Summary: Here are two of the most popular things lost people hide behind while professing to be a Christian.
WHAT ARE YOU HIDING BEHIND?
INTRO: Let me share with you a couple of troubling headlines from a very popular and trustworthy news source. One deals with a cult. A man by the name of Mike stole nearly $150,000 from his mother. Not knowing who the thief was, she pronounced a curse on him. He heard it and confessed to the crime. She then turned around and give him the money back to pursue his dream of starting his own church/ religion. He ordained his son and paid another man to be his personal priest. But it wasn’t long before a power struggle developed and his cult was overtaken by another group. The second story deals with a violent crime. Another man, from the same mountain region as Mike, got married. The marriage didn’t last long because she was unfaithful to him. She finally left the area and moved back home to live with her daddy. After about 4 months her husband come after her. When he arrived at her daddy’s house he was welcomed. In fact they partied for a few days but he left late one afternoon with his wife and headed back home. As night fell they pulled off the highway into a rest area to spend the night. Later on a good old boy got off work and on his way home he saw them and pulled in to help. He asked them where they were from and where they were headed? He told them to come stay at his place because it wasn’t safe there. They agreed but as it turned out a mob surrounded this good Samaritan’s house. And to make a long story short they got a hold of this man’s wife and brutally raped her and then killed her. Now what do these two stories have in common? Well the news source is not Savannah Morning News or Atlanta Constitution. These true stories are found in Judges 17-19. And I tell you of these two events because this is the time Samuel lived. He grew up in the time when everyone did as they pleased. And the problem is there was no authority. People became their own authority. Therefore, I Sam. 3:1 says the Word of God was rare in those days. The KJV word "precious" in the Hebrew is "yaqar". It means rare. There were no open visions/revelations. And even when there were some revelations, they were not adequately explained to the people. This was a day in age of religious hypocrisy, moral relativism, and extreme materialism. Rather than follow the law of God, man had become a law unto himself. Sounds a lot like today, doesn’t it? Man has become his own authority. We don’t call it sin anymore. It’s a problem or a mental disorder or inappropriate actions. Brother call it what it is; it is sin!!!
And what Israel did in ch.4 was to hide behind the ark. They trusted in the outward sign, the ark of the covenant. They figured, hey it worked in crossing the Jordan River and it worked at Jericho, so it’ll work again. Wrong! You don’t put your faith in the symbol, you place your faith in God.
[Illus.—Story of a girl Fred Johnson saw with cross around her neck. He asked her was she a Christian or Catholic? Her reply was "Neither." ]