Scripture: 1 Samuel 7:3-14
Samuel senses the true state of the hearts of the Israelite people. With God informing his leadership, Samuel calls this people back to what they were meant for: the worship of and devotion to the One True God. No longer should they be distracted or entrapped by the false gods they'd been introduced to. Samuel reminds them of this greater call.
'Determine to obey only the Lord;' then He will rescue you from the Philistines' Samuel says. The Israelites refocus their attention on God, in fasting and prayer, and while they still meet with struggle and difficulty in their attackers, the Philistines, the Israelite people are focused on the voice of God, and are able to hear His direction and instruction, guiding them through.
I find myself relating to this call to do away with false gods. I am aware of some ways that I have allowed false gods to distract me from the very thing that my Father God is calling me to – serving him faithfully and bringing glory to him. I am certain that I am not the only one on this journey though. We all, at various times in our lives, lose focus and become distracted or even obsessed with foreign or false gods. Whether an individual person, an activity that takes too much of our time, an item or object that monopolizes our finances or an ambition that isn't in line with what God wants for us – all of these things can distract us and entrap our attentions. What is it in your life that fits into these categories? What might God be asking you to do away with, or remove from your life, so that there is the proper space for him?
'Determine to obey only the Lord' is a resounding call for each of us. While this invitation was not a promise of an easy life for the Israelites or for us today, I can't help but think how the trials we face in life appear different when our focus and devotion are fixed on the One True God who loves us, cares for us, and longs to be in relationship with us? While the evil one seeks to distract us, creating questions, doubts and fears in times of struggle, God seeks to draw us close, comfort us and assure us of His presence with us.
Holy Community Covenant Church