Christian Living

Will You Pray for Us?

The People of Israel Ask Samuel To Intercede for Them

Throughout the Old Testament, the Philistines show up as a recurring nemesis for God’s chosen people, the nation of Israel. The Bible mentions the Philistines 191 times in seventeen of the Old Testament’s books.

In most of these cases the Philistines are doing something to harass the Jewish people.

Today’s passage is one of many such examples.

Pray for Us

The Philistine army advances to attack Israel, and the people fear what will happen. They go to the prophet Samuel and ask him to “pray for us,” to intercede and seek God’s provision for deliverance from their enemy.

“Do not stop crying out to the Lord our God,” they beg, “so that he will rescue us from the Philistines.”

Though the Bible doesn’t specifically say that Samuel prays, we can assume he does. Then Samuel offers a burnt offering to God.

When the enemy army draws near, God produces a mighty thunder and the Philistine army goes into a full-scale panic. In complete disarray, the Israelite army easily routes them, killing many and winning a significant victory.

Then Samuel sets up a stone as a monument to commemorate the event. He calls it Ebenezer, which means “stone of help.” This serves as a reminder to the people of how God worked through nature to bring about a victory for the Israelite army.

Pray for Yourselves

This passage is a tribute to God’s power and of Samuel’s intercession for the people. Yet why did the people need Samuel to pray for them? Why did they need him to be there liaison to God?

They could have sought God directly and personally asked him for deliverance. But they didn’t. It could be that their faith was weak, and they didn’t feel they could approach God.

Another explanation is that their theology was in error, and they didn’t realize they could pray directly to God.

Today, we can go right to God in prayer. Do we do this or ask someone else to pray for us? What does this say about our faith and our theology?

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is 1 Samuel 5-7, and today’s post is on 1 Samuel 7:8.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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