12. Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer (which means “the stone of help”), for he said, “Up to this point the LORD has helped us!”
13. So the Philistines were subdued and didn’t invade Israel again for some time. And throughout Samuel’s lifetime, the LORD’s powerful hand was raised against the Philistines.
14. The Israelite villages near Ekron and Gath that the Philistines had captured were restored to Israel, along with the rest of the territory that the Philistines had taken. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites in those days.
15. Samuel continued as Israel’s judge for the rest of his life.
16. Each year he traveled around, setting up his court first at Bethel, then at Gilgal, and then at Mizpah. He judged the people of Israel at each of these places.
17. Then he would return to his home at Ramah, and he would hear cases there, too. And Samuel built an altar to the LORD at Ramah.
1 Samuel 7: 12-17 NLT
Today’s Passage, at long last, concludes The Seventh Chapter of The Story of Samuel, and with its close, we wrap up a long and turbulent Episode in the Israelite’s history. We’ve seen them struggle through the Poor Leadership that ushered in a New Leader, and we’ve witnessed their laborious slog out of the pit the priests dug, transitioning into God’s Redemptive Restoration.
All it took for the people to regain their former coveted Protection Status was to return to God’s Law. Following the priest’s lead, a position that should have brought the people closer to God, the Israelites had allowed themselves to stray off the path.
Their stance in the region was predicated upon God’s Hand of Protection over them. It was essential because the Israelites, much like today, were surrounded by enemies who wished to see them utterly destroyed. God offered His Protection to ensure His people survived, and without Him, we can see how mightily they suffered.
However, the converse is also true. Every time the Israelites strayed and returned, we can see God’s Hand of Mercy and Protection returning, and the people restored to their former glory under His Wing. This cycle of transgression and Redemption repeated throughout the annals of history. It was the Recurring Theme throughout the Scriptures, perfectly exemplifying God’s Love for us.
Because let’s be honest, only someone who Loved us as much as God does would ever suffer the kinds of mistakes, we so frequently make without turning their backs on us in frustration and disgust. Who else would let us screw up as much as He does and still accept us with open arms when we finally find in our stony hearts to return?
No one! Period! You wouldn’t accept that kind of disrespect and remain understanding, and neither would I. So, then how does God accept our repentance after so many missteps? It’s because He became us.
Why do you think Jesus’s Sacrifice was so special? It wasn’t only because He became The Lamb to Die for all of our sins. It was because He experienced what we all do as we stumble through this life. God suffered our weaknesses and felt our inadequacies through His own skin and using His own willpower.
He knows what it takes to resist sin because He did it. But it is also because of that singular experience no one else would have accepted that He knows we don’t have what it takes to resist on our own.
So, He did something spectacular to lend us the assistance needed to make it. He left a portion of His Unlimited Power at our disposal to live in us so we could utilize His Energies to bolster our flagging Faith. Will Power stems from Belief, and Belief sprouts from experience.
Only defeating our flesh and knowing we can do it again will give us the Power to deny our desires to the degree required to please God. But He knows that and has given us exactly what we need to emerge victorious. It is His Spirit that gets us through!
As we continue through The Story of Samuel, we will see how turbulent a path they will send God on as He tries to Guide His willful people through their failures into His Perfection. It is not a smooth road. But God never said it would be. He said He’d walk with us as we stumble.
Today’s Lesson is that none of us ever get an easy route to Perfection. It will always require The Road Less Traveled or even blazing your own trail where none existed. Either way, making it through will require Faith, Determination, and Submission. And it’s that last part I think we all struggle with the most!
Have a Marvelous Monday And Know That We All Have The Opportunity At Perfection. All It Takes Is Submission!