Jan18WedJanuary 18, 2017
Our daily Scripture reading is taking us through the Gospel of Luke and First Samuel. If you’ve followed along with us, you’ll notice how First Samuel records the gradual transition from Eli’s leadership to Samuel’s leadership. In the midst of this transition, the Ark of the Covenant was stolen and then returned by the Philistine army.
During this time, a younger Samuel observed that Israel’s faith was more dependent on the ark than it was on the Living God. Therefore, as he stepped into leadership he declared, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods from among you. Direct your heart to the Lord and serve him only” (1 Samuel 7:3).
Surprisingly, Israel responded!
After they put away their foreign gods, he called them together to pray and fast with repentant hearts. During the worship service, the Philistines attempted to slaughter Israel. However, the Lord intervened in a way in which the previous generation had not known. He “thundered with a mighty sounds and threw the enemy into confusion” (1 Samuel 7:10).
This event causes me to ask the question, what might have happened if God’s people had tried, once again, to battle the Philistines with their foreign gods in hand? Likely, God would have let the destruction come.
Throughout Scripture, we see this as common theme. When God’s people insist on being self-reliant, God often allows His people to suffer whatever consequences they bring upon themselves. Yet when God’s people repent of their sin and cry out to Him through authentic and repentant prayer, God intervenes in mysterious and often powerful ways. God doesn’t have to wait to act until His people pray. However, He seems most pleased to respond when we do.
2017 is a year for us at First Mennonite Church to do the same thing – to return to the Lord by putting away our foreign gods and seeking Him first through prayer. Our gods are likely not made of stone – although some may have batteries and touch screens. Our gods are likely comprised of our pride, our control and our fleshly habits.
What keeps you from giving quality time to the Lord?
In the past, it’s been my lack of motivation to get up early (while our house is still quiet) and my struggle to let go of control during the day. So, in this season, I’m re-learning new habits to direct my heart to the Lord in the morning and during the day. I invite you, my brothers and sisters, to do the same.
Who knows how God will lead FMC if we become a people who put away our foreign gods and seek the Living God?
Who knows how God will use you in your workplace and neighborhood and family?
Who knows what opportunities He will lead us into as our country exchanges leadership this weekend?
However, I know that if we seek Him fervently, He will move in a way which is powerful and mysterious. I’m looking forward to His work with great anticipation!