Summary: Today, I will attempt to show you how often, and in how many ways men try to find a cure for what ails them, rather than take the only treatment that will work, to take the case to God.
Show Me That Our God Is In The Camp
And the Philistines were afraid, for they said, God is come into the camp. And they said, Woe unto us! for there hath not been such a thing heretofore.
The Prince of Preachers had a sermon with a similar name: "Is God In The Camp?" Charles Haden Spurgeon was a preacher without Peers. Iam fond of his preaching, not because I have the gift, but because I can relate to his battle with depression. Depression has suceeded in stopping me from doing anything for the Kingdom except to write these sermons and Bible Commentires. Oh, I have prayed that others would be blessed by them, but, to be honest, it blesses me more than anything else in my life. I wish I could say I did it forJesus Christ, or for this one or that one; but, the reality is, I write because I must. Now; let's see if it is possible that God has come to your camp
Israel had become disconnected from God. The people had forgotten God and were worshipping Baal instead. They had abandoned the things of God; consequently they were given up to their enemies. When God had brought them out of Egypt, He had instructed them on how they were to live in the land, and He warned them that if they ignored Him they would be punished. His words were very clear: “If ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins.” In carrying out His threat, the Philistines had been divinely allowed to conquer the idolatrous Israelites, and to keep them in cruel slavery.
The only way for them to get out of their trouble was to return to God; to repent and renew their faith and covenant with God. If they would have done that, then everything would have been alright. But this is the last thing that men will do, for our fallen nature does not love spiritual things. We may perform rites and rituals, but our natural man will resist loving God and coming back to Him in faith.
Instead of attempting to get right with God, these Israelites began to devise superstitious ways of gaining the victory over their enemies. Most people, at one time or another, have acted the same way. We invent a thousand ways to escape our problems; but we neglect the one thing we need the most. Even at this moment, some of you may be passing through difficult trials, and you may think that they have come upon you because you have forgotten some little thing in connection with how you express your religion. But no outward religious act means anything, unless you have faith, without which it is impossible to please God. We sometimes forget the main issue, which is to worship God, and to do His will by faith in Jesus Christ. The answer to all of life’s problems is this: get right with God; confess your sin; believe in Jesus Christ, be reconciled to God by the death of His Son; then everything will be alright between you and God.
Today, I will attempt to show you how often, and in how many ways men try to find a cure for what ails them, rather than take the only treatment that will work, to take the case to God. They manage to help themselves only slightly, because they look for a remedy in a thousand deceitful plans, rather than take he only remedy provided by the Great Physician for sin-sick souls. Instead of becoming right with God, these Israelites thought that, if they could get the Ark of the Covenant, which had been the symbol of Jehovah’s presence, and bring it into their camp, that they would then be certain to have victory over the Philistines. So they sent for the Ark, and when it came into the camp, they were as enthusiastic as if they had already won the victory. They shouted so loudly, that the earth rang with their shouts. The Philistines heard all the shouting, and when they found out the reason for it, they were terrified. With trembling lips, thinking that they were certainly beaten, they turned to one another and said, “God has come into the camp. Woe unto us! For there has not been such a thing heretofore.”
Look at the great mistake that both the Israelites and Philistines made. The Israelites, instead of appealing to God himself, went to fetch the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark was the sacred place where God revealed himself in the days when His people truly served Him; but there was no power there, without His presence. The Israelites were mistaken, because they celebrated long before they were out of the woods. The sight of the Ark made them boastful and confident, before they had won the victory. The Philistines made a different kind of mistake, because they were frightened, without a real cause. They said, “God has come into the camp;” but God had not come at all. It was only the Ark. God was not there.