Friday, May 18, 2018

Whose Will Comes First? Not Mine

This is the journal entry from my quiet time with God one day this past week.

Look: “So the Philistines fought, and the Israelites were defeated and every man fled to his tent. The slaughter was very great; Israel lost thirty thousand foot soldiers. The ark of God was captured, and Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, died.” (1 Samuel 4:10-11)

Israel and the high priest, Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, had largely forgotten God. They relied on their own ideas and impulses. After going into battle against the Philistines and losing, the Israelites hit on a plan: They would bring the ark in which God’s presence on earth dwelt onto the battlefield.

The Philistines understood that Israel’s God had been faithful to the Israelites, delivering them from slavery in Egypt, giving them victories as they took the places assigned to them in the promised land. So, they were afraid and resolved to fight hard when they saw the Israelites had dragged “their god” onto the field of battle. The Philistines crushed the Israelites and took the ark of the covenant besides.

Listen: What happened?

(1) The Israelites weren’t following God, they were using God for their own purposes. They didn’t ask, “Lord, what should we do?” They asked, “Lord, bless what we’ve already decided that we’re going to do, no matter what Your purposes may be.”

(2) They treated the ark of the covenant not as the place where God dwelt on earth, but as a good luck charm. If God isn’t in the things that we do as His people, we will fail no matter how many times we invoke God’s name.

Respond: Today, in my decisions and in my words, help me to seek and react to Your will, not my preferences. In Jesus’ name. Amen

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