每日诗歌: 靈裡生活 (http://www.mbcsfv.org/chinese/library/hymncampanions/044.html)
1 Samuel 7 [Read]
1 Samuel 8 [Read]
1 Samuel 9 [Read]
Luke 13:1-21 [Read]
What does it take for a strayed nation to return to God? After a journey through the Philistine country, the Ark came back to Kiriath Jearim (7:1). But it took another 20 years before things began to happen.
First, the people of Israel “mourned and sought after the LORD” (7:2). The Hebrew word for “mourned and sought” actually meant wailing (Mic 2:4). It was a desperate cry for help. Although the Bible said little about those 20 years, it is reasonable to assume that the Israelites were harshly oppressed by Philistines during those years. As a result, people of Israel were wailing out of desperation. Only then the renewal of their hearts began.
Second, they needed to get rid of all the idols and pagan gods and “commit yourselves to the LORD and serve him only” (7:3). Returning always means turning away from the old ways, sinful practices that were unpleasing to God, and commits oneself completely to God. Without full commitment, there shall be no salvation.
Third, they needed to come before the LORD in Mizpah (7:6). Appropriately, Mizpah means watchtower. It was a place where the LORD watched over his people, and the repentant people needed to come before him and listened to his words of judgments (7:6).
Finally, they needed to pray, crying out to the LORD (7:8). That was a great turnaround from what they did before. Over 20 years ago, the Israelites tried to manipulate God. Instead of crying out to the LORD, they took the Ark to the frontline to try to coerce God into fighting the battles for them. The scheme failed miserably. This time they listened to the servant of the LORD and prayed, and the result was totally different. The LORD delivered them from the Philistines (7:10), and they recovered many lost towns as the LORD drove out the enemies for them (7:14).
What does it take for a strayed person to return to God? It takes tears, lots of them, so he may know that he has offended the Lord. It takes commitment and action to show the sincerity of his repentance. It takes humility to come before the Lord and to listen to his words. Finally, it takes prayer from the bottom of his heart. When a person does all that, then the Lord shall fight the battles for him. And he shall be victorious. May that be a lesson for all of us today.
Keep on reading,