Time went by until 20 years had passed since the ark had been taken to Kiriath-jearim. Then the whole house of Israel began to seek the LORD. – 1 Samuel 7:2
Twenty years after the ark of the covenant was returned to Kiriath-jearim by the Philistines who had taken it, the Israelites began to seek the Lord.
TWENTY YEARS! During this entire time, Samuel had been a prophet and priest to the people, but it was not until the end of this period that he was recognized as their judge. Why did it take so long for the people to come around?
When Israel first went into battle with the Philistines, they sent a team to Shiloh to obtain the ark of the covenant and bring it to their camp. They believed that the ark would guarantee God’s presence, but (as we have already seen) it did not. They were soundly defeated by the enemy and the ark was captured by their enemy. No doubt, Israel’s idea of who God was and how He worked was severely compromised. Their spiritual foundation crumbled and it took 20 years to rebuild to the point where they even knew they should believe. The “god of their own understanding” had to surrender … to die … to the true God of the universe. There was no other way to move forward … and there never is.
God wants you to know HIM … not your culture’s idea or another person’s opinion of Him … HIM. And until you come to that place and surrender to this truth, you will never know His redemption. It will take as long as is necessary, but it need not take forever.
Dr. David Pope is President and Founder of POPE Initiatives, a non-profit organization committed to providing executive-level management and support services for major global mission efforts.
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