The Prudential commercial holds a dim candle to the rock of Ebenezer, where God showed up and defeated an enemy. How does a believer stand when the walls around him or her crumble and fall? What does it take to stand in victory?
Key Principle: God’s people are strongest when they tremble before God’s throne, and not when they operate in self confident capability.
Is there a Biblical model for Setting Up for Victory? Our text offers us a ten step process that offers encouragement and hope for the defeated:
Remember, the children of Israel were defeated, demoralized and ashamed. The funny thing is they were perfectly ready for God to work among them!
- The Return of the Ark (7:1). The beginning of the return is the recognition of the value of that which was lost by those who lost it! When the people of God got back the memory box of a former time of God’s glory evident among them, they began to take seriously a relationship with God.
- The Cry (nawhaw: wail) of the Broken (7:2). After recognition, there was a sense of loss that gave rise to a hunger for God. Without hunger people do not miss what they had before.
- The Works of Repentance (7:3-4). It is not enough to cry about the past bitterly. There is a need to take the steps that show the real desire to change. In the model, there were three specific steps of work worthy of a truly repentant heart:
a) Return (shoob) to the Lord: Not the box, not the rewards, not the traditions – to the PERSON of the Lord.
b) Put away (soor: permanently abolish) idols: We can’t add God like an ingredient to our busy lives, we must reorder our priorities and realign our lives to allow God to revolutionize our whole way of thinking and living.
c) Direct (koon: build firm foundation) hearts to the Lord: Repentance begins a process of affirmatively building something solid to live on.
- Obedience to Godly leaders (7:5). One of the ways we show that we are the people of God is to develop respect for the Word and People of God that have gone before us!
- The Confession of God’s people (7:6). Recognizing what led to our defeat, and the hard heartedness of our self confident way is essential to being softened into a victory stance!
- Dependence on God’s preservation (7:7-8). Personal defeat that leads to softness toward God and a total dependence on His will and His power is the total opposite of all we are trained to do; yet, God honors that yielded weakness above all!
- The Intercession of Godly leaders (7:9). When God’s people called up Him to protect them, they did not presume, they prayed, worshipped and followed His Word!
- Confidence from God’s Intervention (7:10-11). When the people saw God at work, they gained confidence in God’s power, and His desire to care for THEM!
- Acknowledgement of God’s goodness by godly leaders (7:12-13). When God worked, the people rejoiced and did not try to receive credit for what God wanted to do. God resists the proud!
- Restoration of the former losses (7:14-17). God added back the blessings of the former losses, because He could entrust the people to understand they were always the gift of a good God!
God’s people are strongest when they tremble before God’s throne, and not when they operate in self confident capability.