites suffered a stunning defeat at the hands of the Philistines (1Sam. 5:1-11). The Israelites had taken matters into their own hands by bringing the Ark of the Covenant into the battle. Their misguided attempted to secure God’s blessing did not produce a victory. In fact, not only did they lose the battle, but they also lost the Ark in the process. However, the Philistines did not escape unscathed; the Lord struck some of them with death and tumors. They finally sent the Ark back to Israel where it sat in Kiriath Jearim for 20 years (after a brief stop in Beth Shemesh). During that time, “all the people of Israel turned back to the Lord” (1 Sam. 7:2). Samuel told the people to get rid of their idols and commit themselves to the Lord. The people gathered en masse at Mizpah and confessed their sins.
Now, the Philistines viewed this national gathering as a provocation and mustered their army in response. The Israelites knew they needed God’s help, so they asked Samuel to pray unceasingly for God’s intervention. Samuel prayed and “the Lord thundered with a loud thunder against the Philistines and threw them into such a panic that they were routed before the Israelites” (1 Sam. 7:10).
What kinds of challenges do we face today? With a clean heart, let’s commit these challenges to the Lord, take action as He leads, and trust Him with the results.