The other day I was reading a story found in the book of 1 Samuel chapter 5 from verses 1-12. It’s funny, yet very interesting and insightful.
The Philistines had defeated Israel in a war and had taken away the Ark of the Covenant of God which was an express symbol of God’s presence in their camp. The enemy is proud and confident of having deprived the Hebrews of their God. They will be able to beat them hands down in subsequent battles.
But then, they get a major surprise. They’ve just treaded on dangerous grounds. They’ve walked into a trap.
Before long the Lord begins to afflict the Philistines with painful and ugly tumors. Their land is infested with mice. They then remember that they’ve made the same mistake Pharaoh had made many years before.
When they become helpless they decide to return the Ark to its place; and not without a trespass offering.
What really made me laugh was the fact that each city where the Ark of God was sent to in the land of the Philistines, there was wailing and mourning. “They have brought the Ark of the God of the Hebrews to afflict us as He afflicted Pharaoh in Egypt…”
- Beloved in the Lord, this is how the presence of God in our lives should afflict the enemy.
- No devil should feel comfortable when a child of God walks into the room.
- The presence of God in our lives should inspire awe in those who do not yet know Him and bring them on their knees in worship.
- Because of your presence in that office, the fear of God should slowly take over the place.
- Men of evil intentions should dread having you in their midst.
- When they wrong you, they should be afflicted with holy guilt and then repent (a trespass offering).
I love the presence of God…and you?
- Joseph’s brothers saw it, understood it even before the lad knew what it was all about. They tried to kill it (Genesis 37:5-8).
- David’s brother Eliab tried to talk him out of his giant-slaying destiny (1Samuel 17:27-29).
- The crowd wanted to stifle Bartimaeus’ dream to see again (Mark 10:47-52).
- Jesus’ family came to take him home because they thought his own dream was some form of madness (Mark 3:20-21).
- Eli saw it in little Prophet Samuel and taught the boy how to hear from God (1 Samuel 3:8).
- Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law gave him useful ideas on how to do ministry (Exodus 18:17l-24).
- Naomi gave Ruth a strategy to win the love and respect of Boaz, her future husband (Ruth3:1-4).
- Barnabas took Paul and taught him how to do the things of God. Paul was accepted in the brotherhood because of the former’s recommendation (Acts 9:26-28).
What is your own dream? Who are you telling it to? Do you know in what category they fall? Is your dream at risk because of the people you are telling it to?
I pray God will send the right people to help you achieve that dream that keeps you awake all night long.
When a year comes to an end and we get ready to begin a new year, it is a time for reflection. This reflection might be based on the successes and failures of the past year or an entire life time. For some, the conclusion is overwhelmingly positive while for others, there is really nothing to write home about. Some people feel like just throwing the towel, pulling up a white flag and quitting the fight. They have toiled but their efforts seem to be in vain.
No effort is ever in vain; even your mistakes and failures are a lesson to the future generation. Remember Thomas Edison.
For me, the past year has not been an easy one. I have walked down the same road most of you have trodden. There have been moments of joy but also times of great distress. I have cried and I have laughed. Sometimes, I have had to give my shoulders for others to cry on but at other times, I badly needed someone to offer me theirs. I gave encouraging words to people on some days but on others I did not feel like getting out of bed myself. But in all this I kept my eyes focused on God who gives life to the dead and calls those things that are not as if they were (Romans 4:17). Then I remember that I have been blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:3). Even if I do not yet see them, I have God’s word that it shall come to pass. I am alive and I have Jesus on my side: I still have all my chances.
In God’s kingdom, overtaking is permitted for those who are smart enough to take it by force. I might be the last in the race, but don’t give up on me yet because the race is not yet over. All I need is the grace for speed and acceleration. (Remember Perez-Genesis 38:29). I can still pursue, overtake and recover all that I have lost or failed to achieve provided I encourage myself in the Lord (1 Samuel 30:6, 8).
As we look forward to the unfolding of this year 2014, let us look forward to greater achievements in the future. And if we must look back, it should not be with regret but to gather momentum because we have on us an exceeding grace for acceleration, speed and overtaking.