The Israelites were in trouble again. They had just lost 4,000 soldiers in a battle with the Philistines (1 Sam. 4:2). They desperately needed God’s help, so they devised a plan they hoped would secure His blessing. They took the Ark of the Covenant, a symbol of God’s presence, into the next battle, believing it would save them from the hand of their enemies. It didn’t. They lost the battle and the Ark (1 Sam. 4). They put their hope in an object and not God Himself. It reminds me of my own propensity to rely too much on my own abilities and the resources at my disposal. God obviously wants us to use what He has given us; yet, to do so dependent on His guidance and strength.
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According to Hebrews 12:1, we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses – those who have gone before and who demonstrated a strong faith in God. The passage seems to refer directly to the heroes of the faith mentioned in the previous chapter. However, we could probably add other names to the list – godly role models who have impacted us throughout our lifetime. Their lives serve as a witness to God’s faithfulness. As we listen to their witness and alter our lives accordingly, we stand on their shoulders. We become their lasting legacy. In the same way, as we live faithful lives, we develop strong shoulders upon which others can stand.
Note: You can listen to a sermon I preached at South Langley Church on this topic (go to sermon).
As a teacher, parent, mentor and leader, I rely heavily on my words. I want them to be impactful – not to fall flat. In 1 Samuel 3:19, we see how Samuel’s words had power. “The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground.” Because of the Lord’s presence and blessing, Samuel’s words had a life of their own. As we draw close to God, our thoughts and words will increasingly reflect the heart of God. As God speaks through us, our words will have authority and staying power, something we need if we seek to influence others in soul-shaping ways.