“Samuel said to the people of Israel, "If you are going to turn to the LORD with all your hearts, you must get rid of all the foreign gods and the images of the goddess Astarte. Dedicate yourselves completely to the LORD and worship only him, and he will rescue you from the power of the Philistines." ~ 1 Samuel 7:3 (Good News Bible)
Father I pray that You make this message relevant to me, to the point where it seems like You are speaking directly to me. Father, forgive me for any sins and Holy Spirit show me what to do to get back on track with You in Jesus Name. Amen.
To make a long story short, the Children of Israel went to war with the Philistines, with God they should have won, but they were beginning to lose so they figured if they brought out the Ark of God, they would win, but the reverse happened; they lost the Ark of God. The Children of Israel had lost the presence of God (Ark of God) and began to face defeat from their enemies the Philistines. They were a strong army, but their strength was not in the size of the army it was in the Lord. But there were problems, the ark was gone and people were dying, what they should have defeated was defeating them. They were being destroyed, it wasn’t a pretty sight. The Philistines were being plagued by God with tumors because the Ark of the Lord. God will fight your battles. They placed the Ark of God in a place where they worshipped their false God and every time they checked, the Dagon their god, kept falling instead of the Ark of God. Finally Dagon the false god fell to the point where it wasn’t even a god it was just torn up and “rubbish.” They realized “we gotta get this Ark of God out of here” and they ended up sending it back with the help of some animals.
What can we learn through this passage of scripture? God speaks through defeat. The Children of Israel should have never lost the Ark, perhaps never even brought it out but they did and they were defeated even with the Ark of God being in the middle of the battle. There was a huge problem and Samuel called them out about it. Israel was worshiping false gods. They are called “idols.” Idols are things we place above God in our hearts and those idols make us vulnerable to attack, weaken our spiritual strength and kill our devotion to God which ultimately leads to defeat. So what are your idols? It’s easy to look at others, but what are yours? Idols can be sins or good things that we have just devoted ourselves too way too much. Idolatry is still real, but it’s rarely talked about. Samuel said if you put them away and serve God again with your whole heart you will see deliverance and victory.
Idols can be pornography, lust, sex before marriage, worldly music, too much time on the internet, too much time in Church (but not with Jesus), busy doing the work of God but never being with the God of the work, un-forgiveness, pride, thinking you are better than someone else, jealousy and numerous other things. If you are reading this chances are God has already shown you what He wants you to stop putting so much devotion to or get rid of all together. The real truth is God speaks always, maybe not in the ways we want, but He still speaks and defeat is one of the toughest ways He speaks, but it is also a good thing to know that if we start to follow the command to serve the Lord (be in His presence, seek Him, pray to Him and not get caught up in the worlds stuff) we will have victory over drugs, alcohol, lying, sex, pornography. The things that once held us captive will fall just like Dagon the false god fell when the Ark of the Covenant was in the Philistines possession. It’s a choice, but it’s a worthy one. You can’t do them all at once, but you can progress daily towards getting rid of idols and watch the chains slip right off of you personally and one day you’ll look back and say “thank God You spoke through defeat.”
“But no weapon will be able to hurt you; you will have an answer for all who accuse you. I will defend my servants and give them victory." The LORD has spoken.” ~ Isaiah 54:17 (Good News Bible)
“Any battle for victory, power, and deliverance - from ourselves and from sin - which is not based constantly upon the gazing and the beholding of the Lord Jesus, with the heart and life lifted up to Him, is doomed to failure” - Alan Redpath
Father in Jesus Name, I come to You in forgiveness and humility of heart. Lord, I’ve been defeated by what I once overcame or should have already overcome. Lord, I acknowledge my idolatry. I have idols in my heart and life, some can be sinful and some can be good things but just taken to the extreme. Lord, help me to overcome my idols and be back in right relationship with You. Lord, step by step help me and Lord, bring victory in those areas where I was once defeated in Jesus Name. Amen.