The people of Israel endured terrible consequences for their religious complacency at the beginning of 1 Samuel. Many of them died in battle and more died when they took the ark of the covenant as a common object. Finally the Israelite people choose God, but Samuel tells them that they must turn to God. Turning to God means that we put other distractions aside. The focus on what is important in life is complete. God does not compete as a rival with any other interests. He is the only God now as far as Israelite devotion is concerned.
Of course, tragedy can work in our lives in two ways. We can learn from it and draw closer to God or we can become hardened and resistant to God. Which of these describes us right now?
1 Samuel 7:2-4
2The ark remained at Kiriath Jearim a long time—twenty years in all. Then all the people of Israel turned back to the LORD. 3 So Samuel said to all the Israelites, “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 out of the hand of the Philistines.” 4 So the Israelites put away their Baals and Ashtoreths, and served the LORD only.
- What happened after a long time?
- How did the Israelites demonstrate change?
- Who did Israel promise to serve alongside God?
- What circumstances have brought people you know to a position of surrendered repentance?
- What have you had to ‘put away’?