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Presence of God

Are we glad to go with God?


Where is the presence of God going?

Do you know the story in 1 Samuel about the Ark of the Covenant being taken by the Philistines? In the Old Testament times God linked His Presence to the where-abouts of the Ark. By this point of history, usually the Ark was kept in the sacred tabernacle where the Israelites focused their worship. In 1 Samuel the Israelites were in battle with the Philistines and were not doing so well. To try to remedy this they decided to take the Ark to the battle site for extra power but they forgot to ask God about it first. God wasn’t going to be used in this superstitious way. The Ark made no difference and the Israelites lost the battle, and worse, they lost the Ark as well; the Philistines took it away in victory.

As time went by the Philistines soon regretted having this particular object in their midst. Wherever it went people became ill with tumours and they wanted rid of it. Some thought that the tumours appearing where the Ark was could be just a coincidence and not because the object of the God of the Israelites was captured in their midst. This being so they decided to do a test where they could see if the Ark was to go back because God would take it there, or whether there were no special powers associated with it.

The cows went lowing all the way. They didn’t want to go.



A Plan

The advisors devised a plan. You need to read the details for yourself but they were to put the Ark on a cart and put two new mother cows to pull it. The calves were to be taken away, but not too far, so the mothers natural instincts to go to their young could still operate. Then the cart was to be set free. If there was nothing special about the Ark the cows would turn to go and find their offspring, but if God’s presence was indeed associated with the Ark, the cows would act against the natural and go away from their young towards to border of Israel because God would take it there.

Well indeed God was there and His presence did overcome the natural instincts of the cows and the cows led the cart off to Israel. If you look at the Bible story I want you to note the cows went lowing all the way. They didn’t want to go to Israel they wanted to go to their young. But they were hitched to God and God was going to Israel! They complained all the way.

I wonder how many of us are like those cows.

Going God's way

I wonder how you feel about going God’s way. As Christians we have hitched ourselves to God’s wagon. We have made a choice to go God’s way. Many times this will take us against our natural instincts. We do not live in the natural world any longer, we live in a far better spiritual world. I wonder how many of us are like those cows though—we will go God’s way (because we have chosen to, unlike the cows) but we will complain all the way.

Sometimes we want to do something else

I know there have been times in my life when it has been a wonderful pleasure to go God’s way but there have also been many when I wanted to go another way. Following our natural instincts can be very appealing for a while but it isn’t usually long before we know we need to submit in confession to God because we have gone woefully wrong. Of course it is Satan’s business to try to disguise the fact that we have gone wrong until he can inflict maximum damage and regret. We don’t have to keep going down that wrong road though. As soon as we realise we have been going our own way instead of God’s we can turn right back and say sorry and be forgiven.

God who deserves nothing but adoration and worship gets moaning and complaining while we journey with Him.

But what about those complaining journey’s we have taken with God. “I’ll go with you,” we say to God, “but I want you to know what I think about it all the way.” I know when I have been shut in the car with tired and hungry children all the complaining they can do. “How far?” “When can we have something to eat?” “I feel sick.” “Why did we have to come?” and so it goes on. How unpleasant. And we do the same to God! God who deserves nothing but adoration and worship gets moaning and complaining while we journey with Him.

Make a decision today. If you have already dedicated your life to going with God wherever He wants to take you, then decide today that you will go without “lowing” all the way.

Let us pray together.

Almighty God,

I have given my life over to following You at all times and to all places. There are times when I become distracted from this pledge and I go my own way instead. Please show me when I have taken this wrong path so that I can come back to You as quickly as possible.

There are other times when I do follow You but it is not willingly and joyfully. I know that there is no other way under the sun that is anything but meaningless and I want to make a fresh choice to follow you with the commitment and faith that You deserve. I choose today to put complaining behind me.

Thank You that You do not give up on me even when I fail.


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This article © Linda Faber 2006-2009.