1 Samuel 7:2-17
About 20 years after the ark was returned by the Philistines, the Israelites finally returned to a place of repentant hearts. (In other words, they were finally sorry they hadn’t followed God.) Samuel was a priest and he told them that if they would put aside their false gods and turn back to the Lord that God would deliver them from the Philistines. (Don’t forget they have been ruled by the Philistines this whole 20 years because they turned from God!)
The Israelites agreed and served only God. Then Samuel told the people to gather at Mizpah and he would pray for them. So they gathered and fasted to show God they were sorry for their sin. But the Philistines heard they were gathering. They assumed the Israelites were gathering to go to war with them; so the Philistines got ready to battle with them. Well the Israelites were afraid! They had just gathered to pray, not fight!! So they asked Samuel to cry out to God on their behalf. And Samuel offered a sacrifice, then cried out for God to help.
As always, God answered! As the Philistines gathered, God sent a loud thunder. The thunder was so loud it confused the Philistines and the Israelites were able to drive them back. Samuel then set up a stone as a reminder that God had helped them. Eventually the Israelites regained all their land back from the Philistines and had peace once again. Samuel continued to judge, or lead, the people. He traveled to various cities throughout the year, but most of the time he lived in the town of Ramah.
Were the Israelites finally able to rise up and drive out the Philistines because the Philistines got weak in 20 years of ruling? NO!! They were finally able to defeat their enemies because they got right with God and used His power to win! When we have sin in our lives it separates us from God. When we are separated from God we don’t have His power in us. When we don’t have His power in us we are weak. But when we repent (or say we are sorry) of our sins, that takes down the barrier between us and God and gives us access to His power. We need to ask God’s forgiveness so that we can be strong enough to live our lives the right way!!
Have your child go in a room and close the door. On the other side spray air freshener or light a fragrant candle. Through the door, ask if they smell the good smell. Then have them open the door. Remind them the door is like sin, it keeps the good out of our life and we need to get rid of it so we have God (the good stuff) in our life!