1 Samuel 6:5 “You shall make likenesses of your tumors and likenesses of your mice that ravage the land, and you shall give glory to the God of Israel; perhaps He will ease His hand from you, your gods, and your land.”

Observation: The Philistines had conquered Israel months earlier, and had taken the ark of the Lord. But everywhere they tried to store it experienced judgments of God. Plagues broke out, statues of their pagan gods fell over and broke apart; they were desperate to get this “thing” that contained the manifest presence of God, out of their midst. So, they did what came naturally; they consulted pagan priests.

Application: The Philistines had no previous first-hand experience of the power of God except for the occasional defeat in battle. They had heard about Him, about how He supernaturally brought the Israelites out of Egypt, fed them in the wilderness, parted the Red Sea, and so on, but until they took the ark, their understanding had been largely hearsay.

But now, He was pouring all ‘round evidence of His power and might, and the unbelievers had a choice to make. It seems not to have occurred to them that one option was for them to fall to their knees in repentance before the one true God, yet we know that every man and woman does indeed have that option.

I have no doubt that at the end of the age when we stand before God to receive His perfect justice, God will remind these who opposed Him that they had every opportunity to repent, to turn from their sins, and yet chose not to. Rather than bow before their Creator, they turned to their pagan priests for help.

How like me. I have spent years cultivating beliefs of my own devising, and my natural tendency is to turn to the familiar in time of crises. Though the familiar may not be life-giving, its very familiarity prevents me from recognizing its counterfeit comfort. It takes an act of tremendous courage to turn from the familiar and to embrace instead the promises of God.  But He is worthy, and He is jealously working in my heart to stir me to the proper choice.

Prayer: Father, Your deliverance is in plain sight. Your comfort is complete.  Cause me to turn from my familiar patterns and habits and relationships, and to run instead into Your welcoming arms. For only in You is there life everlasting.