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Samuel

Before Samuel's birth, the atmosphere was: "In those days there was no king in Israel every man did that which was right in his own eyes." (Judges 21:25)

Birth of Samuel:

Hannah, the wife of Elkanah, was barren and was provoked by his other wife who had children. Every year they went up to the house of the Lord and it says in 1 Samuel 1:7: "…therefore she wept and did not eat." She fasted and prayed for a man child. (1:11) While  praying, God spoke through Eli  these words: "Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him."(1:17)  Hannah gave birth to a son and named him Samuel and after he was weaned, she gave him to Eli as she had vowed and "Samuel ministered before the Lord." (3:1)

Samuel as Judge:

1 Samuel 7:2 "... it came to pass, while the ark abode in Kirjath-jearim, that the time was long; for it was twenty years and all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord."  Finally, after many years, the people became so "oppressed" that they lamented before the Lord.  They began to cry out to the Lord for help.

Samuel spake: " If ye do return unto the Lord…put away the strange gods…prepare your hearts…and serve him only:  and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines." (7:3) The children of Israel obeyed, put away the strange gods and served the Lord only. (7:4)

Then Samuel called for an assembly to Mizpeh. (7:5) "And they gathered together to Mizpeh, and drew water, and poured it out before the Lord, and fasted on that day, and said there,We have sinned against the Lord." (7:6) The people confessed their sins before the Lord. 

The Philistines continued to gather against Israel and in 1 Samuel 7:8, the children of Israel said: "Cease not to cry unto the Lord our God for us, that he will save us out of the hand of the Philistines." "...The Lord  thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them; and they were smitten before Israel . "(1 Samuel 7:10)  "So the Philistines were subdued, and they came no more into the coast of Israel : and the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel." (1 Samuel 7:13)

Summary:

When the nation obeyed and put away their idols and strange gods then God heard their cries and answered their prayers.

Yes, many people pray, but far too many are not obeying God's commandments and doing everything that pleases the Lord  God absolutely has no obligation to answer prayers from disobedient people.  When the nation of Israel lamented, put away their gods and prepared their hearts then God delivered.

The people confessed their sins.

The people prayed and fasted before the Lord and the Lord "thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomforted them; and they were smitten before Israel ." (1 Samuel 7:10)

If we confess our sins, obey God and do that which is pleasing in His sight we too can expect God to help us in our daily Christian walk.  The Psalmist says: "Search me, O God, and know my heart…And see if there be any wicked way in me." (139:23-24)

May God cleanse us of our wicked ways and purify us for the days ahead.

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