"At that time Samuel said to [the Israelites], 'If you are really serious about wanting to return to the Lord, get rid of your foreign gods and your Ashtaroth idols. Determine to obey only the Lord; then He will rescue you from the Philistines'" (1 Samuel 7:3).
As I was reading and meditating upon the Word of God this morning, the thought struck me forcefully that this passage relates to multitudes of defeated, frustrated Christians today who feel that they have lost contact with God. They are puzzled as to why He has withdrawn His blessing from them, but the reason, in most cases, is very simple.
Throughout the history of Israel, the people alternately obeyed God and disobeyed Him. When they obeyed, He blessed, and when they disobeyed, He disciplined. At this particular time the Lord seemingly had abandoned them. It was because, as Samuel explained, they were worshiping foreign gods and idols. "If you will only obey God," he counseled, "He will rescue you from the Philistines."
So they destroyed their idols and worshiped the Lord, and then a miracle happened. Samuel invited all of Israel to come to Mispah and said, "I will pray to the Lord for you." As they gathered there, the Philistine leaders heard about it and mobilized their army to attack. Of course, the Israelites were terribly frightened, but God spoke with a mighty thunder from heaven, and the Philistines were thrown into terrible confusion. Israel surrounded them, and subdued them, and the Philistines did not invade Israel again for the remainder of Samuel's life.
Enemies can take many forms, but their intent is always to destroy. What are the Philistines in your life? Lust, pride, jealousy, materialism, financial indebtedness, physical illness, resentments, antagonism, criticism, discrimination? Do you feel that God has forsaken you?
Why not look into the mirror of God's Word? Ask the Lord to reveal the idols of your life, then turn away from them. Confess your sins and claim God's victory over those areas of life that are destroying you.
TODAY'S ACTION POINT: I will carefully examine my life to see if I am harboring any idols that would cause the Spirit of God to be grieved and quenched. I will destroy any that I find, and will confess my sins and appropriate God's fullness to live a supernatural life for His glory.
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