Drawing Close to God Promotes Personal and City-Wide Freedom
Men of Kiriath-jearim brought the ark to Abinadab and consecrated Eleazar his son to keep it. Israel mourned for 20 years because the ark was separated from them (1 Sam. 7:1-2). Spiritual hunger is your first prerequisite for getting right with God.
Samuel said God would deliver them from the Philistines if they returned to the Lord with all their heart, remove foreign gods and serve Him alone. Israel removed Baals and Ashtaroth and served the Lord alone (1 Sam. 7:3-4). Returning to the Lord with your whole heart delivers you from spiritual enemies of the world, flesh and devil.
While Samuel prayed and judged, Israel fasted and acknowledged their sin against the Lord. They feared the Philistines after hearing their leaders were going to battle against them. Israel asked for Samuel's prayers to be saved from the Philistines. Samuel offered a burnt offering and the Lord answered his prayers as Philistines were routed with great thunder and confusion (1 Sam. 7:5-11). We deliver cities from demonic influences when spiritual leaders and everyone pray wholeheartedly.
Samuel took a stone and named it Ebenezer saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” Philistines ceased coming within Israel's borders. From Ekron to Gath, God restored and delivered cities from the Philistines. As a result, peace reigned between Israel and the Amorites (1 Sam. 7:12-14). Tangible reminders and testimonies of Christ's victories over spiritual enemies preserve peace in your city.
Samuel went annually on a circuit to Bethel, Gilgal and Mizpah to judge Israel. He built an altar at Ramah where he lived (1 Sam. 7:15-17). Consistent Bible teaching and mentoring sustain long-term spiritual victories.
Rejecting God Undermines Freedom Personally and City-Wide
When Samuel was old, he appointed his sons as judges over Israel. Because they didn't walk closely with the Lord, the elders asked Samuel to appoint a king like other nations. Because this idea displeased Samuel, he prayed to the Lord. Even though the people rejected God as king by forsaking Him and serving other gods, the Lord told Samuel to listen to the people and share customs of a future reigning king (1 Sam. 8:1-9). When people reject God, they look for others to fight their spiritual battles rather than taking personal responsibility.
Samuel said a king would place their sons in dangerous military situations, and would appoint for himself commanders of 1000s and of 50s, with others to plow and reap his harvest, and make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. Their daughters would become perfumers, cooks and bakers. The king would give their best fields, vineyards and olive groves to his servants with a tenth of their seed held back for his officers and servants. He would use their male and female servants, best young men and donkeys along with tenth of their flocks and even themselves. If they became dissatisfied with a king, the Lord would not hear their cry for help (1 Sam. 8:10-18). You give up personal freedom letting others fight your spiritual battles.
The people didn't listen to Samuel's voice and asked for a king so "we also may be like all the nations, that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” The Lord told him to appoint a king and Samuel said to men of Israel, "Go every man to his city" (1 Sam. 8:19-22). People choose the easy way when they let government or institutions fight their battles instead of following Christ's lordship.
Consider the following questions:
1. Are you taking personal responsibility for your personal spiritual growth?
2. Are you taking personal responsibility for your family's spiritual growth?
3. Are you praying for your city's welfare?
4. Review this blog, especially the underlined principles, and make necessary adjustments.