Friday, May 20, 2011

Rejecting God

When the people of God in 1 Samuel 8 demanded for a king to judge them and to go out before them to fight their battles like all the nations, God told prophet Samuel that, "they have rejected Me." These must have been words uttered from a grieved heart. The people whom I have delivered from the hands of the Egyptian opressors and whom I have shown My love through mighty signs and wonders are now forsaking Me and demanding for a king to rule over them. For a child of God who has experienced and tasted the goodness of the Most High God it would not be probable for him or her to wake up one morning and decide to reject God. Let us consider the early chapters in 1 Samuel and trace the decline of the spiritual state of God's people leading to their demand for a human king.

The birth of a new generation and judgement upon the priesthood
The first three chapters of Samuel introduce us to the background circumstances leading to the birth of Samuel and God's purpose for the hour. It was a time in the history of Israel where God was ushering in a new season of His prophetic voice and judgment through His chosen vessel. And the birth of His chosen vessel would not happen until God has first found a willing mother who was desperate enough to have a son to the extent she would offer the son back to the Lord. In the mysterious inter-weavings of circumstances through personal and family crises and the triumph of God's faithfulness, Samuel was born. At the same time, the birth of Samuel marked the beginning of God's judgment upon the priesthood of Eli and his wicked sons.

In the times and seasons we are living today, we are also witnessing that the Lord is raising up a new generation of faithful priesthood who shall do according to what is in His heart and in His mind. But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). Through trying and difficult circumstances, the eyes of the Lord are seeking mothers (His bride) who are both desperate for a son and yet willing to offer the son back to the Lord as His channel of His glorious purpose and destiny. True to His words, judgment is also beginning in His house where the beginning of the end has come upon His servants who have brought abomination to His Name.

The Ark of God captured and the departure of His Glory
The capture of the ark of God (the symbol of the Presence of God) by the Philistines marked the dawn of the dark ages of His people. In fact, His people had lost the Presence of God before the ark was captured. Many today are not aware that the churches have lost the Presence of God and yet the show must go on week after week. When they have first lost their battle in 1 Samuel 4, they thought that by having the ark of God in their camp would work like a lucky charm that would ensure them victory and success. To them, God was "used" in hope for victory in their battle.

There was loud shouting until the earth shook but this was not a sign of God's Presence in their midst. What a sad state of deception to be in believing that God can be "used" by us at our whims and fancies to achieve our selfish purposes. The Presence of God has left and we know it not. There can still be a lot of shouting in churches today but it may not necessarily mean God is in the shouting. Sadly, many churches today have become entertainment centres instead of a place to worship a holy and awesome God. How can one places his attention and focus on God when the large screens are capturing video feeds of the singers and musicians? Praise and worship have become semblence of secular music concerts?! As much as God has blessed churches with audio-visual technologies and talents, are they drawing people nearer to God or away from God? Phinehas' wife (Eli's daughter in law) gave birth to Ichabod whilst Hannah gave birth to Samuel. Samuel's name depicts the testimony of a God who has heard the cry of Hannah whilst Ichabod speaks of the departure of God's glory from Israel. Tragically, Phinehas' wife died after giving birth to Ichabod just as she also learnt of Eli and Phinenas' deaths.

Rejecting God
After the ark had travelled through a few destinations, we read in 1 Samuel 7:2, "So it was that the ark remained in Kirjath Jearim a long time; it was there twenty years. And all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD". Yes, the house of Israel longed for the Presence of God but they did nothing to bring back the Glory of God to their midst. Despite Samuel leading the people into a mini-revival in 1 Samuel 7, it had not brought a lasting change in their hearts. When they were again faced with Samuel's sons who did not walk in the ways of the Lord, their hearts were not turned towards God and to bring back His glory to their midst but instead, they demanded for a king just like every one else. (It would take a man after God's heart - Israel's second and finest king to bring back the ark of God)

Where do we stand today? Are we also guilty of rejecting God in our lives? Perhaps some of us are aware of the declining state of the churches around us. There may be even those who realized that the Presence of God is not in some of the churches anymore. What is our response today? The truth must be stated - the answer does not lie in political parties or governments. God is the answer. There is no denying that as salt and light, we uphold the principles of truth, righteousness and justice and be responsible citizens in every manner possible wherever God has placed us. However, we are not to forget that we are also citizens of heaven. Rather than being conveniently caught in the ways of the world like the Israelites did - demanding for a king - let us seek the Lord and Him alone. Many today are caught up in the danger of being too distracted by socio-economic and socio-political concerns around them. But, do we take time to be still and listen to what God would say to us in these precarious times? Is this also not the kairos time and season for the kingdom of God? Will you join me to cry out to God to bring back His Glory and Presence to our midst again? Will you not revive us again that your people may rejoice in You?
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