Wednesday, June 29, 2011

1 Samuel 14:15-23

15 Then panic struck the whole army—those in the camp and field, and those in the outposts and raiding parties—and the ground shook. It was a panic sent by God.

16 Saul’s lookouts at Gibeah in Benjamin saw the army melting away in all directions. 17 Then Saul said to the men who were with him, “Muster the forces and see who has left us.” When they did, it was Jonathan and his armor-bearer who were not there.

18 Saul said to Ahijah, “Bring the ark of God.” (At that time it was with the Israelites.) 19 While Saul was talking to the priest, the tumult in the Philistine camp increased more and more. So Saul said to the priest, “Withdraw your hand.”

20 Then Saul and all his men assembled and went to the battle. They found the Philistines in total confusion, striking each other with their swords. 21 Those Hebrews who had previously been with the Philistines and had gone up with them to their camp went over to the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. 22 When all the Israelites who had hidden in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were on the run, they joined the battle in hot pursuit. 23 So on that day the LORD saved Israel, and the battle moved on beyond Beth Aven.

Questions to consider:

  • Where did the panic come from?
  • Who was missing when Saul took account of the people present?
  • Why do you think Saul called for the Ark of God?
  • Who was victorious in battle? Why?

Possibilities for prayer:

I like the way in which this passage ends with the clear statement of who saved the people of Israel: the Lord. Things could have gone much worse for the people of Israel, but with God on their side, they were saved from an ultimately tragic end.

We also have that same power on our side, and we don't have to request the presence of the Ark of God in order to experience it! God is ready and willing to be accessible to us should we simply take the first step and begin a conversation. Hopefully, those conversations are happening on a daily basis. But today, especially if they aren't, take some time to have a conversation with God and truly relish the fact that we are able to communicate with the God of the universe without need for any kind of fanfare or intermediary. God is ready and waiting for us to step up and say hi.