Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 5:1-7:17 (additional reading: Psalm 106:13-31 and Proverbs 14:32-33)

In the business world, the catchphrase is “thinking outside the box.” It is a challenge to go beyond the ordinary and do something extraordinary. It comes from the fact that many people and even churches are stuck in the box. Our focus has shifted from people to pews, from saving souls to larger Sunday assemblies. If we want to experience revival in the church, if we want this family of God to grow then we must let God out of the box and back into our lives before we suffocate the move.

Samuel and the Israelites had an experience similar to the one facing us today. The Israelites were fighting a war so their answer was, “Bring us God in a box (the ark – 1 Sam. 4:3).” By bringing in the ark they thought they had secured the presence of God. Their focus was on personal success and not on glorifying God.

There must be a reverence for God and the things of God (6:17-21) because all true revival begins with a deep sense of the holiness of God and a corresponding awareness of our own sinfulness and there must be a drawing to the Lord (7:2)

The Israelites’ answer brought them to defeat, not Victory. As long as our answer is to keep God in a box, it will also lead us to defeat. Relying on the box (a past move of God, a church growth formal, a life coach) will not fix our problems. We must truly rely on and trust in God.

When the Israelites repented, a stone was erected and the place was called “Ebenezer” which means “a stone of help” as a remembrance that the victory was totally from God. It was a reminder that God has helped them and us “this far” and would continue to help us if we would trust Him and keep His covenant.

Reflection

  • How do you limit God based on past experiences?
  • How can you remember your “Ebenezer”?

Prayer

Father, Thank You that You work in our lives. Help us not to limit You or to use You only to do or get what we want. Thank You that You are always faithful in helping us. In Jesus’ name, Amen

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