So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from there the ark of the covenant of the LORD…And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God. And when the ark of the covenant of the LORD came into the camp, all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth shook. Now when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, “What does the sound of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews mean?” Then they understood that the ark of the LORD had come into the camp. So the Philistines were afraid, for they said, “God has come into the camp!” And they said, “Woe to us! For such a thing has never happened before….Who will deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness. Be strong and conduct yourselves like men, you Philistines, that you do not become servants of the Hebrews…Conduct yourselves like men, and fight!” So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and every man fled to his tent. There was a very great slaughter, and there fell of Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers. Also the ark of God was captured; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died. – 1 Samuel 4:1-11

Another lesson for our meditation from the passage above is that, the fact that you invite God into an endeavour before stating, or at any stage of it, does not guarantee that it is going to succeed.

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From our reference scripture, we can see that both Israelites and the Philistines had different false hopes. The Israelites were jubilant that the presence of God, symbolised by the Ark of Covenant, was now with them. So they were very confident that they would overrun their enemies in battle. The Philistines, on the other hand, were fretful that the end had come for them, since the Israelites now had God’s presence, which had wrought great havoc on their adversaries in times past. So they were not looking forward to taking them on in battle – they just had to fight.

Both parties were proved wrong by ensuing events, as the confident Israelites were routed, slaughtered and captured by the fretful Philistines. Now what could have gone wrong for the Israelites? Why couldn’t they defeat their enemies even with the presence of God in their midst?

The answer is simple: if the persons involved do not have a relationship with God and are not in a right standing in His sight, the name of Jesus which makes all knees bow will be a mere mouthing, and the Ark – whatever it represents to them – will just be another article of furniture.

Therefore, that you have invited God into a venture does not guarantee its success if you are not right with Him. Also, a project can carry the name of God and still fail if the people behind it are not aligned with Him. If God does not have your heart, He cannot take up your fight.

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You will succeed in Jesus Name!

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