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. 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.” 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.
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. The men of Israel rushed out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, slaughtering them along the way to a point below Beth Kar. I Samuel 7:7-11 ESV
Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever. Hebrews 7:23-28 ESV
President Abraham Lincoln was known to be a very merciful man. During the American Civil War, there were many soldiers who did something wrong and were given the penalty of death. However, as the president he could pardon these men, and he often did. If a mother or a wife came to plead with him for the guilty man, he almost always gave a pardon. There’s a story about an old man who came to President Lincoln to plead for his son, who had committed a crime while he was in the army and was sentenced to death. The old father came to Lincoln weeping, and the president quickly wrote an order that the soldier was not to be killed until he gave the order. Then he promised the old man that he would never give such an order.
While the people of Israel were gathered in sorrow for their sins against God, the Philistines got word of this and decided to take the opportunity to attack them. The people were frightened. They needed God’s help, but they knew they didn’t deserve it. They begged Samuel to pray for them. Samuel asked God for mercy, and God heard Samuel’s prayer. He fought against the Philistines himself by sending thunder that scared them and made them panic. The men of Israel were easily able to chase them away with God’s help.
Samuel didn’t just pray for God’s help. He also sacrificed a perfect lamb to God. This showed that he knew that he also was sinful, and that God would only hear him if his sins were forgiven. Samuel showed faith in the promised Savior when he sacrificed the lamb. We know that the promised Savior is Jesus, and that he was the one perfect sacrifice. When we go to God for help, we can be sure that he hears us, because Jesus died so that our sins could be forgiven, and he always talks to his Heavenly Father for us. Because of Jesus, God will always have mercy on us and help us.
Dear Jesus, thank you for being our perfect sacrifice and for winning the mercy of our Heavenly Father. Amen.