Facing not only a familiar foe but a foe that had defeated them several times before, Israel was afraid. At a time they were getting back on track with their spiritual lives through ridding themselves of all their foreign gods, repenting and turning their whole hearts to God, they face with opposition again. In fact it was the news of their assembling themselves together at Mizpah that caused the Philistines to launch an attack against them.
Ever noticed that just at that time when you were getting things back in order trouble shows up? Trouble that causes you to fear. It is then that your mind reaches back and reminds you how bad you failed the last time. It is then you have the urge to run.
But Israel didn’t back up this time, although they were afraid of the Philistines. Instead they urged Samuel to not stop crying out to God on their behalf. But even as Samuel was praying the enemy was inching closer—not farther away. To many of us it would seem like God was hearing Samuel’s prayers. He was praying but the situation was changing for the worse.
While Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to engage Israel in battle. But that day the Lord thundered with loud thunder against the Philistines and threw them into such a panic that they were routed before the Israelites. The men of Israel rushed out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, slaughtering them along the way to the point below Beth Car. I Samuel 7:10-11
In the midst of things getting worse, God intervened by sending thunder. This thunder brought disorder to the Philistine camp, which gave the Israelites an advantage. And they were wise enough to seize the advantage God’s intervention had given them.
As I was reading through passages of I Samuel 7 today, I was reminded to always expect God’s intervention. Yes expect His intervention even when faced with recurring issues. Expect His intervention in those areas I have been defeated in repeatedly. God’s intervention does not obliterate our responsibility to take action but it makes our actions effective.
Are you actively looking for God’s intervention? And when you see it show up are you taking advantage of it?