Remember Jericho, the fortress city Israel battled as they began to take possession of the Promised Land. “And the walls came a’tumblin’ down,” so goes the song. Israel’s faith in God is reflected in the fearful cries of her enemy, “Our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath” (Joshua 2:11).
As the books of Samuel begin, something is different; something changed. Israel was no longer following their God, they were carrying him, “Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord here from Shiloh, that it may come among us and save us from the power of our enemies” (1Samuel 4:3). God had become an “it,” an object. Something akin to a rabbit’s foot. When the Philistines learned that the ark of the Lord had come to the camp, they were afraid, for they said, “A god has come into the camp.” And they said, “Woe to us! Who can deliver us from the power of these mighty gods?” (1Samuel 4:6-8). A god? These mighty gods? The Philistines were not terrified of a people possessed by the great and mighty Creator of the heavens and the earth, as Jericho feared. Rather, the Philistines feared an enchanted lucky-charm god in the possession of Israel.
Israel’s once powerful faith in their Almighty God had become little more than bumper-sticker superstition, no more than a slogan. God will be no lucky charm, and Israel was defeated by the Philistines.
“In God We Trust” may be printed on our coins, but it is more vital that it be etched upon our hearts.
Awesome God, mighty Creator, I worship You and give myself fully to Your possession. You bought me with a price, the blood of my Savior, Your Son, Jesus Christ. I am a temple of Your Holy Spirit. God, my faith must be seen in more than a cross around my neck, a fish on my car. It must be evident in my life, my actions, my speech, my walk.
God, teach me to walk in Your ways, to obey Your commandments, to follow Your path which leads to life, a wonderful, abundant, overflowing life. I love You with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. You are my all, and all I am is Yours.