How Can We Neglect the Presence of God?”

neglected churchLast Friday, Moran Rosenblit from Hope for Israel spoke at our temple. He had a powerful word for us in the United States. He said it was time we wake up, that we have lost our passion for God. We forget that it is all about God and not about us. We must die to self and do what God is calling us to do. He reminded us what our job is – to make disciples, teaching them to obey all that Yeshua commanded.

Then he pointed us to 1 Samuel 3:1 saying that we have the freedom to read the bible and we don’t take advantage of it.

 Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli. And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision.

The word of the Lord was rare, and there was no frequent vision. I am reminded of something I heard in the ancient city of Shiloh.

Before entering the place were the ark stood for 369 years, there is a video presentation. It is an amazing experience because the screen is actually on the windows facing the location, and it blends the reality of the location with the artist’s rendition of the mishkan. You truly get a sense of what it was like to see the mishkan there in Shiloh.

But something was said during the presentation that cut me to the heart. They said that in the days of Eli, the ark of the Lord was neglected. This one line haunted me as I walked out of the theater and made my way to the actual location. I sat in what would have been a part of the mishkan and wept, thinking, “How can we neglect the very presence of God?”

Then I came home to hear Moran speak about how we neglect the word of God, and realize I am still guilty of neglecting the presence of God. He is most present when I am in his word, allowing him to speak to me. And maybe I neglect it because I don’t want to hear what he has to say, because it’s not always something I want to hear. I so quickly forget that it’s not about me, it’s all about him.

Think about it. God was calling to Samuel, who was serving under Eli. Remember, Hannah gave Samuel to the Lord, so he was being raised by Eli. Think of how much Samuel would have loved Eli. He would have been a father to Samuel. Then think about how hard it had to be to hear that God was going to punish Eli.

Then the Lord said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a think in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever. – 1 Sam 3:11-14

That had to be tough to hear, and even tougher to repeat. But again, it’s not about what we want to hear, but what God has to say.

Moran also warned that we shouldn’t read the word with the wrong motive – to get something out of it for ourselves. He pointed to 1 Samuel 4, where the the Israelites were losing the war against the Philistines. They went to Shiloh and took the ark to go into battle with them. It was more of a good luck charm than as having God go before them, leading and guiding them. Not only did they lose the battle, but they lost the ark as well.

We need to do things for God not for what we get out of it, but for what God wants to accomplish. It is time to get serious with God. It is time to fear God more than we fear men. It is time to make sure we know God, not for what he can do for us, but for what we can do for him.

I am reminded of President Kennedy’s words, “My fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

And so, my fellow Believers, ask not what your God can do for you, but what you can do for your God.

 

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2 Responses to How Can We Neglect the Presence of God?”

  1. James November 6, 2015 at 4:00 pm #

    Actually, in prosperous America, it’s pretty easy to neglect the presence of God. More accurately, it takes a lot more dedication to pay attention to God when times are good than when times are bad. Everyone calls out to God when times are bad. In the Bible, it seems to be one of the reasons God allowed various woes to befall Israel when they were disobedient…so they’d call out to Him and return to Torah and Hashem. That we don’t often experience the presence of God in most churches and synagogues in our nation today comes as no surprise.

  2. Ro Pinto November 8, 2015 at 12:32 pm #

    I agree, James. It’s just astonishing to me that I can, after experiencing all that I have from God’s hand, and seeing how the Israelites suffered from their separation from him, continue to neglect the presence of God.

    while it’s not surprising, it is disappointing. In myself most of all.

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