Then Samuel said to all the house of Israel, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, remove the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth (pagan goddesses) from among you and direct your hearts to the Lord and serve Him only; and He will rescue you from the hand of the Philistines.” So the Israelites removed the Baals and the Ashtaroth and served the Lord alone. – 1 Samuel 7:3-4
“…God is spirit [the Source of life, yet invisible to mankind], and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” – John 4:24
We ‘serve the Lord’ when we keep our focus on, and faith in, our spiritual purpose. We create problems when we allow other things to distract us. We are free to enjoy this human experience—indeed, we can’t carry out our spiritual purpose otherwise—but only when we maintain our spiritual priority.
The Lord who must reveal Himself to us for in our sin we are not spiritually discerned.
We thank You for the gift of Scripture. We thank You for the Bible. We thank You for all of its parts. Thank You for books of history and books of poetry, and books called Gospel; and every part of it, every word of it, every jot and tittle of it to the least stroke of a pen is the product of Your out-breathing, and so infallible, inerrant. Father, we pray for the help of Your Spirit, the illumination of Your Spirit. This is all to no effect, no ultimate effect, no life-transforming effect, unless by Your Spirit You come and pour Your light into our darkened minds and hearts. – First Presbyterian Church
God’s people always lose when they blend themselves with the world. Jesus Christ came into this world to seek and to save that which was lost. He came as the Great Physician, came to bring spiritual health to those who were sickened by sin and enslaved to Satan. But our Lord never compromised His righteousness to reach the world. He never allowed Satan to steal what was rightfully His. Unlike our foreparents – Adam and Eve – Jesus never debated with the Evil One nor with his henchmen the Pharisees. Jesus used the written Word of God each time He was attacked – “it is written” – and He never allowed Himself to be lowered to their evil ways.
Twenty years of spiritual depression – the issue is the attitude of the heart. You cannot connect with God with a divided heart. Israel wanted God, yet they wanted their idol gods on the side as well. It is easy for us to be judgmental towards Israel for this, but we are often like Israel. When God doesn’t do what we want Him to do, we are often prone to turn to other sources to get what we want. In other words, the issue is not the location of the ark; the issue is the attitude of the heart. The reality is, you cannot connect with God with a divided heart.