1 Samuel 7:8–9: “So the children of Israel said to Samuel, ‘Do not cease to cry out to the LORD our God for us, that He may save us from the hand of the Philistines.’ And Samuel took a suckling lamb and offered it as a whole burnt offering to the LORD. Then Samuel cried out to the LORD for Israel, and the LORD answered him.”

February 12th, 2020 by Pastor Ed in devotional

The Israelites were still under attack from the Philistines. The Ark hadn’t worked the last time they tried to use it as a lucky rabbit’s foot, so all they could do now was cast themselves upon God and trust in Him, appealing to Him on the basis of His grace, not on superstition or magic. Samuel doesn’t seem to have been with the ark when it was foolishly taken into battle, or during the humiliation of the Philistines in the last 2 chapters. But in this chapter, Samuel very much becomes part of the spiritual revival of Israel. The people repented, and the Lord gave them victory over the Philistines. The spiritual things that didn’t happen with the ark happened now without the ark.

God was correcting the Hebrew perception that the ark was needed for God to work. God can work through anything and anyone. Here He worked through the Word of the Lord, which Samuel spoke and the prayers Samuel offered. God took away Israel’s superstitious security blanket, the ark, and forced them to look elsewhere for security. Samuel told them where to look by calling on the nation to return to the Lord with all their hearts. He sounds very much like Joshua: “Put away your gods . . . Serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:14)! Samuel urged the people to get rid of the foreign idols they were so prone to worship, and they responded by repenting. Then God brought revival to the spiritually dry land.

The word revival is from Latin, meaning, to live again and usually refers to receiving life again after it has almost expired. When a person has been dragged, nearly drowned, from the Pacific surf by lifeguards, CPR methods have been applied to the limp body, and the person has recovered, those watching say, “the surfer’s revived.” Only the Spirit of God can bring spiritual life to a person that is spiritually dead in their sins. But it’s not just the spiritually dead, the lost, that need revival. It’s a painful fact that many in the church today are barely alive spiritually. They are in fact living on life support, and are greatly in need of reviving.

“LORD, revive us again and breathe fresh, new life into us, Your dry and weak church.”