Merritt Seventh-day Adventist Church

People's failure, God's mercy Part XI

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Part XI

People's failure, God's mercy


When the children of Israel had settled in their new land and homes, things went well They were faithful to God as long as they didn't forget the miracles. (the crossing of the Red Sea and the River Jordan) The generation that had not seen these began to look at the worship of the pagans that they were working to replace.

A few years later, the whole land became corrupted and God allowed the nations around to rule and oppress them. When the people saw their problems and repented, God would raise up a leader to restore their freedom. These problems happened over and over. Yes, God always restored them. Why? God never wanted to allow Satan to take control of the world. God would never give up control of planet earth. The children of Israel were the best He had so He worked through them to restore His name and He also wanted the nations around to learn of Him.

At one time in the book of 1 Samuel, Israel had again forsaken God and He permitted the Philistines to rule over them. There was a battle between Israel and the Philistines. God's people were beaten and lost four thousand men. They asked, “Why?” Then another battle shortly after. The Israelites took two priests and the Ark (that contained the tables of the law) thinking that it would give them victory. But, they were wrong. They were defeated and lost 30 thousand men. The priests were killed and the Ark was captured.

Now the Philistines rejoiced. They thought they had captured the Israelites' god. They put the Ark into the house of their god, Dagon. He was a big god in human form. He towered over the Ark. The next morning they found him fallen over before the Ark. They set him up again like they had to do with their man made gods. Next morning he had fallen over again and his hands and head were broken off and a grave disease was spreading among the men in their groin area. They finally sent the Ark back to the Israelites.

God had raised up Samuel as their leader and for 20 years he went from city to city to bring the Israelites back from worshiping Balaam and Ash to Roth, their female god, and return to worship the true God of Heaven. They left their idol worship and turned to the God of Heaven.

Samuel had them come to a special service to show their action and repentance and to begin a new start with the true God. The Philistines heard of this gathering and came with a big army to disperse and kill. While Samuel was offering a lamb as a sacrifice for the people and talking to them, the Philistines came close. The people were afraid and kept asking Samuel to pray for them. The army, as they came closer yet, saw Samuel with his hands raised toward Heaven. As the smoke of the sacrifice was going straight upward they must have wondered, “how come we can't scare this man?” Then suddenly, out of the clear blue, God thundered so loud that the Philistines got scared, dropped their weapons and fled. The Israelites went after them, picked up the weapons that had been dropped, and chased the Philistines out of the country. God sometimes uses strange means to bring people to repentance and restore peace and freedom. Is God talking to us now? Last week in Kelowna, the fruit centre of BC, the temperature was -4. Northern California got 6-8 inches of snow. What strange weather!? Will all this affect the plenty of food and fruit we enjoy? Maybe we need to look inside the Ark at God's word and into the treasures dearest to our hearts and see if maybe there are some Philistines close who we need to drive out.


Next week: The Handwriting on the Wall