God blessed Hannah with the birth of the prophet Samuel. She was filled with joy and expressed her faith and gratitude to the Lord in prayer. She began to prophesy about a day when God’s kingdom will be extended to the ends of the earth. This will come to pass with the return of Jesus Christ, the Anointed One.
2 “No one is holy like the Lord, for there is none besides You, nor is there any rock like our God….
8 He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the beggar from the ash heap, to set them among princes and make them inherit the throne of glory. For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s and He has set the world upon them. 9 He will guard the feet of His saints, but the wicked shall be silent in darkness.
“For by strength no man shall prevail. 10 The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken in pieces; from heaven He will thunder against them. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth. He will give strength to His king and exalt the horn (strength) of His anointed.” 1 Samuel 2:2, 8-10 NKJV
Before the birth of Samuel, the people of Israel were led by judges. Judges were individuals, both men and women, raised up by God in answer to Israel’s prayers for deliverance from their overpowering enemies. As long as each judge was alive, the Lord blessed the people and kept them free from occupation. But as each judge died, the people turned away from God, and suffered a loss of protection as a result. Soon they were suffering under the control and plunder of another enemy.
Some of the judges who delivered Israel and brought eras of peace and restoration were:
Othniel – Othniel delivered Israel from the hand of Mesopotamia, which lies between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers in present-day Syria. The Spirit of the Lord came upon Othniel, and his leadership gave Israel victory and forty years of peace.
Ehud – After the death of Othniel, the children of Israel once again turned their backs upon God. As a result, they lost their covering of protection, and people from the east, including, Eglon king of Moab, defeated and ruled over them for eighteen years.
The people began to cry out to God, and He heard their prayers. God sent Ehud as judge and deliverer. Ehud tricked and assassinated the Moabite king Eglon, then led Israel to remove the invaders from the land. Israel then enjoyed eighty years of peace.
Shamgar – Shamgar fought off an incursion of the Philistines using an ox goad. An ox goad is a long stick with a sharp point on the end that is used to keep an ox moving when plowing. The ox would sometimes kick back against these in protest and suffer a sharp pain as a result.
It is interesting that when Jesus appeared to the Apostle Paul, known as Saul at the time of his conversion, He referred to an ox goad.
14 And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15 So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Acts 26:14-15 NKJV
Deborah –Deborah was a female prophet and judge over Israel. God used her and others to deliver Israel from the Canaanites and to give them forty years of rest and peace.
6 Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian for seven years… Judges 6:1 NKJV
Gideon – When the Lord chose Gideon to be the next judge over Israel, He showed up in person. The Angel of the Lord appeared while Gideon was threshing wheat, hidden in his winepress so as not to be seen by the Midianite plunderers. God told Gideon that in God’s power, Gideon was to deliver Israel from the hand of Midian.
God patiently demonstrated His power to Gideon when he doubted, but then whittled down the size of Gideon’s army to show that true deliverance comes from the Spirit of God, not by the might of man. The country was quiet for forty years after the victory of Gideon.
Samson – Samson’s parents were visited in person by the Angel of the Lord to announce Samson’s coming birth and his mission. He will be the subject of a coming meditation.
Where do you need deliverance today? How is God making His power available to you to pursue it?
Have you seen a time when the Spirit of God delivered you from a situation or condition that no human power could have achieved?