“So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and they fled, every man to his home. And there was a very great slaughter, for thirty thousand foot soldiers of Israel fell. 11 And the ark of God was captured, and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died.”
Going up against all the odds makes a great movie, an exciting sporting event, or a plot for a great read in a book. But when the insurmountable obstacles start stacking themselves up against our own personal lives, it feels different. The weight of each obstacle pulls at our forward progress and keeps us from being who God wants us to be and doing what God asks us to do.
Many times in the Old Testament history of the nation of Israel, God’s power overcomes the impossible for His chosen people. Individuals also experienced God’s power delivering them from destruction. Numbers of soldiers, their sophisticated weapons and horses, and even the geography of the land couldn’t stop the plan of God and his mighty hand. Even though Israel lost the ark and 30,000 men, God still has a plan: a purpose and opportunity for His people. He is still with them, still cares for them, and still acts on their behalf.
There are only two ways to respond to this world: to the externals, which are visible and concrete, or to the internals, the unseen and invisible. What externals are keeping you from following diligently after God? Is it a person, place or object? Materialistic or pleasure filled goals? There is a constant battle between our outer physical self and our inner man. God feels very strongly about the externals ruling and controlling our lives. The big picture of all of Scripture is the passion of God to restore man’s heart to himself, and to worship him only. God sees the heart of every man and everything in it. As an example, in 1 Sam. 14, Jonathan climbed up rocky crags, with only his armor bearer to fight an army, – two with faith, against hundreds and God gave them victory. External circumstances didn’t stop him, his heart of faith was rewarded. How we respond is critical. Pray that nothing would keep you from wholeheartedly following after God. We all face giant Philistines, huge mountains of pressures, and difficult circumstances. God has a plan for you, a purpose and opportunity, he is with you and he cares for you. He has made a way, a way through Christ dying on the cross and the transformation of your heart by the forgiveness of your sins.
By Donna Burns