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Date: December 15

Category: Divine Healing

1 Samuel 7:3-4
"Then Samuel said to all the house of Israel, If you are returning to the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth [female deities] from among you and direct your hearts to the Lord and serve Him only, and He will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines. So the Israelites put away the Baals and the Ashtaroth, and served the Lord only."

Slobodan & Ljiljana KrstevskiThese verses teach us about deliverance. The Israelites were often oppressed by the neighbouring nations greatly due to their own wicked and rebellious hearts. Because they didn't want to listen to God, they often started worshipping other gods. They worshipped Baal, which was the main deity of Canaan. Then they worshipped Ashtaroth, a deity of prostitution. As a result of worshipping these foreign gods, the Israelites weakened their family units, their state unit, and their defence system. This made it easy for the enemy to conquer them. So when that happened, Samuel came and spoke this word to them.

In this word, Samuel gave the Israelites hope that they still had a chance to return to the Lord. The word, "return" in Hebrew is "shub," which means to change your direction completely. The word, "return" in Greek is "metanoia," which means to convert, repent, and change your mind. So in verse 3b we read, "If you are returning to the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the foreign gods." In other words, we cannot serve the Lord God and an idol at the same time. We cannot take directives for life from God and the devil. We are to put away all other gods.

Then in verse 3c we read, "and direct your hearts to the Lord." So not only are we to reject every foreign god and false imagination that is contrary to God's Word, but we are to direct our hearts to the Lord. The seat of our heart (which is our soul) is our mind, will and emotions. So when we direct our hearts, we are directing our mind, will and emotions towards God. In Romans 12:2 we read that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind according to the Word of God. After we renew our mind in the Word, then we are to direct our will to do what the Word says. After that, we are to subject our emotions under the lordship of Jesus Christ. In other words, we no longer act based on feelings, but we are to act based on the Word. That's how we are to direct our hearts to the Lord.

Once we direct our hearts to God, we are to "serve Him only." That requires a radical change on our part. So everything that we used to serve before (ungodly movies, ungodly music, ungodly friends, etc) should all be put away so that we are free to serve God and only God. We are to make a total break from all the things that are ungodly and choose to only participate in activities that are godly. That's what it means to serve God only. When we do that, then God will deliver us.

As we continue reading, we see that the Israelites made this decision. In verse 4 we read, "So the Israelites put away the Baals and the Ashtaroth, and served the Lord only." Because the Israelites decided to lay everything aside and return to God, God delivered them from the hands of their enemies. Today you may need God's deliverance. You may need deliverance from depression, oppression, sickness, poverty, loneliness, or even from demon possession. This is how you receive that deliverance. You are to return to the Lord with all of your heart and remove everything that is ungodly from your life. Then you are to direct your heart towards God and serve Him alone. That's when God will deliver you. But you have to make the choice to return to God. God will not decide for you.

God is calling you to return to Him, but He will not force you to come back. God is calling you to put away all foreign gods, but He will not put them away for you. God is calling you to direct your heart toward Him, but He will not direct it for you. And God is calling you to serve Him, but He will not make you if you don't want to. Those are all decisions that you have to make, and your deliverance will depend on what you decide. So if you need deliverance, let today be the day that you return to God and serve Him only. Then you will receive your deliverance.

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