1 Samuel 7:13
“So the Philistines were subdued, and they did not come anymore into the territory of Israel…”
Israel faced a constant threat from the Philistines. They had come into the territory promised to Israel, taken land, and threatened the people. Earlier in 1 Samuel, the nation mustered all its strength to drive the Philistines out of their territories, only to suffer a devastating loss. In that earlier battle, the people gathered around a religious artifact, went forth in all the strength they had, and were defeated. Now, some years later, we find them once again facing the same threat. This time, however, their efforts resulted in a great victory. What was the difference? How were they able to defeat an enemy which had plagued them for so many years?
1 Samuel 7:3
“Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, ‘If you return to the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths from among you, and prepare your hearts for the LORD, and serve Him only; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.’”
Notice the steps that led to their success. First, they were to return to the LORD and put away foreign gods. The order here is of the utmost importance. Too often, we think we must make great changes in our lives, in order to come to the LORD. We think all that is wrong with us, must be cleaned up and fixed, before we can take the steps forward and receive forgiveness for sin. This may be the ultimate in putting the cart before the horse. We don’t clean up our act and come to Christ. We come to Christ and allow Him to clean us up. The first step is to come, and let Him transform our lives.
Step two in their return, was committing themselves to the things that mattered to the LORD. We read that they “Served Him only…” One of the main reasons people fall away from the LORD is they never really committed themselves to Him. There was the initial realization of the need of forgiveness, but never the commitment of their lives to Christ. If we want to ensure victory, there must be a commitment to serve. Ask yourself “In what way do I serve Jesus at my church?” If you have no answer for that question, then figure out how you can get involved. Help in a Sunday School class, hospitality, greeting, parking lot ministry, or join a Home Fellowship. The possibilities are endless and the impact in your personal walk will be tremendous.