Tuesday, September 03, 2013

1 Samuel 7- Glory Returning

In the previous chapters, the ark of God is captured and taken into exile into the land of the Philistines. However, Yahweh is not humiliated there. Although the glory of Yahweh had departed from Israel, it had landed heavily upon Philistia. Yahweh single-handedly glorifies Himself among the Philistines until they acknowledge His might and power over their own gods.
The ark is then sent back to Israel and the Spirit of God begins to stir the Israelites to repentance. The ark resides in Kirjath-jearim, the house of Abinidab for twenty years before the people of Israel begin to lament before the Lord.
Samuel is serving as a prophet during this time. We do not have record of his prophecies but no doubt he was preaching repentance to Israel during this time. Israel was serving the baals and the ashtaroth. These are the foreign gods of the Caananites and even the Philistines, their chosen enemies. It is no accident that Yahweh let Israel be defeated by her enemies when Israel had chosen to serve the idols of her enemies. Israel had never fully forsaken Yahweh. Even in the days of Hophni and Phinehas, they had desired the favor of Yahweh. They called upon Yahweh when the Philistines threatened them. The problem was that they viewed Yahweh as another in the long line of so-called gods of the land. They did not honor Him, glorify Him, as the One and only true God.
Yahweh had revealed Himself as the only true God in ages past, in the days of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua and the Judges. Israel had no warrant for serving other gods as if they were powerful in any way. In this sense, Yahweh is a jealous God and will not allow His followers to serve false gods.
This is the first commandment. Thou Shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make any graven image. Thou shalt not bow down to them or serve them. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.
In this chapter, Israel remembers that Yahweh is the One and only God. As they confess their sins asking His forgiveness, He receives them and His glory begins a return to the land. God raises Samuel up not merely as a prophet, one who speaks the hard words of warning from God but a judge, one who rescues God’s people and speaks the peace and favor of God upon His people.
As the people repent, they regain what they have lost. The Lord returns some of the years the locust has eaten.

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