“Please let our petition be acceptable to you, and pray for us to the Lord your God…that the Lord your God may show us the way in which we should walk and the thing we should do.” Jer. 42 2b-3
I think in our hearts, we want to do what is right and to find favor in this world. Maybe it’s with work or with family or as in this case with God. The trick is of course figuring out how to do that while living our daily life. It’s not always as simple or cut and dry as we might want. Some choices are easy and some are hard. Sometimes it might seem like we are doing the right thing, maybe even thinking we are doing the Godly thing. But using our own wisdom and discernment, we can sometimes be lead astray.
“So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from there the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts…And when the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth shook…and Israel was defeated, and every man fled to his tent…and there fell of Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers.” 1 Sam. 4: 4-11
The Israelites took matters into their own hands here. They had seen the ark used in battle with great success and so they thought that it would again give them victory. They were using something that was of God, but they never asked God to be in it. Their faith was misplaced and they paid dearly for it.
It kind of reminds me of how some have tried to use the bible or the law to provoke others to change. Simply stating rules and condemning others for not following what they had deemed most important. If I am honest, this is how I saw the world when I first became a Christian. The church I belonged to helped to reinforce this idea. It wasn’t till years later that I learned that the law without love only leads to condemnation and suffering. It is by faith alone and not the law that we are saved. There is great freedom in knowing that we are forgiven by faith and not by keeping a set of rules. That way, when we fail, and we will fail, it’s okay. God will always love us, no matter what.