In God’s Presence
The Leprosy Mission produces an internal daily devotional guide, The Bridge, for use in offices, hospitals, clinics and projects around the world. Current and former staff and trustees from many countries contribute to the guide. We will share with you contributions made by our staff team.
The Israelites lost the first battle and recognised that God hadn’t been with them. They sent for the ark, knowing that if God was with them they wouldn’t lose again. But the ark is just a symbol of God’s presence. God can’t be summoned from place to place and delivered by Hophni and Phinehas (Eli’s sons’ presence gives us a warning that things are not going to go well).
They had fallen into to thinking like the pagan people around them. They had built up superstitions surrounding the ark so that they no longer saw any difference between the symbol of God’s presence and God’s actual presence. They are treating God’s ark with contempt while making no real attempt to enter the true presence of God and invite Him into the camp and the upcoming battle.
By entering the battle in their own strength relying on superstition it’s no real surprise that they are completely defeated.
I was recently having coffee with a couple of friends who have worked for many years in full time Christian work either for a mission organisation or in church leadership. We each revealed that at different times we had fallen into much the same trap as the Israelites – we saw the symbol of God’s presence, in this case our full time role in “God’s work”, as being the same as God’s actual presence in our lives. Weeks, if not months, can go by without any time being spent with God outside of church or work.
And, working in our own strength relying on our own skills and abilities it’s no real surprise when things didn’t turn out well for us at those times either.
It is a privilege to work for a Christian organisation. One which values prayer and where prayer and devotions form a regular part of our working day or week. But working full time for a Christian organisation, giving all of your time and energy to work done in God’s name is not the same as being in God’s presence or serving Him as He would want.
It took Israel more than 20 years to turn back to God after this loss but God never stopped loving them and he welcomed them back when they turned to seek him. Today is always a good day to seek God. He wants us to draw close to Him, to know Him and to spend time with Him. He has called us all to serve Him in our work for The Leprosy Mission but He has called us first and foremost to Himself.
I pray that you all will know God more closely each day and that we will all be truly in His presence both in our work for Him through The Leprosy Mission, and in every other part of our lives as well.