“If you are really serious about wanting to return to the Lord, get rid of your foreign gods and your images of Ashtoreth. Determine to obey only the Lord; then he will rescue you from the Philistines” (1 Samuel 7:3, NLT).
Samuel had gathered all of Israel together to repent of their idolatry and rededicate themselves to God.
While Israel was assembled, the Philistines attacked them. Samuel prayed and God helped the Israelites defeat the Philistines because they had repented and rededicated themselves to serving and obeying God. Consequently, the Philistines didn’t attack Israel again until after Saul became king.
Samuel clarified to the Israelites that they could not have an allegiance to both God and idols.
Idol worship was an ongoing problem throughout Israel’s history and especially during the time of the judges. Ashtoreth (also called Asherah) was the Canaanite goddess of fertility associated with Baal.
But, idolatry can take many forms. The prosperity we enjoy can lead to idolatry when we let the accumulation of possessions become the focus of life.
What you spend your time and resources thinking about and doing indicates what your priorities are.
Your life in this world is a zero-sum game—whatever time or money you spend on one priority takes away from the time and money spent on another priority.
So you can’t have it both ways, God and something else. You can’t live your life God’s way and your own way! You can’t do God’s will and do your own thing!
A relationship with God is an exclusive one. You can’t expect to receive God’s blessing unless you eliminate from your life what is contrary to His will.
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:24, NLT).
- Samuel Describes Repentance (shawnethomas.com)