THE KING’S BUSINESS
has used the elements to deliver a praying people. Secular history as well as Bible history abound in instances of this char acter. In chapter 4:10 it was Israel who “was smitten” ; here it is their enemies that “were smitten.” Quite a difference, simply because Israel had put away their strange gods, prepared their hearts and served the Lord only and because the intercessor had prayed for them in the way.that God com mands men to pray. v. 11. "And the men of Israel went out of Mizpeh and pursued the Philistines, and smote them, until they camé under Beth- car.” Israel carried out the defeat that Je hovah had begun and when God works for us, it is our business to pursue the enemy and utterly overcome them. In their victory they came even to Beth-car; Beth-car means the “house of the lamb” and that is where we will come in our victories over the ene mies of God (John 14:2). v. 12. “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hith erto hath the LORD helped us.” Samuel celebrated the victory with a stone of mé morial ! God’s mercy should always be held in constant remembrance and He Him self has appointed a memorial of His help and our victory (1 Cor. 11:24). The vic tory was at the same place where Israel had gathered together before against the Philis tines and had suffered overwhelming de feat (ch. 4:1). Samuel ascribed the whole victory to God and if we are wise we will ascribe all our victories to Him, and how ever far we may advance will always say, “Up to this point hath God helped us.” v. 13. “So the Philistines were subdued, and they came no more into the coast of Israel : and the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Sam uel.” God can subdue all our enemies under us so they will come no more within our boundaries (cf. Micah 7:19). But this vic tory lasted only so long as Samuel lived but our Samuel ’’ever liveth” (Heb. 7 :25) ; so our victory will be perpetual.
save them. They had good ground for their trust—“Whosoever shall call upon the'name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom. 10:13). v. 9. "And Samuel took a sucking lamb, and offered it for a burnt offering wholly unto the LORD : and Samuel cried unto the LORD for Israel.’’ Samuel based his prayer upon shed blood; all approach to a holy God on the part of sinful man must be on the ground of shed blood (Heb. 10:19; John 14:6). That lamb was a type of Him on the ground of Whose shed blood we come boldly to God. The offering up the lamb "wholly unto the LORD,” that is a whole burnt offering, was a symbol of entire con secration. And it is the one who presents himself wholly to God whose prayers pre vail with God (John 15:7; 1 John 3:22). As Samuel entered into God’s presence for Israel by the blood of the young_ lamb, so our Samuel has entered into God’s pres ence for us “by His own blood” (Heb. 9:11, 12). Having found the true ground of ap proach to God, Samuel cried unto the Lord for Israel and so our Samuel cries unto God for us though “not for the world” (John 17:9). "And the LORD heard him.’’ Wonderful •words, these—Jehovah, Creator and Ruler of the unive/se, the Omniscient, omnipo tent and all-holy One listening to man! But He is the same Jehovah today and ready to hear us when we draw nigh in the way in which Samuel did. The practical proof that God heard Samuel was that He 'did what Samuel asked. When God hears a prayer, He grants the thing asked (cf. 1 John 5:14, 15). v. 10. “The Lord thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomhtted them; and they were smitten before Israel.” Israel would have had great trouble in discomfitting the Phil istines, but Jehovah had none at all. Years before when Samuel was but a little child, Samuel’s mother by the Spirit of God had foreseen this day and made a very literal prophecy regarding it (ch. 2:10). This is not the only day in history in which God
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