God of Israel

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Today's reading: 1 Samuel 5:1-12

After the Philistines capture the ark of the covenant and place it in their temple to Dagon, they immediately begin to experience and learn that the God of Israel is more powerful than their man-made god. Then in fairly short order, the people at large experience the power and control of God first-hand, through the infliction of tumors on those residing wherever the ark was moved--clearly a display of God's power, might and control. Yet, rather than responding by recognizing God as the only true God who is sovereign over all, the Philistines' response is one of fearful rejection ("'Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it return to its own place, that it may not kill us and our people.'" [vs.11]).

What did you learn about God from the Philistines' encounter with the ark of the covenant? What does this chapter show us about how we can perceive God and the things taking place around us? How will this help you talk with people about who God is and the things happening in the world? Tami

Today's reading: 1 Samuel 4: 1-22

After suffering a defeat in battle against the Philistines, the Israelites are perplexed by God's seeming inaction. So they send for the ark of the covenant, assuming that its presence would give them victory over their enemy. They were wrong. The Philistines ended up severely routing them, with 30,000 Israelites dying in round two of the battle.

The Israelites were operating on what I'll call an "insurance policy" mindset. In other words, they weren't devoted to or following God, yet their expectation was that God should and would act on their behalf when they needed it. After all, they were God's chosen people, so of course God should protect them.

This kind of mindset can be disastrous for us as well, and I'm speaking from experience. There was a period of years in my 20s and 30s where I lived according to this "insurance policy" approach. I did whatever I wanted and placed God on the back burner. However, if I encountered something difficult, then I would turn to God for help. That strategy didn't work well for me. Like He did with the Israelites, God allowed me to fall--hard--to get my attention. As I look back, I'm thankful for God's love and continued pursuit of me (and yes, my hard fall experience) in those extremely self-focused years.

What is your mindset when it comes to who God is and the role He plays in your life? What are one or two things that help you have and maintain a mindset of following after and serving God, rather than thinking about God as a convenience or safety net? Tami

Today's reading: 1 Samuel 3:1-21

Yesterday as I read 1 Samuel 3, God focused my attention on Eli's hardened and unyielding heart. But today as I read this same passage, it was the attentive, receptive and responsive heart of young Samuel that drew my attention. What a contrast between these men who were both in the service of God at the temple.

Once Eli explains to Samuel that who he hears calling him is God, Samuel is expectantly tuned in and attentive to God's voice. Then when God calls him, Samuel immediately receives God's message. First thing the next morning, Samuel obediently delivers the entire scary and extremely difficult message God gave him to Eli ("So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him" [vs. 18]).

What an appealing example young Samuel provides for us. God, help me be like young Samuel--attentive, receptive and immediately responsive to Your prompting and instructions.

When it comes to being attentive to God's guidance, calling and direction, how would you say you are doing? What would help you be even more tuned in to God? What about being more receptive and responsive? What's one lesson you noticed or learned from Samuel's example? Tami

Indifferent

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Today's reading: 1 Samuel 3:1-21

Eli's indifferent attitude toward God left me with a heavy heart. Rather than humbling himself before God and asking for forgiveness upon hearing God's message of judgment through Samuel, Eli maintains his detached and distant stance. It's a sad picture that serves as a reminder that our hearts can grow spiritually cold when we're not nurturing our relationship with God and seeking to grow spiritually.

What are your habits when it comes to maintaining and nurturing your relationship with God? How often do you talk with God? How often do you read His Word? Why are both so important? Tami

Your Influence

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Today's reading: 1 Samuel 2:12-26

As we finish up chapter 2 of 1 Samuel, we learn about Eli's two grown sons. Although they were in the position of priests, Eli's sons were disrespectful and defiant toward God and the things He values.

The overwhelming stance of the world today communicates "what I do only impacts and matters to me," and as a result, people choose to do what they want when they want, with little to no consideration of how it impacts or influences others.

Eli's sons operated by this worldly mindset. Both held the high position of priest, and in that esteemed and public position, they intentionally thumbed their noses at God. They did what they wanted when they wanted to through their refusal to follow the established practice for obtaining meat and by having sexual relations with women who were serving at the tent of meeting. They were highly visible, negative influencers. Think about it--if the priests aren't acknowledging God or following Him in any way, why would the people?

Who are the people you impact and influence? What's one thing you can do today to be a positive influencer as you demonstrate living for Christ? Tami

About Me

Hi, my name is Tami Weissert, the P4 facilitator and the "voice" behind the blogs. I'm passionate about helping people grow spiritually and actively encourage Bible engagement through conference speaking and writing. I also served as co-host of the Back to the Bible radio program for over 8 years. A little about me. I'm married to Jeff, and we love scuba diving, playing with our 3 dachshunds and going to Husker football games. I also love growing orchids, singing and Diet Pepsi. I hope you'll join in the conversation as we read the Bible and grow together.

About My Blog

I'm passionate about engaging God's Word! And my blog is about just that--giving you opportunities to receive, reflect on and respond to Scripture. Each day you'll find a short passage as well as thoughts, challenges and application questions for you to think about and respond to. I look forward to interacting with you and learning together, so post comments as often as you'd like. You can even sign up to get the blogs delivered to your inbox each day!

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