Wrong Thinking

Read: 1 Samuel 4:1-11

The Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and they fled, every man to his home. (v. 10)

Misguided, short-term thinking can get us into trouble. Middle schoolers think they’ll make the right friends if they wear the right clothes. College students think they’ll pass the test if they cram the night before. And parents sometimes try to win over a child with a milkshake or a trip to the toy store.

The Israelites thought they had figured out a way to overcome their enemies, the Philistines. They seemed to think that if they just brought the ark of the covenant to the battlefield, they would win. They perceived the ark as a superstitious person might view a genie’s magic lamp; they saw it as their magic charm. So certain were they of this solution to their losing streak in battle, that when the ark of the covenant was brought into the camp, there was a tremendous, triumphant cheer that reverberated throughout the hills. That shout even proved to strike fear into the hearts of their enemies. But everyone was thinking wrong.

We cannot manipulate God into doing what we want. Our faith does not consist of magical arks, charms, or actions. We are called to faithfully pursue God and nothing else, and it is by God’s power and presence, and the pure unadulterated grace of Jesus, that victory comes to us in salvation. So, let’s fix our thoughts fully on Jesus who gives us the victory.

As you pray, let go of any misguided thoughts or false assumptions, and thank God for victory in Jesus.

About the Author

Katy Sundararajan is a specialized minister in the Reformed Church in America. She has garnered her pastoral perspectives from posts as a college chaplain, a missionary, an international student advisor, and a higher education and leadership ministries program coordinator.

This entry is part 6 of 31 in the series 1 Samuel: Trusting God through Big Transitions