In 1 Samuel Chapter 4 the Israelites decide to bring the ark of the Lord for protection from the Phillistines but then they are defeated seamlessly…30,000 foot soldiers fell and the Phillistines captured the ark!…Double tragedy.In Chapter 5 the Philistines bring it to a place where their god Dagon was and Dagon falls face down before the ark.They put it back in place but it keeps falling.One day it falls to the ground and the head and the hands break off the trunk and it remained without form.
They kept moving the ark and whenever they did,there was always calamity until they sent it back to Israel…to a place where it was received with great joy.
Samuel then gives a very important instruction to the Israelites…
“If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart,then,put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your heart to the Lord and serve him only and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” (1 Samuel 7:3)
Is there a turning away from God?Yes there is.The Israelites did turn away from Him and they suffered for it.Their religious attitude of bringing the ark to save them from the hand of the Phillistines did not work.Why? “…For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”(2 Corinthians 6:14)
As long as in the heart exists wickedness then righteousness is sent out the door and vice versa.If light exists then darkness becomes history and vice versa.
Most often than not whenever we surrender our lives to God,we don’t do it fully.Maybe we see it as a second option to a better life or protection.When everything falls into place we change that “I am saved” clothing and put on a totally different one called “back to my past life” but then Samuels’ instruction does ring a bell.If you and I return to the Lord,then we should put away every idol,direct our hearts to the Lord and serve him only.
Our worship and service to God after returning to Him can only result in deliverance when we are fully in,no turning to the right or the left.Yes,the world might have a lot of things to offer…the glitz and glam,endless partying till we ‘sleep and repeat’,corruption for own gain,compromise…I mean the list is endless but we cannot double deal God.We can fool men into thinking that we have turned over a new leaf but, you know what goes on behind the scenes which we don’t know but God knows.The skull is just beneath our skin my friends…infact He sees what you are doing so clearly…We cannot hide from Him.The Israelites thought they could use Him for convenience.Woe unto them,30,000 foot soldiers fell before the Philistines!
Put away every idol,direct our hearts to the Lord and serve him only.
As long as we still hold on to our ‘precious little idols’ then we cannot claim to have His Presence in our lives.The Holy Spirit cannot reside in a contaminated place,because He is not contaminated in the first place.He is a HOLY…Yes,Holy Spirit.Christ Himself instructs us to… “Be holy, because I am holy.”(1 Peter 1:16)
I always say that the journey of Christianity is never easy,especially for the New Believer,but it begins with just one step.Make a conscious effort to put one foot infront of the other…Say no to what you used to do,the friends you used to hang out with and intentionally avail yourself for fellowship,where you will definitely get an accountability partner.
Mature Christians never started out as being mature.Consciously and intentionally by the help of the Holy Spirit,they are where they are at now…. ‘But I still crave my favourite beer or wine,I still long for porn,I still want to party sleep and repeat’… It is no shocker…It never ends suddenly like a burst bubble,infact in life it is absolutely natural and acceptable to go through process.Growth takes time…takes effort…takes sacrifice and God is pleased when he sees His child making those milestones.
I made a friend recently who gave his life to Christ and he called telling me that his friends just picked him up and took him to where he drank himself to a stupor.His speech was staggering and slow and I remember asking him, “Hey,you are drunk to that extent?” and in such a state,he could afford to express remorse…Yes,I was disappointed but I knew that the Holy Spirit was at work convicting him of his wrong doing.We cannot change them but the Holy Spirit can.He is still battling so much but I believe prayer works and his conscious effort to live out Christianity is quite impressive as well.God is not going to leave this beautiful soul behind…He will not leave you behind because He sought you out and brought you out of that myry clay.
Growth takes time…takes effort…takes sacrifice
I was listening to a certain sermon recently where the preacher stated that God does not lower His standards,regardless of the situation we find ourselves in, the standard is set and won’t move.He does not give us an allowance for bargain.The price is fixed.
I am writing this,to sensitize and awaken each one of us including myself to the fact that we cannot play God,we cannot have one foot in salvation and the other out there and expect them not to give way at some point…We cannot do what we used to do and expect deliverance from the ‘Philistines’ we face every day?…It’s impossible!…
God does not lower His standards
The struggles we face?…He knows them and understands and sees every single one of them.Why don’t you place them at the foot of the cross?…
Hillsong United wraps this write-up so well in their song, So will I(100 Billion X)…May it minister to your heart.Listen in most especially to the words.Let them spark a passion to wholly serve God,direct your heart to Him and put away those little idols you got right there.
If the stars were made to worship so will I
If the mountains bow in reverence so will I
If the oceans roar Your greatness so will I
For if everything exists to lift You high so will I
If the wind goes where You send it so will I
If the rocks cry out in silence so will I
If the sum of all our praises still falls shy
Then we’ll sing again a hundred billion times
May the Lord help us.
Love you with a passion!
Happy New Month In Advance!
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