Short daily devotionals for the socially distanced. These are thoughts from my daily time in the word. I use a bible reading plan that will have me in a different section of Scripture every day.
I hope they serve to give you courage and hope. You can subscribe to receive them as a daily email at the bottom of the page.
Tuesday, May 12th
Reading: 1 Samuel 4-7
I guess I probably ought to change the title of these posts to “Doses of Courage That Will be Posted on Some Days and Not on Others.” It has been almost a week since I posted, and I am sorry for that. It is down to a few factors.
Firstly, just fatigue at doing some of the same things everyday. My days have begun to blur into one another without discernible stops or starts.
Secondly, I suffered a lack of time and energy as last week was a very busy work week. I feel like I went from working at home to living at work. Anyone else feel that?
Third, last week was an immensely painful week in a few ways, and it felt like my heart was in a washing machine. I still kept spending daily time in the Word, but I just didn’t feel like I had anything to say. I had to sit in some of the sadness of the very real losses that many of us experienced last week, and sometimes sadness requires some silence from us. Not always, but certainly sometimes.
Anyway, I am back to posting Doses of Courage That Will be Posted on Some Days and Not on Others. What a catchy title. Online virality, here I come!
The story of 1 Samuel 4-7 is a powerful story of the power of God’s presence. The Philistines launched an attack against Israel which was successful, and brutal, and in that attack, the ark of God was stolen and carried off into Philistine territory. This was hugely discouraging to the people of Israel as the ark signified (and indeed physically manifested in a way) the presence of God with and amongst His people. The Philistines found out though, through pain and misfortune, that the presence of God is only comforting to those who worship Him. Those opposed to God don’t find His presence as a comfort, but as a confrontation of their idolatry that leads to suffering and pain. The Philistines therefore returned the ark to Israel, together with some gold sacrifices, but it was left for twenty years at Kiriath-Jearim while Israel lamented.
Samuel wanted to make sure that the people of God properly understood what it meant to live with the presence of God.
It meant surrender.
It meant obedience.
It meant whole-hearted lives of singular worship.
This is how Samuel warned the people 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.”
— 1 Sa 7:3 (ESV)
If you want to experience the fullness of Gods’ presence, then you need to have a determination to worship Him and Him alone. There is a turning away from other gods that is necessary in order to enjoy the singular power, comfort, grace and mercy of the one true God.
We know that God no longer manifests His presence in an ark amongst the people. He came in the person of Jesus Christ to live among us, and now dwells in our hearts, through faith, in the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit. How much more, then, ought we to be a people who soberly assess the singularity of our devotion to Him?
Direct your heart to the Lord and serve Him only!
Courage, dear friends.