Read – 1 Samuel 4
Focus on verse 3
I don’t believe in luck. I believe everything happens according to the design and sovereign control of God. There is no event or action on the part of humanity that catches Him off guard. There are people who thought history have attempted to manipulate the power of God to their own advantage. There are some charlatans who through either clever tricks and slight of hand, or by selling themselves over to dark spiritual powers, have been very convincing, but none have succeeded in manipulating God to do their bidding. God does what God will do with or without us.
In today’s reading, we discover how far the people have drifted from truly knowing and serving God.
And when the people came to the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord here from Shiloh, that it may come among us and save us from the power of our enemies.” (v. 3)
The statement of the elders in this verse regarding their perception of God reflects how far they had run amok in their theology. Not only do they blame God for the defeat – “Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines?” they have reduced the Ark of the Covenant (and perhaps God himself) to little more than a good luck charm that they are attempting to manipulate in their favor. As wrong as this perception of God is on so many different levels, it is one reappears throughout church history to this day.
In the Old Testament the leaders of the nation of Israel frequently treat God as though He is nothing more than a power source they somehow have the authority to control. Even in the New Testament as the newly formed church begins to expand there are those who like Simon the Magician in Acts 8, who assume that the power of the Holy Spirit is something that can be purchased and manipulated.
To this day there are charlatans and deceivers who pedal the gospel and gain great amounts of wealth by performing signs and wonders that they attribute to the power of the Holy Spirit. This is not to suggest that there are not legitimate signs and wonders, and miracles that the Holy Spirit is responsible for in our current age. The point is that the Holy Spirit moves and works according to the Father’s direction only and will not be manipulated or used by us to achieve our own agendas. God works through those people who walk in obedience to His word, and who choose to submit to the will of the Father even when it costs them to do so (and it very often does). God is not our “good-luck charm” – He is the sovereign Ruler of the universe and He will do as He pleases, and those who are wise move in obedience to and under the control of His Spirit.