Session 41

Kill your idol, before it kills you

From 1 Samuel: A 6-Week Devotional

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1 Samuel 5

Beauty. Health. Success. Money. Power. Love. We may not literally bow to a golden statue, like Dagon, but we put these idols in God’s place all too often. We spend time checking social media for likes, money on the hottest new thing, and energy exercising for hours on end to worship gods that never satisfy us. Maybe God has asked us to lay one aside as an act of worship and sometimes He shows us our disobedience to get our attention the same way that He got the Philistines' attention by knocking down Dagon, and sending them the plagues.

The Ark of the Covenant was the symbol for Israel’s God. God is greater than any man-made idol. When the Philistines set up the Ark of the Covenant next to their god, Dagon, God put Dagon in his place (1 Samuel 5:1-5). Several times. God is persistent in getting our attention because He loves us, knows what’s best for us, and wants a relationship with us.

God is jealous for our love and will not stand for our bowing to anything less than Him.

We are all sinners and fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). Our sin separates us from God, and He relentlessly pursues us to bring us back to Him, just as He brought the ark back to Israel. It took plagues in three cities before the Philistines figured out God wanted them to return the ark to Israel (1 Samuel 5:6-11). Sometimes God will allow us to go through the same trials over and over to dethrone any god we put in His place.

God will not be mocked. To treat the ark like a good luck charm or spoil of war showed disrespect and dishonor. The Philistines had no fear of God, and Galatians 6:7 says that mockery will always have repercussions.

Sometimes, bad things are the result of our poor decisions or others’ bad choices. Sometimes, the difficulty in our lives is God just trying to give us a wake-up call that we have placed something above Him in our lives and heart to serve as a god. He is jealous for our love and will not stand for our bowing to anything less than Him.

Reflect:

  • What do you need to lay down to put God first? How can you make time and space this week to do that?
  • What does this story teach you about God? How does that new understanding of who God is change the way you approach your week?

When it comes to making a change, having someone who can encourage and support you can make all the difference. If you need someone to talk to, come by the Care Room on Sunday or reach out to a friend in your NewSpring Group.

41 of 41

Devotionals From This Study

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Session 1

When revenge kills

Have you ever been mistreated so badly you actually plotted revenge? In 1 Samuel 25, David found himself in this position. Nabal threw i...

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Session 2

How to prevent regret

Have you ever made a decision you regretted? Maybe it was last minute. Maybe it was a split-second decision. Maybe you experienced the co...

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Session 3

Between a rock and a hard place?

From working at a dead end job to kids that just won’t cooperate, we have all felt stuck. Being stuck is one of the most difficult ...

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Session 4

How to get your next big thing

High school. College. Marriage. Babies. Buying a house. The big promotion with a raise. What is your next big thing? Sometimes, we wonde...

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Session 5

What happens when your plans fall apart?

A plan is a set of actions designed to achieve a goal. While having a plan makes us feel accomplished, sometimes the best thing that can ...

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Session 6

Who to blame when things go wrong

When trouble comes in life, how do you react? Do you look for something or someone to blame? David's men did. Their homes had been at...

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Session 7

Disobedience always has consequences

Whether we are talking about stealing cookies from a cookie jar, shoving all the mess in your room under the bed, cheating on a college f...

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Session 8

The danger of jealousy

At first glance, jealousy may not seem like a major sin in our daily lives. We may get a little jealous of people from time to time, but ...

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Session 9

Why do my motives even matter?

A young man helping an elderly lady cross the street because he wants to ensure her safety has an honorable motive. However, if this same...

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Session 10

When doing the right thing gets you in trouble

1 Samuel 19 tells of a guy with a serious lifestyle problem. Saul was jealous and not able to control his emotions—to the point of ...

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Session 11

How to choose between competing loyalties

The problem with loyalty is everyone has their own definition of it. So, at some point we will find ourselves in that painful position wh...

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Session 12

How to have joy in hard times

Think back to some of the most stressful or scary moments in your life. How did you react? If you’re like most people, praising God...

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Session 13

I never thought I’d do that

One of our culture’s great weaknesses is not believing in pure evil. We want to think all people are generally good. We shake our h...

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Session 14

Is opportunity a sign of God’s approval?

Have you ever wanted something so much any opportunity to obtain it seemed like God answering your prayer? Maybe money has been tight, an...

