As I read 1 Samuel 4, I am once again reminded that, for God's power and work to be seen in our lives, it depends on what type of carriers we are, for God's Presence. It matters who's carrying God's presence. The moment we accept Jesus to be the Lord of our lives, we know that we become a temple where God Himself dwells, to guide us, to help us live the life that we're called to live.
In 1 Samuel 4, I see the Israelites went to fight the Philistines, they took the ark of God with them. Eli's sons, the priests also went with them. They all rejoiced when the ark of God reached the battle field. However as I continued to read, I found that they lost the battle. How come? Everything was perfect. The ark of God was with them, the priests were there too. They were a pretty good number of people too, then how come they lost? More than that, even the Philistines were afraid when they heard that God had come to their camp.1 Samuel 4:7-9 records "Hearing the uproar, the Philistines asked, "What's all this shouting in the Hebrew camp?" When they learned that the ark of the LORD had come into the camp, 7 the Philistines were afraid. "A god has come into the camp," they said. "We're in trouble! Nothing like this has happened before. 8 Woe to us! Who will deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods? They are the gods who struck the Egyptians with all kinds of plagues in the desert ". The enemies of the Israelites knew, the power of the Israelites God, but they mustered up whatever strength they had and won. How can that be? How can they win against God's people?
Lessons I got from reading the above passage
- God's presence manifests itself in a life that is totally yielded to Him.- It is an awesome thing to be carriers of a Living God's presence. So, God looks for lives which are totally yielded, totally surrendered to be able to handle such power, such divinity, without arrogance, without being a snob, without being a controller of others, but with humility, with being a servant to be a leader kind of attitude, like Jesus. Israelites weren't totally and wholely serving God Almighty, they were also worshiping bal and the other gods. Sometimes in our life too, we would serve God, but we may also have someone in our family, who we depend upon solely sometimes more than God
- God's power is not for manipulating situations to one's favour, but to yield for the maximum benefit of ALL- In the process of this, it may not bring benefits solely to the person through whom the power is manifested, but for the benefit of people around. The Israelites, had not bothered obeying God all this while as we find in 1 Samuel 7, but they now needed God, to win a battle, not because they wanted God to guide them into it. We too do that sometimes, don't we? When we give all of our time and energy somewhere else, other than God and then suddenly when things turn wild, we run to God for help, how can we avoid the trouble at the last minute? Why not stay on top of everything by getting God right in front before us and follow after Him, every day?
- Above all it matters, who is carrying God's presence-It is not enough that one is a christian, if we really want to be a blessing, we've got to be more than a christian, we've got to be obedient children of God. Samuel's life was given or surrendered to God even before he was born, and because Samuel's mom was so diligent in following God, it was so easy for God to just come down and talk to Samuel, point blank(1 Samuel 3). How yielded are we to hear God's voice?
- When we work according to God's plan for our lives, we can see God's presence working on our behalf, for God's perfect will- In this battle(1 Samuel 4), the Israelites lost, however they realised their mistake in a period of 20yrs, that they had been in disobedience to God and followed other gods besides the Living Lord God, and when they turned from their wicked ways, they won the battle against Philistines in 1 Samuel 7. Now on another instance, in Samuel's life we see an amazing testimony from the Bible, 1 Samuel 3:19-21 records " 19 The LORD was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground. 20 And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the LORD. 21 The LORD continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word.". So when Samuel interceded for the people, God helped the Israelites win the battle.
Conclusion: God would love to get connected to His people, but He would need the right wiring system for it. We are His cables, we are the people who can show to this lost world, what we have in Jesus Christ. If we ourselves are living a life of defeat, like the Israelites, how can we be of any help to someone else? We are the vessels, which can shine out for our Living Lord, and show to them, how great and mighty and loving our Lord is. But that cannot happen, until we are yielded, like Samuel, totally and completely following God's plan for our lives. Hey, I miss out on this a lot of times. I am myself, learning to be a good vessel, a vessel which is able to carry God's presence without any flaw, I am being made ready for God, to help people around me through me. May our Lord delight in His children who are completely yielded to Him, so He can show to others, what an awesome Friend and Blessing He is.