1 Samuel 7:5-17: ‘Ebenezer’


  • Penitent prayer
  • Deliverance prayer
  • Answered prayer


Living by faith and living by the flesh, these are the two themes of chapters 7 and 8. In chapter 7 we see Israel with a faithful judge and God blessing the nation with obedience as they follow the godly leadership of the judge; in the next chapter we have a dramatic contrast, Israel wants a king so that they can be ‘like all the nations,’ 8:5. Our attention is brought to God’s goodness to Israel as they live by faith by the repeated mention of prayer. A life of faith is a life of prayer; it is a life of looking to God not man for relief. The life of flesh has its eye on man and seeks external conformity as a short cut to success and relief. The chapter before us has a summarising feel to it, it portrays Samuel in the role of a faithful judge, the people of Israel as repentant and trusting and we see God fulfilling His covenant to bless Israel and protect her against her enemies. And the chapter ends with a number of observations about Samuel’s rule as judge remarking on the success of this arrangement. We see the Philistines, although they would continue to be a thorn in the side, essentially subdued; we see real estate returned; and even peace with long-time enemies, v13-14. We are even given insights into his methods where he regularly preached God’s word on a circuit and faithfully worshipped God, v15-17. Chapter 8 will rise up as a dramatic contrast. So today we have the opportunity of looking into Israel at their best, at a time when they are doing as they ought to do, when they make their spiritual problems their primary ones and their main strategies are repentance and prayer. We will see that it is this position before God that He blesses.