Israel had been going their own way for awhile. The Philistines had captured the Ark of the Covenant and had recently returned it to the Israelites. Interesting story there…boils sores and misery, read about it in I Samuel 5 and 6. Seems no one wanted to keep it because it brought trouble to the Philistines no matter which town it went to. The Philistines sent it back and it was kept at Abinadab’s house and his son Eleazar was consecrated to guard the Ark.
Fast forward to chapter 7. Twenty years later, the people of Israel mourned and sought after the Lord. That is when Samuel sacrificed and sought the Lord for the people.
“And Samuel said to the whole house of Israel, ‘If you are returning to the Lord with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the LORD and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.'”
Samuel did, they did, and the Lord did. Of course, not much later, the Israelites were falling away from the Lord’s will again. Much like you and me.
What struck me about this story, as I read it this morning, was it’s application to us, His people today. I found myself asking myself if I truly am seeking God with my whole heart. Am I committed to the Lord and serving Him only? Sadly, I can think of times even today when I not only was acting in the flesh but justifying myself as well. It’s that old pointing the finger thing that started with Adam and Eve. Does it justify my sinful feelings and thoughts? No. Alas, I’m not judged by how someone else is treating me but by how I respond. Today, the verdict is guilty.
Thankfully, I’ve got someone else who served my sentence before I even committed the sin, before I was born. His name is Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah that Jewish people looked forward to for so many years. Because of Jesus, I now have a new verdict– not guilty. He took my guilt and was crucified and resurrected. He paid the price for me. I only need look to Him and faith and believe. I need to return and commit, repeatedly if need be.
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word has no place in our lives.” 1 John 1:8-10
I think I need to spend a bit of time in prayer now. What about you?
Thankful for the Sacrifice that Changed my Verdict