Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
1 Samuel 4:3 (NIV)
When the soldiers returned to camp, the elders of Israel asked, “Why did the Lord bring defeat on us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the Lord’s covenant from Shiloh, so that he may go with us and save us from the hand of our enemies.”
1 Samuel 4:3 (MSG)
When the troops returned to camp, Israel’s elders said, “Why has God given us such a beating today by the Philistines? Let’s go to Shiloh and get the Chest of God’s Covenant. It will accompany us and save us from the grip of our enemies.”
“When the people (soldiers) came into the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord here from Shiloh, so that He may come among us and save us from the hand of our enemies.” -AMPLIFIED
Yesterday we addressed the strained situation between Israel and Philista. We made note of the sound defeat that they received in the first battle, “The Philistines lined up against Israel; and when they advanced, they defeated Israel, killing about 4,000 of Israel’s warriors on the battlefield.” -1 Samuel 4:2 (VOICE)
The reaction of the soldiers to this defeat is interesting because though the people were not serving God; yet they expected Him to be on their side and bring them victory. The response to the defeat from even the leaders was one of surprise, bewilderment and astonishment. “Why has the Eternal One let us be defeated by the Philistines today?” -(VOICE)
Their remedy was not to turn to God and seek His forgiveness or direction; instead they turned to an object, a representation of Jehovah; believing that IF they took the ark of God into battle that IT would save them from their enemies. “Tomorrow, let us take His covenant chest from Shiloh and carry it before us into battle, so that the chest may be among us and save us from the power of the Philistines.” -(VOICE)
They were taking something that was an inanimate object, giving it magical powers and trusting that it would save them. That, my friend, is superstition and idolatry. Superstition is totally based on an ignorant faith placed in an object, instead of in God; which is idolatry.
We can see exactly how far the people had fallen away from their walk with The Most High by their response to the entrance of the Ark into the camp. They believed that this object, this representation of Jehovah, could save them. “So the people sent messengers to Shiloh and brought back the covenant chest of the Eternal One, Commander of heavenly armies, who is enthroned between the winged guardians. The two sons of Eli—Hophni and Phinehas—accompanied the covenant chest of the True God on its journey to the battlefront. When it entered the camp, the Israelites raised a shout so loud it seemed to shake the earth.” -1 Samuel 4:4-5 (VOICE)
The people of Israel were foolishly trusting in a superstition instead of the One, True God. This fallacy would become their downfall. They were so excited about their “certain win” because of the Ark. They failed to realize that the Spirit of God had left them because of their wickedness and sin.
“Instead of the performance of moral duties, humbling themselves deeply for and purging themselves speedily and thoroughly from all their sins, for which God was displeased with them, and now had chastised them, they take an easier and cheaper course, and put their trust in their ceremonial observances, not doubting but the very presence of the ark would give them the victory; and therefore it is no wonder they meet with so sad a disappointment.” -Matthew Poole’s English Annotations on the Holy Bible
The Apostle Paul urged Timothy to stay away from superstitions. “But have nothing to do with irreverent folklore and silly myths. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness [keeping yourself spiritually fit]. -1 Timothy 4:7 (AMP)
Paul also told the Colossians, “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception [pseudo-intellectual babble], according to the tradition [and musings] of mere men, following the [a]elementary principles of this world, rather than following [the truth—the teachings of] Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity (the Godhead) dwells in bodily form [completely expressing the divine essence of God]. And in Him you have been made complete [achieving spiritual stature through Christ], and He is the head over all rule and authority [of every angelic and earthly power].” -Colossians 2:8-10 (AMP)
Do not trust in an object, but in the Most High God, the Omnipotent One. This is where Israel failed and this is why they will be soundly defeated. Sadly, in the process they will drag God’s Name and reputation through the mud. May we too be careful to keep our eyes focused on God and our relationship with Him strong. WE have no room for foolish superstitions in our walk with God. Stay true to Him!
Lord, may my heart always stay true to you. I do not want to fall into foolish superstitious practices; which I realize are a form of idolatry. Help me to pursue godliness; keeping myself spiritually fit for service to you. Let me not focus on the objects, but on the Omnipotent One. Lord, I am trusting in you and nothing else! Be number one in my life!