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Session 15

When you want revenge

He is so finished! I’ll give her a piece of my mind! It’s okay, no one will ever know. This tweet will really get’em...

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Session 16

Have you ever forgotten to say thank you?

When we are in crisis mode it’s natural to look to those surrounding us for help. Thankfulness towards our rescuers comes easily du...

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Session 17

“But God, what if I did this?”

Have you ever tried to negotiate a better way with God? When we rely on our human understanding, what He asks us to do often leaves us c...

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Session 18

No more excuses

Have you ever said “enough is enough” to someone who kept making excuses?  Samuel had a moment like that with Saul in S...

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Session 19

You can’t unsee this

The Internet drama over “the dress” made people lose their minds. Some saw white and gold. Others saw black and blue. That vi...

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Session 20

I don’t want to be here anymore

“No, you can’t always get what you want. You can’t always get what you want. You can’t always get what you want, ...

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Session 21

The long road to an overnight success

David was not an “overnight success.” The unknown shepherd laid the groundwork for his victory against Goliath long before th...

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Session 22

Overcoming overwhelming obstacles

Did you know that you are the owner of a unique tool belt? It might not be an actual tool belt, but God has given each of us a unique set...

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Session 23

Repentance is more than being sorry

When Jesus began His ministry, the first verb He put in front of His followers was “repent.”  Repentance isn’t ju...

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Session 24

How to walk forward in faith

Fear is a real emotion all of us feel from time to time. No one is perfectly brave at every moment of their lives. Fear can be particular...

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Session 25

Do you blend in?

Samuel was the judge of Israel who led the nation back into the direction of God. When Samuel was ready to retire, the nation demanded a ...

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Session 26

Coincidence? I think not.

Have you ever had something happen that you just couldn't quite explain? Something you chalked up to coincidence. Maybe it’s h...

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Session 27

You can be forever changed

Change is a part of life. Some of us thrive when change happens. For others, change produces anxiety and stress. But no matter how we res...

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Session 28

When what god asks feels impossible

Being named king or queen of something sounds pretty enticing, doesn't it? Perhaps images of fame and glory come to mind when we envi...

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Session 29

Not all anger is sinful

We’ve all been angry. We’ve seen injustice, felt pain when wronged, and wanted to pinch the head off of something. We’v...

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Session 30

It’s not too late to change

“I told you so” moments are no fun if you are on the receiving end. We see one of these moments in 1 Samuel when the Israelit...

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Session 31

When impatience wins

The thing you want is so close you almost believe if you close your eyes and reach out, you can touch it. Or maybe, the thing your heart...

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Session 32

Who can you count on?

In all our relationships, we expect to be able to count on the other person. While we were growing up, we looked to our older siblings or...

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Session 33

Bite your tongue

Have you ever said something so stupid you wish life had a backspace option? Parents, have you threatened your children with an “o...

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Session 34

When hope seems unattainable

hope relationships

Hannah was loved by her husband, but her longing was for a child. Hannah kept seeing her prayer being fulfilled for others around her. Wh...

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Session 35

What if your kids aren’t really yours?

Tickle Me Elmo, Motorola StarTAC, and Super Nintendo were all must-have items at one point. When we got them, we thought we had everythin...

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Session 36

Miracles are more than moments

Most of us know of a miracle—a friend with breast cancer now cancer free; a quadruple bypass survivor walking 3 miles every day; or...

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Session 37

But God, I don’t want to

A picture recently became popular on Facebook. In it, a little girl is holding a small teddy bear. She is standing across from Jesus, who...

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Session 38

Only God can judge me

How often have you responded to a friend’s rebuke with this phrase: “Only God can judge me”? If we knew what we were a...

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Session 39

How do I know if God’s calling me?

A singular penguin waddles purposefully through the colony. The thousands of seemingly identical birds are easily distinguishable to the ...

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Session 40

Ask this when fighting a losing battle

Few things are more demoralizing than fighting a losing battle. It’s emotionally exhausting, and for Christians it’s confusin...

Read Devotional

Session 41

Kill your idol, before it kills you

Beauty. Health. Success. Money. Power. Love. We may not literally bow to a golden statue, like Dagon, but we put these idols in God&rsquo...

Read Devotional

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