Why So Long?

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries3 Minutes

“The men of Kiriath-jearim came and took the ark of the Lord . . .The time was long, for it was twenty years; and all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord.” 1 Samuel 7:1-2 NASB

The Israelites experienced a humiliating defeat: the ark had been captured. They “lamented” this loss, using a Hebrew word that conveys strong emotion. They groaned, wailed, and cried aloud. Yet for a “long” time, they did nothing, finally acting only after an amazing twenty years!

From Samuel’s message to them, it was clear that the Israelites were guilty of compromise. He promised that God would deliver them, but only if they returned to Him “with all your heart,” removed their idols, and served Him alone. The Israelites agreed, but clearly were reluctant: It took twenty years to become willing to make this renewed commitment.

Finally, when they gathered for prayer, there was a spirit of repentance, as they acknowledged, “We have sinned against the Lord.”

But when the Philistines attacked, the Israelites responded with fear, pleading Samuel to continue praying for them. After he made another offering and cried to the Lord, He answered, and sent “a great thunder” that “confused” the Philistines, who “were routed before Israel.”

Their actions had demonstrated the horrible consequences of sin, and what happens when we compromise and ignore God’s Word. He always is ready to protect, defend, and fight for His people. But we need to seek to be clear in His sight, forgiven, repenting of sins, and serving Him with our whole hearts.

These principles are still true. Sin still separates us from God. Compromise still cripples us spiritually. And we cannot expect His help if we insist on violating His principles.

Do you face problems? Do you need God’s help? Don’t delay or wallow in despair. Renew your relationship with Him. Make sure your heart is right before Him. Then, call on Him with confidence.


Prayer: Father, I commit these needs to You: ________. Help me to be clean in Your sight. I trust in You. Thank You for Your help, and for victory! In Jesus’ name. Amen.