Read 1 Samuel 7:2-17
Return to the Lord
The sons of Eli have died in battle. The enemies of Israel have captured the ark of the Lord. When Eli is told about the Philistines’ victory, he fell over and died. For seven months, the ark was in a foreign land, and that foreign land suffered because the ark should not have been there, so the Philistines brought the ark back to Israel.
Still, the people of Israel were unable to find contentment. They were not at ease. “And all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD” (1 Samuel 7:2). How could they be at peace within themselves again? Samuel had the answer.
“If you return to the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths from among you, and prepare your hearts for the LORD, and serve Him only; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines” (1 Samuel 7:3).
It seems so simple, yet for many today the draw of modern-day Ashtoreths is too strong. We cannot seem to give up our service to other gods—be it work, money, relationships, or hobbies. When we try to divide our allegiance among so many things and fail to prioritize God, we miss out on so much. Not only should God be at the very top of our list of priorities, He should be in everything on that list.
Do you want to be happy? Do you want to be content? Do you want to be at peace? Return to God with all your heart. A part of it is not enough. “‘And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment” (Mark 12:30).
Put away the things that are keeping you from God. Make sure He is your focus and that everything you do is influenced by Him. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
Prepare your hearts for the Lord, and serve Him only. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15).
He will deliver you from the bondage of sin. “And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6:18).