The Power of the Intercessor

1 Samuel 7:1-12   So the men of Kiriath-jearim came for the ark of the LORD and took it to Abinadab’s house on the hill.a They consecrated his son Eleazar to take care of it.  2 Time went by until 20 years had passed since the ark had been taken to Kiriath-jearim. Then the whole house of Israel began to seek the LORD.  3 Samuel told them, “If you are returning to the LORD with all your heart,a get rid of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths that are among you,b dedicate yourselves to1 the LORD, and worship only Him. Then He will rescue you from the hand of the Philistines.”  4 So the Israelites removed the Baals and the Ashtorethsa and only worshiped the LORD.  5 Samuel said, “Gather all Israel at Mizpah, and I will pray to the LORD on your behalf.”a6 When they gathered at Mizpah, they drew water and poured it out in the LORD’s presence. They fasted that day, and there they confessed, “We have sinned against the LORD.” And Samuel began to lead the Israelites at Mizpah as their judge.  7 When the Philistines heard that the Israelites had gathered at Mizpah, their rulers marched up toward Israel. When the Israelites heard about it, they were afraid because of the Philistines.  8 The Israelites said to Samuel, “Don’t stop crying out to the LORD our God for us, so that He will save us from the hand of the Philistines.”  9 Then Samuel took a young lamb and offered it as a whole burnt offering to the LORD. He cried out to the LORD on behalf of Israel, and the LORD answered him.  10 Samuel was offering the burnt offering as the Philistines drew near to fight against Israel. The LORD thundered loudlya against the Philistines that day and threw them into such confusion that they fled before Israel.b11 Then the men of Israel charged out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines striking them down all the way to a place below Beth-car.  12 Afterwards, Samuel took a stone and set it uprighta between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer,1 explaining, “The LORD has helped us to this point.”

It’s no fun to be the one in the position of weakness. We can’t always say for certain why God would allow us to be vulnerable and weak before others. Weakness can help us to depend on God for strength. Weakness can teach us our own limitations in life. There are godly purposes in daily weakness. Don’t waste your time of feebleness by lashing out at others or crawling away in fear. Use these days to come before God for strength and power.

 

Find Power in Repentance

After decades of playing it fast and loose with the false religions of the Canaanites, the Israelites finally returned to the Lord in a spirit of repentance in I Samuel 7. They discovered the bankruptcy of this world’s gods and cast themselves before the mercy of our Savior.

In order to find true strength in life, God may need to remove the props that have been holding up a life apart from Him. The Israelites tried god after god and failed in successive generations. Finally, they come running back to God in repentance to discover the strength of their LORD was more than sufficient.

Find Power in the Prayers of Others

When the Israelites gathered together to pray before God and repent of their sins, God did not instantly make their lives easy. He didn’t put fear into the hearts of their adversaries and cause all the crops to grow 10-fold. Instead God immediately sent them into another moment of weakness and fear. The gathering together of the Israelites became the catalyst for another attack by the neighboring Philistines.

God may bring ever increasing hardship into your life, so you learn in ever greater ways the importance of trusting in Him. During these times of frailty, don’t try to walk alone. Find a warrior in prayer to take your situation before God in prayer and serve as your advocate.

The Israelites made the wise decision to call on Samuel to plead with the LORD on their behalf. They were so passionate that they told Samuel not to stop crying out to the Lord. The Hebrew text informs us that they told Samuel not to be silent. They didn’t want a moment to pass where prayers were not coming from Samuel’s lips.

In your difficult days, don’t ask others to pray on your behalf and move on to the next topic of conversation. Plead with your brothers and sisters to pray over you again and again. To pray as they brush their teeth, sit down for a meal, or get in their car to go to work. Give them cues to come before God on your account again and again, so you can find strength in the hands of the Almighty.