DAILY BIBLE READING:
1 Samuel 5:1–7:17
BIBLE VERSE(S) FOR TODAY:
1 Samuel 7:9 (CSB) “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.”
REFLECTIONS ON TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):
The Verse for Today is simple and straightforward. The prophet Samuel sacrificed an animal, he prayed for the Iraelites and God heard his prayer.
Yet, we learn quite a bit more by reading the context. The Ark of the Covenant had been previously held by the Philistines. It eventually came back into the possession of the Israelites.
But, the Israelites’ deep desire was for something more. They wanted the Lord. God seemed like a million miles away to them and they wanted to enjoy Him and relish in His blessings again.
So, they went to the prophet Samuel. He told them to get rid of their foreign gods and commit to solely worshiping the one true God in their hearts. He also told them to gather at Mizpah where he would pray for them.
They gathered and a time of worship and cleansing began. Yet, the Philistines heard about the gathering and misunderstood the Israelites’ intentions. They jumped to a conclusion and thought that the Israelites were preparing for war. So, the Philistines suited up for a battle, too. An attack on the Israelites seemed imminent.
So, there was an urgency to prayer. The Israelites were unprepared and terrified. They begged Samuel Samuel to pray for them.
1 Samuel 7:8 “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 Philistines.'”
So, what did Samuel do? He offered a sacrifice, said a prayer, and God answered his prayer.
Now, there’s a lot that could be said about that three step process so I’ll be brief:
Sacrificing animals was the Old Testament way of showing the severity of sin that required a death, and the substitution of an innocent creation of God on behalf of the guilty. A sacrifice is absolutely necessary if we are to approach God with our petitions and have any chance of being heard. Since Jesus, the Lamb of God, was sacrificed on behalf of all of those who will believe in Him, the first step of Samuel’s three-step-process has already been accomplished.
To get things from God, we’ve got to begin by talking to Him about them in prayer. There are a handful of prayer principles that we must comply with if we are to get anything. But, when we consider what can be gained by praying the way God has told us to pray, why not learn those principles … and then pray!
Prayer enables us to enjoy fellowship with God. As a by-product, we receive from God the things for which we ask. In fact, Jesus said that answers to prayer is a way that we can be filled with joy (John 16:24).
So, depending upon the blood of Jesus to grant you entrance into God’s presence, pray. And while praying, make sure you are applying each of the biblical prayer principles so that you can enjoy the fruit of your prayer – fellowship with God and the answer(s) for which you are asking.
DAILY BIBLE READING: