So Samuel said to all the Israelites, “If you are returning to the Lord with all of your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” So the Israelites put away their Baals and Ashtoreths, and served the Lord only. – 1 Samuel 7:3-4
In the chapters leading up to this verse, the Bible says in 1 Samuel 4, the ark of the Lord’s covenant had been captured by the Philistines. The Philistines put the ark in Dagon’s temple in Ashdod, and Dagon, a statue idol, fell on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord, and his head and hands had been broken off as well (1 Samuel 5:1-5). As a result, the people of Ashdod knew the hand of the God of Israel was heavy on them and moved the ark to Gath and afterwards to Ekron. The Bible says the hand of the God of Israel was against all the people of these Philistine cities and many people were afflicted with tumors or died. The same thing happened in Gath and Ekron. After 7 months, the Philistine priests and diviners advised the Philistines to return the ark of the covenant.
When the Israelites received the ark of the covenant back they turned back to the Lord, or repented. The ark of the covenant stayed in Kiriath Jearim for 20 years. Because of the Israelites’ repentance and rededication of their hearts to serving the Lord only, the Lord helped the Israelites and routed and defeated the Philistines who had come to attack them.
In the Old Testament, the ark of the covenant represents the Presence of God. Before Jesus died on the cross, the Holy Spirit or Presence of God didn’t come into the hearts of believers. Today Christians are constantly in the Presence of God with the Holy Spirit living in their hearts as stated in 2 Corinthians 1:22, “He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”
Furthermore in 2 Timothy 1:14 Paul said we are to guard this deposit, “Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.”
- Are you a Christian and are you guarding this good deposit?
Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 6:16, “What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” “
In this verse, Paul is saying that those who are in Christ—true Christian believers—are now God’s temple on earth. His Spirit occupies every believer in Jesus. With that understanding, Paul is saying here that any believer who participates in the worship of an idol is guilty of betraying God in the same way as a Jewish person worshiping an idol in the Jewish temple. In the context of this chapter, Paul is commanding the Corinthians church not to yoke themselves to unbelievers since Christ can have nothing to do with Satan or darkness. God lives in them through the Holy Spirit, so they must separate from everything that is opposed to God. This applies to us today.
Friend, as true Christian believers, we are to evaluate our hearts often if there may be any idols in our hearts. Jesus wants all of our hearts. Idols can be statues of gods worshiped like Dagon, ancestral gods in a religion practiced by Hmong called animism, or Buddha. Idols can also represent things that take our time and attention from giving our entire heart to the Lord Jesus. If we find areas in our life that are out of focus, I pray that the Holy Spirit will help us to worship the Lord Jesus alone. Amen.
How to have a relationship with Jesus:
The Bible says in Romans 10:9, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” If you would like to have a relationship with Jesus, you can pray this prayer below, and make sure you get connected to a Bible-based church to help you walk out and grow in your relationship with Jesus. May God richly bless you!
Prayer to Receive Jesus:
Dear Lord Jesus, I believe in my heart that you died on the cross for my sins and rose on the third day. Thank you for your cross. Please forgive me for my sins. I repent or turn away from my sins and receive you Jesus as my God, Lord and Savior of my life. Jesus I invite you to come into my heart. Help me Holy Spirit to know Jesus more and help me to live my life for Jesus. In Jesus’ mighty Name I pray, Amen.
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