Inspirational Thought of the Day:
Trusting in religion or religious relics are not a substitute for a vibrant relationship with God. If we want God to go with us, we have to go with God.
Scriptures of the Day:
1 Samuel 4:3
“When the army came back to the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why did the LORD let us be defeated today by the Philistines? Let’s take with us the ark of the covenant of the LORD from Shiloh. When it is with us, it will save us from the hand of our enemies.”
Back in middle school I went through a very challenging time. Sexual abuse, multiple divorces and moves rocked my home and I was looking for answers. Some friends introduced me to the occult, including games like “bloody Mary” and levitation games while another gave me a picture of a European-looking Jesus in a frame.
I began to experience supernatural things that were not Holy and realized I was getting into trouble. I did not know God, but I wanted to. As I grasped the picture of Jesus, I asked Him to protect me. Somehow I felt safer with the picture, but looking back now I know the picture did not do anything – it was a tender heart crying out to God that made the difference.
It makes me sad when I see people clutching icons or relics thinking that they bring life or comfort. They can serve as a symbol reminding us of God, but they can also become an obstacle and idolatry. They cannot save. Only God can.
The Israelites were befuddled that the LORD had allowed them to fail. They were on the right “team”. How could God forsake them? Or was it the other way around?
The slow creep to religiosity is barely perceivable, but it happens, nonetheless. Slowly we begin to get comfortable and instead of crying out we just expect God to favor us because we are the King’s kids. Trouble is, the kids begin to compromise and forget that they need to be under His Lordship to receive the promised blessings.
Instead of crying out to God, the Israelites thought the ark could save them. The presence of the LORD was there, and they wanted that insurance. They reduced the presence of God to a good luck charm. The end result was their devastation. God cannot be manipulated and our disobedience does not require Him to still “pull through” for us. In His mercy, He will restore and forgive, but it is after we have learned what we needed to from our mistakes. As a loving Father, He could do nothing less.
Though sorrow may last for a night, joy will come in the morning. If we can somehow get into our hearts that the amazing unconditional love of God longs to comfort us, longs for us to be in relationship with Him. Substitutes just will not satisfy. Though part of His care is allowing us to learn from our errors, the redemptive plan of God is the other side. He will hear and answer when we cry out and He beautifully weaves together every aspect of our lives with Himself.
God wants to save us, but He longingly draws us to Himself; not a religion, not a picture or a statue – just Himself – and that is all we need.
Lord, thank You for Your mercy in opening my eyes to understand my sinful condition and need of You. How can it be? Please help us to run to You and no one or nothing on this earth.