I Samuel 2:22-4:22 / John 5:24-47 / Psalm 106:1-12 / Proverbs 14:30-31

Standout verse:

I Samuel 4:5,7&10: The Israelites go to Shiloh to get the Ark hoping that it will bring them victory over the Philistines.

“And when the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth shook. (v. 7) So the Philistines were afraid, for they said, “God has come into the camp!” And they said, “Woe to us! For such a thing has never happened to us before.” (v.10) So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, every man fled to his tent. There was a great slaughter, and there fell of Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers.”

End of story note: The Philistines attacked Israel, easily defeated them and captured the Ark.

The Israelites faced certain jeopardy as the Philistines were lined up against them ready to attack.  The people responded by turning to religious action; hoping that the presence of the Ark would save them. Their relationship with God had long since grown cold and their lives reflected disobedience and rebellion toward Him. As the Ark of the Covenant was brought out, they began to shout with excitement, but it was too late. God wasn’t interested in the people’s religious shouting. The Israelites efforts where based on old sentimental ideas about God and weren’t a true cry to the Lord from humble hearts willing to repent and turn to Him. They found themselves powerless over their enemies.

It's ironic that the people felt abandoned by God, confused as to why He hadn’t given them victory over their enemies.  It wasn’t God who’d abandoned them He was as steadfast and faithful as ever.  They had turned their backs and walked away believing that when they did need something from Him, He’d snap to it and save the day.

TRUE REPENTANCE AND HUMILITY LEAD TO RELATIONSHIP AND NOT RELIGION. When we truly yield ourselves to the Lord, turn from empty religious living and embrace the relationship He made us to have with Him, we will begin to know and experience His awesome power and promises.