And Samuel said to all the house of Israel, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your heart to the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” 4 So the people of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtaroth, and they served the Lord only.
1 Samuel 7:3-4
Beloved Savior, the people are dying. They are defeated and broken and lost and they don’t even know it. Your Presence is so far from them, mighty Yahweh! They don’t even believe You exist anymore. Show them, my King, show them You are real and true. Show them that Your Power will save them if only they would turn away from the false gods they serve and look to You for their salvation.
You are asking so little of us, Lord. You ask so very little.
if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Why are they so stubborn, Lord? Please Father, break their hardened hearts to pieces. Show them the power of Your love against their enemies and urge them into the shelter of your Presence. It is Your Presence, Your Salvation, Your Power that brings salvation to the lost. Not images. Not ideals. Not even crosses. It is Your Victory over the cross that brings salvation to any who would believe it!
Even the Philistines got it eventually. Sort of.
Why should you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? After he had dealt severely with them, did they not send the people away, and they departed?
1 Samuel 6:6
They finally acknowledged what they were dealing with, and tried to make amends to You with a guilt offering. (see 1 Samuel Chapter 6) Our world now doesn’t even believe the history that has been protected for thousands of years, a history that declares Your faithfulness and Your salvation offered for all of humanity. It took the Egyptians ten plagues that eventually led to death, just to submit to Your will. Even then they didn’t repent. And the Philistines, who finally acknowledged Your existence with terror, only wanted You to go away.
I feel like that’s the world we live in now, God. Only it’s even worse than that. People refuse to see You. They refuse to acknowledge You. And their time is running out. Their hearts are so hardened and so committed to the lusts of their own desires, that breaking through that seems an impossible task. But You are faithful, Yahweh! You can breathe life into the things of this world that are dead, even if they don’t yet know they are dead.
So breathe Your life into the world one last time before the end. Perhaps a few will recognize their folly before it’s too late. And let Your words permeate this planet as a final warning siren of Your eminent judgement. Lord, I know that it is your will that none should perish. Please, convince them, Jesus. Convince them that Your love and forgiveness are worth turning away from the false idols that have given the world nothing but death, war, famine, and pain. Fleeting pleasures are nothing compared to the glorious riches that await the ones who recieve Your Life and Your Salvation.
But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
2 Peter 3:8-10