Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
1 Samuel 7:1-5
Throughout its illustrious history, the nation of Israel has been no stranger to conflict – external or internal. Conflict is seen as a literary device in works of literature as well as non-fictional works. Literary devices, such as conflict, play a crucial role in helping the reader to grasp deeper meanings expressed in the text.
In the book of 1st Samuel Chapter 7, Israel finds herself in the midst of conflict. On one hand, the Israelites have managed to recover the ark of the Lord from the Philistines. The ark of the Lord also referred to as the ark of the Covenant represents the presence of the Lord. As they wandered through the wilderness in search of the Promised Land, the Israelites carried the ark of the Lord dutifully. In a sense, the ark was meant to serve as a reminder to God’s people that He is with them wherever they go. However, the presence of the Lord does not equate to the absence of conflict. Verse 2 mentions how Israel “lamented after the Lord.” Why is this the case? The Israelites have tasted victory over the Philistines and retrieved the ark of the Lord, but they are not at peace whatsoever. There is an internal conflict at work here, and its roots run deep.
The prophet Samuel then reveals the root of Israel’s woes – idolatry. The priorities of the house of Israel were clearly not in order. Despite repeated deliverance from their mighty foes, God’s chosen people ran into the same sins that plagued generation after generation. As a matter of fact, the body of Christ still struggles with this in the modern-day. We so often turn our backs to our loving Creator in the pursuit of idols or “Baals” (1 Samuel 7:4 NKJV). Such a reality may not be so readily apparent to us at first. Just as God used Samuel to remind Israel to repent and return to the straight and narrow path, God reminds us and gives us chance after chance to see the error in our ways. When we look at the story of Israel, we can appreciate how the conflict Israel faced served a greater purpose. God’s people needed to see clearly how futile they were when they rebelled. This same truth can be applied to our lives. Much of the grief we experience occurs due to our reluctance to turn completely to our Lord. The God we serve uses His Word to remind us that when we turn to Him, He promises to fight our battles alongside us.
Father God, we thank you for your lovingkindness which knows no limits for your people. Lord, as we live out our spiritual walk, allow us to see that which would lead us astray from you. Extract every idol that has no place in our lives. You are the One who guides our every footstep. When we fix our gaze upon You, we know that we will not slip or fall. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen
Thought for the Day
If we turn from our sin and look unto the Lord Jesus Christ, then we are promised to experience deliverance from our conflicts in the same way Israel did.
Epiphany Mar Thoma Church, New York