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All the cities which the Philistines had captured between Eckron and Gath were returned to Israel, and so Israel got back all its territory. And there was peace between Israel and the Canaanites. GNB
1 Samuel 7:14
As a Christian, no doubt we will experience peaks and valleys, highs and lows on this journey. More, tantamount to weather seasons, we will go through different spiritual seasons–the summer’s, winter’s, spring’s, and fall’s of our Christian walk. Some people love the change of seasons; personally I would love if it could stay summer all year around! I love summer and everything that comes along with it: feeling the sun on my face, beaches, barbecues, wearing lighter clothing, outdoor events. I hate Winter! I hate being cold and the seclusion that oftentimes comes with it because of frigid temperatures especially in the northern part of the United States.
As my dread of the physical Winter season, as so the Winter season of my Christian walk. I know we have to go through changes as disciples because that’s how we learn and grow. But truthfully, I’d rather my Christian season stay summer: peaceful, joyous, serene, still, and calm. But in life, everything has to have a balance in order to grow. We will face challanges, trials, loss, attacks, persecutions and the like. There will be times of silence, not understanding God’s purpose and times when it seems like you are doing everything right but you aren’t yielding any fruit! It seems like you are not advancing, moving forward; but perhaps going backwards! It seems like the enemy is taking over your territory.
Prosperity gospel will tell you that you’re not favored by God, you need to plant a large financial seed, or perhaps you are not living right. Beloved, I disagree! You can be doing all you know how to do, living righteously and are at a standstill in certian areas of your life. God loves you, you are always favored by Him, but there are several factors why God may allow these seasons:
1. He’s trying to reach you.
Let’s face it! Some of us learn our lessons quickly and some of us are like the mule that Psalms 32:9 mentions:
Don’t be stubborn like a horse or mule. [They need] a bit and bridle in their mouth to restrain them, or they will not come near you.
Translation: God has to sternly guide you to follow His will. I’m perfectly guilty of that. He may be trying to call attention to a certian area of your life that you may not even be aware of that’s not glorifying Him: greed, gossip, complaining, selfishness, negativity, self-righteousness. The longer it takes to get the lesson, the longer you’ll be in this spiritual class.
2. God’s teaching you to trust and wait on Him.
How many of us when a trial comes, we first pick up the phone and call a parent, a loved one, or a friend. Or, how many of us our first reaction to a crisis is panic or fear? Sometimes God has to isolate you so that He is the only one you have to turn to. More, I’ve had to learn to take a deep breath when problems occur, don’t let my thoughts run amuck and grab hold of the Bible and find scriptures of hope, perserverance, and God’s faithfulness and MEDITATE on them.
3. Unrepentant sin or idol worship.
The passage in 1 Samuel speaks of the Israelites’ petition to Samuel to pray that God will save them from the hands of the Philistines, but in the interim they were worshipping man made idols (statues). Are their any idols in your life that you may have placed before God, love it so much that you refuse to give it up? Pornography, fornication, gluttony, adultery, material things, lying, stealing, dishonenest business dealings, just to name a few.
The Philistines had already slaughtered four thousand men of the Israelite army and had taken the sacred Lord’s Covenant Box. Samuel’s reply to the Israelites in 1 Samuel 7:3 was to turn to God with all of their hearts and get rid of their idols. He told them to dedicate themselves completely to the Lord, worship Him only and He will resue them from the power of the Philistines. Some of you, God is saying if you turn away from willing sin and idols He will deliver you.
1 Samuel 7:10
The Philistines moved forward to attack; but just then the Lord thundered from Heaven against them. They became completely confused and fled in panic.
Beloved, if you let go of anything in your life that is separating you from true fellowship with God, He will chase away any spirit that may be holding you in bondage and preventing you from advancing in other areas of your life. All of the cities in your life that the enemy has captured because of unrepentant sin or idol worship, God will return back to you! He will give you peace, joy, a future and hope! Jeremiah 29:11