This morning as I read 1 Samuel 4 I realised that God gives us His presence as a precious thing which we must guard and protect with all our heart because if we allow the enemy to steal it from us we will be in deep deep deep trouble.
There are a series of events taking place in this chapter but most significant is the act of the philistines stealing the ark of the covenant. The ark of the covenant represented the glory of God. The Israelites had it in their possession but the Philistines were able to come in and steal this from those who were guarding it.
The two sons of the high priest Eli, Hophni and Phineas were the ones guarding the ark. They were the ones charged with the great responsibility of carrying the precious presence of God. How do I know it is precious?
Without the presence of God there is no peace nor joy for in the presence of The Lord there is a fullness of joy. Psalm 16:11 says You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
The presence of God makes a difference, when it is not there all hell always breaks loose.
In Exodus 33:14 God says: And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
The presence of God always makes a positive difference. In Acts 3:21 it states that the presence of The Lord brings times of refreshing; That times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.
The scriptures therefore tell us that there is great value in the presence of The Lord. It is protection,it is glory, it is peace, it is revival and most importantly, it represents all that God is. The sad thing is that sometimes we can allow people to come into our lives and steal the presence of The Lord from us.
Here’s how things can go wrong: In the beginning of Samuel 1 we see that Eli’s sons who were priests in the temple sinned against God. Priests are leaders and are expected to be doing what is right in the sight of The Lord. This was not the case for Hophni and Phineas. They slept with the women at the altar of the temple and engaged in sinful acts before The Lord. Yet these were the ones who were charged with the responsibility of guarding The Ark of Covenant of The Lord. In other words, they were the ones who were responsible for guarding the glory/presence of The Lord.
In a similar fashion, we are the guards of the glory/presence/anointing of God but we fall into the trap of distraction. We allow sin, things, people, emotions, circumstances etc to cause us to lose focus and when we should be guarding and dwelling in the presence of God we are doing other things.
Our lives should represent the glory and presence of God so that when people see us, they see God in out character and ways. Our hearts are the guards of the glory of God but how often do we allow the enemy of our heart to creep in with hate, resentment, jealously and all the evil of the flesh? How often do allow the barriers/guards to be weakened with sin? We break down our guards and give strength to the enemy to come in and steal what belongs to us. The ark of The Lord belonged to Israel; They were His chosen people.
Hophni and Phineas were guards but I believe the fact that they were living in sin opened up their lives to the enemy. This sin weakened them and as a results of being weakened in the spirit, that could have been one of the reasons why the enemy, the Philistines, were able to steal the ark of the covenant from them. The ark was being carried priests who had blatantly forsaken The Lord. Eventually they were killed.
This represents exactly what takes place in our lives today. When the anointing should be flowing from us, nothing but the devil’s death is flowing. When we should be bringing transformation to lives, we bring condemnation. When we should be doing things for God sometimes we are doing nothing, but today is the day of change.
The Philistines were pagans, worshipping false gods. Yet the Israelites thought and acted just like pagans as well, thinking they could manipulate God and force Him into doing what they wanted Him to do. They didn’t trust in a God and the Presence that was in their possession, the way that they should have been. They did their own thing all the time. No wonder the Philistines had the victory over them.
Perhaps if the Israelites had humbled themselves in general, and prayed devoutly and fervently for success, they would have been heard and saved.
Today is our day of introspection. Who or what is the Philistine in your life?
What are you allowing in your life that is weakening you?
What sin are you allow to creep in that will steal the glory of God from you?
Don’t let the enemy steal the glory of God from you!
Don’t allow your spiritual life to be weakened
Don’t allow distraction to cause the glory of God to be departed from you. Stay focused I the things of The Lord and continue to guard the presence of God in your life
Today is our day of change!!!