1 Samuel 7:3
And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.
The phrase, “it’s a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God” took on a new meaning as I read through the first few chapters of 1 Samuel. This book was such an interesting read, I wish I didn’t have to stop! Strangely enough, the focus of the earlier chapters was not just Samuel, but about God’s presence among His people. The ark of the covenant, built by skilled craftsmen when Israel was in the wilderness, had come to represent God’s presence and his glory. Wherever the ark was, God’s miraculous power was demonstrated. Unfortunately for Israel, they became hooked on idolatry (worshipping false gods) and God withheld his favor and power from them. This translated to them losing EVERY battle against the Philistines, and living in constant fear for their lives. When the ark was captured in battle and placed in the temple of the idol Dagon, God felled the statue of Dagon and smote people from every city with hemorrhoids or even death. Thus, proving that the reason Israel wasn’t defeated isn’t that He had lost His power, but rather that He decided not to prosper them because of their sin.
The moment the people of Israel humbled themselves by acknowledging their idolatry and doing away with their idols, God’s presence and glory returned to them. As they gathered to fast, pray and seek the Lord’s forgiveness, the Philistine army attempted to fight them once again but God sent a mighty thunder against their army, defeating them. The ease with which they won that battle is a lesson to all of us, when we are right with God, victorious living becomes easy. Why? Because God Himself handles the enemy. We never have to leave our posture of submission to God to go and fight any battles. Sin is what creates the constant need to fight for ourselves, and if we are honest - we never win. Winning is easy when God does the fighting. His yoke is easy and his burden is light.
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