Scripture: And Samuel said to the whole house of Israel, "If you are returning to the LORD with all 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."
When they had assembled at Mizpah, they drew water and poured it out before the Lord. On that day they fasted and there they confessed, "We have sinned against the Lord." And Samuel was leader of Israel at Mizpah.
-- 1 Samuel 7:3, 6
Observation: The ark of the Lord had been taken to Kiriath Jearim after being in Philistine territory, and even twenty years later, the people of Israel were seeking God.
Application: I think we’ve all heard sermons like this before, ones that state that we need to cast away our idols and focus wholly on God. But…when you look at America today, especially with the upcoming election, how can you not see how bad our country has gone morally?
Our pastor spoke yesterday of how his heart aches for our community. Our church is very large (I think the largest in our city, actually), yet we only baptized twelve people last year. And he’s right in what he spoke on Sunday: we (I say “we” like there’s a rat in my pocket, ha) need to be more involved, need to take risks, need to speak out and invite people to visit. If this nation is going to change, it will have to be the Christians that come forward and speak out…but I’m afraid we’ve become too comfortable in our circles to venture out into the unknown (there I go using the “we” again).
Our pastor gave a quote in his sermon, one he found, but I can’t remember who said it: “If you want to see how popular you are as a preacher, see how many people come on Sunday night. If you want to see how popular God is, see how many people come on Wednesday nights.”
He brought the hammer down on us, and I am so grateful to have a pastor who isn’t afraid of offending people to speak God’s word.
Apparently his weekly “column” (that all of our members get) was not well-received by some parishioners. Apparently he had a few angry e-mails regarding it and heard through the grapevine that some of the members were not pleased with him.
And why? Because he said that feels we are too comfortable in our church and do not want to reach out to others.
And, frankly, if our large church only had twelve baptisms, he’s most likely correct.
We (and now I say “we” meaning our nation) need Christians who will stand up and devote themselves fully to God. We need to repent. We need to be delivered from those who stand against us.
And we need to bring the hammer down.
Prayer: God, I want to be more involved, I want to be bolder, and I want to learn more. I want our church to be able to bring more people to know You, and I want our pastor to continue to say what You have laid on his heart. Thank You so much for people like him and his wife, who are strong and devout and have no problem speaking the truth. Please strengthen and guide them and the rest of our church.