Message: In Samuel 7 the Israelites began seeking God 20 years after the ark had been returned to them Samuel the prophet said “If you are returning to God with all your heart get rid of your foreign gods and the Ashtoreths that are among you. Dedicate yourself to the Lord and worship Him only, then he will rescue you from the hand of the Philistines.” They removed those things and then Samuel called them to gather and they fasted and gave sacrifices. Even as they were gathering together the Philistines were watching and on the move to attack them. They may have observed that not much had changed with Israel in the past 20 years in spite of receiving the ark of the covenant back. The Philistines served foreign gods so they surely recognized the practices and the Ashtereth that were on display in Israel. Seeing that Israel was not being faithful to their God may have given the Philistines confidence that they could beat them as they had before.
What I really saw in this is that when we are dormant in our faith and allow ungodliness to come in we kind of blend in with the world and though the devil is trying to suck the life out of us and keep us dormant with our sin, he doesn’t pose a big obvious threat until we start to wake up and pursue God. Being awake is extremely important, but as Samuel called out to Israel, we have to get rid of the illegitimate gods and practices that we adopt in our lives when we are dormant in our faith. When we find ourselves asleep at the wheel. It’s not enough to just add more of God to our lives. We have to remove everything else and allow God to consume us. When we do this God chases off our enemies even as they are actively pursuing and seeking to devour us. God steps in because he sees that we are fully His. It’s important to note that if we try to hang onto unholy things, it is also a display to the enemy that we are still marked as his. The only way to remove the authority of the enemy from our lives is to remove the things that mark us as his. He has no authority over us as long as we have renounced him and removed anything that would give him rights or access. We can’t play with sin and renounce it at the same time. We can’t play with sin and expect the devil to stay back because our behavior is inviting him in. On the contrary, when we completely belong to God we can stand in the confidence that he chases off the enemy on our behalf. Don’t flirt with the devil!