Pastor Herman Kneller Editorials
God's Secrets Revealed
The children of Israel were now on the other side of the Jordan river. The side where their new home would be. Life would be different. The manna stopped and the idol nations were driven out. Those who accepted the God of Heaven like Rahab and her entire family were saved and became part of the Israelites. God does not turn anyone away who chooses to believe in Him and to serve Him.
As time went on, near the borders of their land were the other nations. The people made friends with those of other nations and they began to inter-marry. God had strictly forbidden this. Not that God disliked these people but He did not want His people to be drawn into idolatry. This, inevitably happened and God permitted the Philistines to conquer Israel. The Israelites became servants to the Philistines because they had forsaken God and worshiped the gods and idols of the Philistines.
The Philistines destroyed all the blacksmith shops in Israel. If people needed anything fixed they had to go to the Philistine shops. This was done so the people could not have any weapons of war: swords, spears, etc. The Philistines took what they wanted, like crops, animals so the Israelites became poor.
The high priest and judge in Israel had died and a young man, Samuel became the head of the country. He loved and worshiped the true God of Heaven. Samuel began to go through the country from one town to another and talked to the people about giving up their idols and returning to the worship of the true God. Then God would deliver them from the Philistines.
As time went on he began to have some success and after a number of years the people were ready to give up their idols and return to God.
Now a big gathering was planned where Samuel would offer a sacrifice and pray to God to forgive their past sins and give them a new heart and a new beginning. The people would pledge their obedience and worship to the true God of Heaven. This would be a happy re-dedication service and a new beginning.
The Philistines heard of this gathering and they did not like it so they got their big army together and marched to the site to disrupt, destroy and kill. When Israel saw them coming they were very scared for they had no weapons to defend themselves. They knew the ruthless character of the Philistines.
As Samuel was offering the sacrifice the people, no doubt, moved to the other side so Samuel was alone between the altar and Philistines. The people kept pleading with Samuel to keep on praying for them to save them. As Samuel was offering the sacrifice the smoke went straight up showing that God was pleased.
The men at the front of the army, what must they have thought? Here stands a defenceless man with his hands reaching upward and they can't scare him. They must have felt a bit uneasy. As they drew near the Bible says God thundered with a great thunder. From the clear blue sky came a crash of thunder that shook the ground and threw the Philistine army into confusion. They dropped their arms of war and turned and ran. The Israelites ran after them, grabbed their arms and chased them out of the country.
The Philistines in the story are a symbol of sin as the Israelites became friendly with them they became interested in their idol worship. Then, they began to join them occasionally. Then the Israelites lost their faith in God who then let the Philistines take over their country. This is what sin can do to people. It starts small but then can control life, happiness and health. God always makes provisions to call people back. He loves everyone. If we listen to His call, accept Him as the Creator and Giver, just as He got the Israelites freed from their captors, He will help to free those who love Him from the slavery of sin, no matter what the problem may be. We have a wonderful Creator and Saviour who wants the best for all His children. God loves you.