Summary: Let us not make the mistake of missing God in our daily lives; He is always available!
Let us continue to learn from God’s Word;
open your Bibles to 1 Samuel…..
We have noted the story of prayerful Hannah who was blessed with a son she named Samuel.
Samuel was raised in God’s Temple in Shiloh.
We have noted from Chapters 2-6:
The Ark of the Covenant was originally kept in that Temple in Shiloh.
The Israelites took the Ark out of the Temple and tried to use it as a talisman, a magic charm, for battle; it didn’t work of course, and the Ark was captured by the Philistines.
But God caused disease and death among the Philistines and so, because of God’s judgment, the Philistines returned the Ark to the Israelites.
But the Israelites who first got the Ark did not treat the Ark with respect and they were judged.
And so, because no Israelite was respecting God and were judged, they sent the Ark from town to town until it ended up in Kiriath Jearim.
Before we continue with chapter 7, let us pray together our commitment to God’s Word……….
Read along with me now Chapter 7 of 1 Samuel …………..
v2: Ark remained in Kiriath Jearim for 20 years. Were the people happy??
Why weren’t the people happy??
Why weren’t they happy?
There was no joy amongst the Israelites because God was not actually present in their lives!
The end of v2 tells us they mourned and sought the Lord; most other English translation states they lamented (there was grieving and regret). They were mourning and seeking the Lord. i.e. They were regretting God missing in their lives!
Why was God missing in their lives? We can note at least 3 reasons:
First of all, should they have been keeping the Ark in Abinadab’s house for 20 years??
Why do you think they kept the Ark in that house, in that city for 20 years??
Just like the Philistines who took the Ark and kept it for 7 years in spite of troubles, the Israelites in Kiriath Jearim were greedy selfish people! The Israelites kept the ark for themselves not just for 7 years but for 20 years!! They were more greedy and selfish than the Philistines!
Where was the Ark supposed to be??
Remember Eli and his sons were the initial guardians of the Ark; where were they??
The Ark was in the Temple at Shiloh before it was abused. And so, one of the reasons why God was missing in the lives of the Israelites is,
1. They kept the Ark in the wrong place!
And what can we note from v3….?
2. They were hanging on to other gods (idols)! and
3. They were half-hearted for God!
And so, what did the Israelite do in v4-6? The Israelites went back to God in worship!
What were the specific things that the Israelites did in their worship?
v4a? repented (put away idols)
v4b? served the Lord only (God focused)
v5? gathered and prayed
And look again at v6, what do you think “they drew water and poured it out before the Lord” indicate??
v6b? water poured out indicates washing (baptism); an external symbol of their spiritual cleansing!
v6c: fasted for the day and confessed their sins
v6d-9: God called a minister to lead and intercede
And what is the result of their genuine worship of God?
v10-14: victory, thanksgiving, peace, and restoration!
And finally, what can we note from v15-17??
The spiritual guidance of God’s people was on-going!
The Biblical principles to apply to our lives are straightforward aren’t they?
1. Constantly evaluate God’s presence in your life!
2. If God is missing in your life:
a. Ask God if there is sin in your life (wrong situations, idols, halfheartedness?)
b. follow the example of worship from the Israelites (v4-9)!
3. Always seek spiritual growth and give thanks!