Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: 1Samuel 7-9; Luke 9:18-36
3 Then Samuel said to the whole house of Israel, “If you are turning to the Lord with all your heart, then get rid of all the foreign gods and the Astartes you have. Set your heart on the Lord! Worship him only! Then he will deliver you from the Philistines’ power.” 4 So the Israelites got rid of the Baals and the Astartes and worshiped the Lord only.
5 Next Samuel said, “Assemble all Israel at Mizpah. I will pray to the Lord for you.”
6 So they assembled at Mizpah, and they drew water and poured it out in the Lord’s presence. They fasted that same day and confessed, “We have sinned against the Lord.” Samuel served as judge of the Israelites at Mizpah.
7 When the Philistines heard that the Israelites had assembled at Mizpah, the Philistine rulers went up to attack Israel. When the Israelites learned of this, they were afraid of the Philistines. 8 The Israelites said to Samuel, “Please don’t stop praying to the Lord our God for us, so God will save us from the Philistines’ power!” 9 So Samuel took a suckling lamb and offered it as an entirely burned offering to the Lord. Samuel cried out in prayer to the Lord for Israel, and the Lord answered him.
10 While Samuel was offering the entirely burned offering, the Philistines advanced to attack Israel. But the Lord thundered against the Philistines with a great blast on that very day, throwing the Philistines into such a panic that they were defeated by Israel. 11 The Israelite soldiers came out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines. They struck them down until they reached a place just below Beth-car. 12 Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer, explaining, “The Lord helped us to this very point.”
13 So the Philistines were defeated, and they stopped coming into Israelite territory. The Lord’s hand was against the Philistines throughout Samuel’s life. (1 Samuel 7:3-13, Common English Bible).
We have talked before, a couple of times about Israel’s cycles through living in God’s favor to God’s punishment and back again. Today’s lesson finds Israel at the bottom of that cycle and ready to return back to God.
Samuel asks the Israelites to gather together and he would pray for them. Samuel understood something many leaders do not. Samuel understood the importance of invoking God’s blessings on the actions one is about to take. He also understood that he didn’t just need to pray about his own leadership, he knew he needed to pray for all his people.
To lead is a great responsibility. It is a responsibility that cannot be effectively done alone. No one knows everything and all of us are smarter than one of us. A good leader knows that. A good leader knows that without good advice they will probably fail. A good leader should also know that without Divine guidance, a leader is destined to fail before even getting started.
A good leader also knows to ask those who follow to pray as well. Franklin D. Rooselvet once said, “I ask that our people devote themselves to a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips.”
As hopefully our leaders pray for us, may it be so. May we pray for them, pray for one another and may God lead us toward the Divine.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
With Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved