1 Samuel 4
When the Israelites began losing battles with the Philistines, they sent for the Ark of God and brought it into their camp. They celebrated when it arrived with a great uproar because they thought, despite their apostasy and disregard for God over several generations, that God would now defeat their enemies.
I’m reminded of how we can live our lives without regard for God, yet in our moment of greatest need, call out and expect God to step in and fight our battles for us. He does that. In His infinite grace and sovereignty, He steps in and snatches us from destruction. But salvation doesn’t always look as we expected or in the timeframe we were hoping for. His salvation for Israel began with the deaths of Eli, Hophni, and Phineas. His plan continued even when Israel was exiled to Babylon. We cry out to Him hoping for a fast food fix to our immediate problem, but God is a long-term, big-picture God intent on complete restoration. We’re calling out for Him to fix a dripping faucet, but God’s plan is to do an Extreme Home Makeover on our lives. You know the kind, where it begins with “Demolition Day” and ends with an amazing revelation. And unlike the TV show, this reno project will take more than a week. It will take every single moment we have on this earth. God will not rest until His work in us is complete. When Jesus said, “It is finished,” it meant the plan was complete, the bill was paid, and the outcome is sure, but the project is still in process until we rest in His arms and hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Along the way, we try to help with the project. But what I’ve found is that the wall I put up here or the coat of paint I slap on there often has to be pulled down or stripped off. I have to allow God to fix the mess I’ve made of it. Instead of grabbing the plans from Him and trying to modify to suit me, I need to trust Him and just follow His instructions.
The Israelites weren’t interested in God’s plan. They wanted to pull the Ark out like a good luck charm and manipulate God to do their bidding.