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Daily Bible Readings

Sometimes God Guards us As We Grow

Posted by Dan Sullivan on

“And Samuel said to all the house of Israel, ”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.“ So the people of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtaroth, and they served the LORD only. Then Samuel said, ”Gather all Israel at Mizpah, and I will pray to the LORD for you.“ So they gathered at Mizpah and drew water and poured it out before the LORD and fasted on that day and said there, ”We have sinned against the LORD." And Samuel judged the people of Israel at Mizpah…

As Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to attack Israel. But the LORD thundered with a mighty sound that day against the Philistines and threw them into confusion, and they were defeated before Israel."

1 Samuel 7:3–6,10 Read More

The Ark of the Covenant is back in Israel, the corrupt High Priests have been judged and killed, and the country is turning back to the Lord. A revival of repentance is happening among the people, as they grieve that God disciplined them for a short time. This command to put away their false gods and serve Him only is an echo of the first of the 10 commandments: 

Fear the LORD your God, serve him only  (Dt 6:10 NIV)

This would remind everyone of their idolatry and the full extent of their sin. Directing their hearts to the Lord would mean to put off a lot of other things they had been aiming their hearts and hopes toward. I don’t have specifics, but we are the same today. All too easily we drift to want an infinite list of things that we’d prefer over the Lord. We just need the often reminder that the Lord is the fulfillment of all of our needs. 

As with the events in the days of Moses, God delivers some proof to strengthen their faith. The people turn and put away all of their idols and make oaths and confessions to God. They make such a commotion that it attracts the eyes of the Philistines. The Philistines don’t want any organized effort on behalf of Israel, so they really need to break this up and show Israel who is boss again. 

When the Philistines come to attack, Samuel is offering a burnt offering to God. This would be an offering of atonement for the nation’s sins and a fellowship offering where they would be showing God that they want to be close to Him again. 

Without strategy or consultation, God throws the Philistines into a state of confused panic. He has shown Israel that their victories or loses all rest on Him. They have victory that day and they know it is because of the Lord. 

We often feel a lot of resistance when we start to draw nearer to God. As we throw away the things that kept us from growing in Him, or change our schedules or lifestyles to include more of Jesus, we can have fear that we’ll lose this chance. God knows. God may not send thunder to confuse your neighbors or that bad influence, but He will open up ways for you to grow in Him. He wants you to grow in your faith even more than you do, and He knows that too! 

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Tags: prayer, rescue, salvation, struggle, trouble