Sunday School Material 7-1-12: Samuel Administers Justice
(I Samuel 7:3-17; 7/1/12)
Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that the people of God dealt with their sins and God gave them the victory. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to work on our sins and exercise a working faith in God giving us the victory.
Body: Read I Samuel 7:3-6 I. Problems From Within. In the Sunday School material Samuel called the people to turn from their idol gods. They did so. He then called them to an assembly at Mizpah. They assembled with the pouring out of water and fasting.
Applications – - Dealing with sin. Notice in vss. 3-4 of the Sunday School material that sin must be dealt with. The people’s biggest problem was their sins, not their enemies.
They resolved to turn from their sins. And they were led into the next level of revival or rededication, after they took the first steps. Too often, we come to what we call revival services with no confession of our sins and no mind to do much better.
Consequently, the “revival services” end up being a few nights of worship. Let’s work on having real revivals in both our churches and our individual lives. We should name some sins that we are turning from and then turn from them.
- Obedience and rituals. Notice in vs. 6 that there is a pouring out of water and some fasting. The Standard Lesson Commentary says that the pouring out of water was a symbol of pouring one’s heart out to God.
The fasting was a way of showing God how serious they were about their commitment to serve the Lord. The commentator suggests that the time saved by not fixing or eating food would be best used to pray and meditate on God’s will.
These rituals are good to the extent that they help people obey God’s will. In other words, if we do these rituals and still don’t obey then the rituals had no impact.
If we can obey without the rituals then the rituals are not needed. Let’s make sure we obey God with or without the rituals mentioned in the text.
Read I Samuel 7:7-12 II. Problems From Without. In the Sunday School material the Philistines gathered to attack the Israelites. While Samuel offered a lamb and prayed for the people, God inspired panic among the Philistines.
The Israelites took advantage of the situation and slaughtered them. A stone memorial is set up to remember how God made a way for His people.
Applications – - Satanic attention. Notice in vs. 7 that the devil gives extra attention to those who are focused on God’s will. Just as the Philistines started to approach after the Israelites made a commitment, we can expect the devil to give extra attention to us, after we get serious with the Lord.
Let’s brace ourselves for more satanic attention. The best ways to brace ourselves are to prayerfully study God’s word with a mind to obey and with the support of other believers.
- Dealing with fear. Notice in vss. 7-9 of the Sunday School material that the people were afraid. But they dealt with their fear by way of prayer and focus. These are still great ways to deal with fear.
We should work on our prayer lives and staying focused on doing God’s will. We don’t deal effectively with fear by saying, “we are not afraid.” Let’s deal with our fears by way of prayer and focus. The more we pray and focus, the less we will be afraid.
- Working faith. Notice in vss. 10-12 that God can handle our enemies. Just as God sent a spirit of panic in our text, God can work in mysterious ways for us. And just as the people had to do some work in our text, we should remember that faith without works is dead.
In other words, we have to trust God enough to do what He leads us to do. Let’s work on having the working faith need to deal with our enemies. There is a great need to remember that God is source of the victory. Our efforts without God’s power would lead to defeat.
Read I Samuel 7:13-17 III. Peace Prevails. In this section of the Sunday School material the Israelites regained some land. There is a peace during Samuel’s reign as the Judge. His later years seem to be primarily concerned with judging cases within his area.
Applications – - Keep on serving the Lord. Notice in vss. 13-17 that Samuel’s role changed from being an army leader to being a judge. But he kept on serving the Lord in some capacity.
There are too many who quit serving the Lord all together, when they cannot do what they used to do. God wants us to do what we can to respond to the needs of others, as members of the one body of Christ.
In other words, former singers and ushers may become follow-up workers who encourage the discipleship of others. Former trustees may be members of the internal audit committee.
Just like former basketball players are often coaches or assistants, we should stay busy for the Lord. Let’s keep on serving the Lord with whatever we have.
Conclusion: Let’s work on our sins and exercise a working faith in God’s giving us the victory. God has much for those who obey His will.
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