If you’re reading along, today was three chapters: 5, 6 & 7. In as short as I possibly can recap what’s going on in here, after the Philistines stole the ark of the covenant that we learned about yesterday, God struck whatever city it was in with sickness (even death) – they kept moving the ark to different cities when sickness would break out- So, eventually they returned it. and after being returned scripture tells us “Then all the people of Israel turned back to the Lord” (7:2)
Then Samuel speaks and says our verse today, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.” 1 Samuel 7:3 (Side note- in the bible when you see Baal or in today’s case Ashtoreths, these are gods/goddesses they worshipped.) I love how the scripture says ALL the people turned back to God, that before this ALL the people had been turned away. With God anything is possible. I mean we saw yesterday that once the ark was gone, they thought God was gone too, as well as worshipping things besides God. This verse tells us that in order to be FULLY committed to God, we must rid ourselves of any other gods. You may be thinking I don’t worship any “gods”, so lets dig in a little. A “god” can be anything that we put in a higher position in our lives over God. So things like money, power, material possessions, our application even includes pride and ego. (You may also hear in the bible “gods” being called idols.) Can we talk about how hard this is for a second? We live in a world now where these things are looked at as the symbols of success or even happiness, and that these things that can take place of God are the very things that the world tells us to chase after, that these are what is most important in our lives, so this is hard and honestly digging in to this doesn’t feel good.
What “god” in your life is taking place of God as being #1 in your life? Maybe God is #1, and if that is the case, there has to be another “god” continually pressing you to take His place. Write down what it is and why you struggle with that “god” the most. And let’s commit together to fight off the “gods” and despite what the world tells us, be confident that having God as our #1 is what matters most!
Let’s pray over this today. God, this isn’t easy, when the parts of what we struggle with come to the surface. But, we know that in order to fight back that we must be aware. So, search our hearts Lord. Help us to see any “gods” we are putting before you. Help us to overcome the desire to put that thing before you. Help us to desire you more so that “god” becomes less. Lord we want you to be first, the only thing we worship, please work within us through your Holy Spirit to transform our hearts to have you as what is most important in our lives; the only thing WORTHY of our worship. We commit to you God that we are ALL in, that our hearts are yours and we want to follow your ways, guide us. It’s in your loving name we pray, Amen!