I prayed before I opened my Bible that the Lord would teach me something from His Word today. I wasn’t really looking for anything in particular, I just wanted to get back into reading, enjoying, and learning from God’s Word again.
I read a couple chapters in 2 Timothy and received some general encouragement and instruction, then turned to where I was reading through the Old Testament. I was reading in 1 Samuel and had just gotten to the part where the Philistines had taken the Ark of the Covenant. They put it in their temple next to the god, Dagon. When they went in the next morning, Dagon was fallen with his face to the ground before the ark. The Philistines set him back up again, but when they went in the following morning, he was down again. This time, his head and hands were broken off.
The thought struck me, how mighty and amazing God is! He can not tolerate an idol in His presence, but will bring whatever it is that competes for His place crashing down. I then thought about how we often have idols in our own hearts, and how we will allow other things to take captive our time and thoughts.
After a moment’s reflection, I realized that there were two things that took up a lot of my time, and the majority of my thought life – reading books and earning money. There were also some other things I saw that, if I wasn’t careful, could also become idols in my life: school, exercise, crafts. It’s hard to think I would allow myself to devote more time and thought to these than to God Himself and His Word. I quickly gave these things back to the Lord and committed myself anew to Him, asking Him to take first place in my heart.
When we don’t stop and give our “idols” to the Lord, He will often mercifully have them “fall”, and take away what we have chosen to serve other than Himself. I know from experience that these are painful times of fear, remorsefulness, and bitter repentance. But God will be first place, the Supreme Ruler. If He’s not first place now, then He will be on that approaching judgment day when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
How thankful we should be for “second chances.” God’s mercy and Christ’s blood that hides our multitudes of sins.
I pray that each of us would stop just for a moment and ask the Lord if there is anything that is competing for first place in our hearts.
God bless each of you as you strive for a closer walk with Him.
“Put away the strange gods,… and prepare your hearts unto the Lord, and serve him only: and he will deliver you…” -1 Samuel 7:3