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Chapter Seven (ESV)
5 Then Samuel said, “Gather all Israel at Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord for you.” 6 So they gathered at Mizpah and drew water and poured it out before the Lord and fasted on that day and said there, “We have sinned against the Lord.” And Samuel judged the people of Israel at Mizpah. 7 Now when the Philistines heard that the people of Israel had gathered at Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the people of Israel heard of it, they were afraid of the Philistines. 8 And the people of Israel said to Samuel, “Do not cease to cry out to the Lord our God for us, that he may save us from the hand of the Philistines.” 9 So Samuel took a nursing lamb and offered it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. And Samuel cried out to the Lord for Israel, and the Lord answered him.
- The ceremony of pouring water and fasting described in v 6 appears to symbolize the pouring out of one’s heart in repentance and humility before the Lord.
- Fasting is the voluntary abstention from an otherwise normal function – most often eating – for the sake of intense spiritual activity. By turning from the needs of the body toward the needs of the soul, we are able to see more sharply our need for repentance and restoration. In our society today, we are often overfed yet spiritually malnourished. We need to recover such a practice to restore our spiritual health.
- Have I ever tried fasting yet? What did I discover? Why not set aside one day, abstain from solid food for 24 hours starting and ending with breakfast while constantly monitoring my soul’s reaction to being physically hungry. Record what I learn.
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God. (Ref. Ps 42:11)