“Then Samuel said, “Assemble all Israel at Mizpah, and I will intercede with the Lord for you.” 6 When they had assembled at Mizpah, they drew water and poured it out before the Lord. On that day they fasted and there they confessed, “We have sinned against the Lord.” Now Samuel was serving as leader[a] of Israel at Mizpah. 7 When the Philistines heard that Israel had assembled at Mizpah, the rulers of the Philistines came up to attack them. When the Israelites heard of it, they were afraid because of the Philistines. 8 They said to Samuel, “Do not stop crying out to the Lord our God for us, that he may rescue us from the hand of the Philistines.” 9 Then Samuel took a suckling lamb and sacrificed it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. He cried out to the Lord on Israel’s behalf, and the Lord answered him. 10 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. 11 The men of Israel rushed out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, slaughtering them along the way to a point below Beth Kar.” 1 Samuel 7.5-11
The last battle the Israelites fought in was a disaster. They were routed by the Philistines. This was punishment for how Eli and priests had been leading the people toward sin and idol worship. But things were looking up for the better. Now Samuel was leading the nation and he was interceding before the Lord on behalf of the people.
Samuel knew what needed to be done — intercession and confession. The people need an intercessor in Samuel and they needed to confess their sins before Lord by making a right sacrifice. The Israelites needed help if they were not only to survive another battle but thrive as people of God.
And so Samuel gives instructions to “Assemble all Israel at Mizpah….I will intercede with the Lord for you.” They poured out water before the Lord, they fasted and confessed, “We have sinned against the Lord.” The people were setting their hearts right with the Lord. Samuel “took a suckling lamb and sacrificed it the burnt offering” as he “cried out to the Lord on Israel’s behalf and the Lord answered him.”
Well you can guess the rest of the story, the Israelites won the battle and this time they routed the Philistines all the way below Beth Kar (a long ways a way), and the slaughter this time was great as “the Lord thundered with loud thunder…and threw them into a panic.”
Not many of us are physically fighting enemies that threaten our lives. Most of us live in a relatively safe nation (although it seems we are in a bit of chaos, rioting and anarchy!) and even still God goes before us. But what made the difference for the Israelites was having an intercession and making confession. We don’t have Samuel going before us today as an intercessor, we have someone even better — Jesus. And he hears our confession and intercedes on our behalf before the Father. As Romans 8 tells us, “Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”
God requires intercession and he requires confession. If we confess without an intercessor we are no better off than we were before because we can never match the holiness of God. But when we have an intercessor then our confession is heard and we are made clean by the Blood of Jesus and made acceptable to the Lord.
Why not confess today? Come before Jesus, let him hear your sins and how sorry you are for your disobedience. He will go before you, bless you and help restore your relationship with God. Then you will experience joy and freedom like never before!
”O Lord God, thank you for saving me. Thank you for redeeming my brokenness and hearing my confession. Thank you for being the intercessor for the world whole before the Father! You intercession and your sacrifice was more than acceptable. Come now, Lord Jesus, heal your land and purify your people. Help us know the truth about your love and to press in to holiness now and forever. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen