The Crowd Was Wrong

1 Samuel 4:5 “As the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth resounded.”

Observation: This verse, taken alone, sounds pretty good. But the bigger picture is this: Israel had already been defeated in one battle with the Philistines, so the people decided in presumption to carry the ark of the covenant to the battlefield, thinking that it would magically protect them. They had not heard from God, but did what they felt best under the circumstances. Then all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth resounded. After that celebration they went into battle and lost everything. The nation was defeated, their priests died, and the ark of the covenant was lost.

Application: Just because large numbers of people are making lots of noise about something doesn’t mean that their position or belief is right. We live today in a society where countless millions think it is right to slaughter unborn children, or to embrace euthanasia, homosexuality, and so many other perversions. 

But these people have not heard from God, else they would not embrace such sin. His word speaks clearly when it is consulted. The result is that as a society, we are heading toward the same profound destruction as the Israelites of old. 

At the individual level, one of the greatest lies advanced by the enemy is that there are many paths to heaven. Jesus said that no man comes to the Father except through belief in Him and acceptance of His sacrifice (see John 14:6). But if a lie is told often enough and embraced by enough people, it will eventually take root and lead a whole people—even a loudly cheering people—straight to the pit of hell.

Prayer: Father, thank You that You are teaching me to withdraw from so many things that cause crowds to cheer. I want to be quiet in Your presence, to hear Your small voice bringing correction and wooing me to be more like Your Son.  When I cheer and clap, I pray that it’s only because of Your presence, because Your purposes and direction have been heard. Make me obedient only to You, Lord, and not to the crowd. Keep me from the sin of presumption. In Jesus’s name.

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