My toilet is pretty useless.
All I want from a toilet is to be able to sit down, do my business, flush and move on. Unfortunately my toilet isn’t great at performing the final stage of this process, which means flushing it can be a bit of a problem.
Take a few weeks ago for example: no matter how hard I yanked down the handle the contents of the toilet wasn’t going anywhere. I was starting to sweat a little bit…I had been in there for a while already and my housemates must have thought something was seriously wrong…!
This continued for about ten minutes before I reached breaking point. Frustrated, I turned to God for some divine assistance-
“God, I know that this sounds ridiculous but can you help me out here?! I really need this toilet to flush!”
I nervously pulled down the flush and… TADAAA! Everything worked perfectly.
Whilst this was a massive relief, it made me realise something- that simple desperate prayer had been the first time I’d spoken to God that day.
I’d ignored God when everything was going well, or even just plodding along as normal, and I had limited Him down to a form of lucky charm for when things go wrong.
In the Old Testament the Israelites treat God in this way time and time again, shutting Him out until the last minute. On many occasions they end up at war with the Philistines but there’s one moment where things get particularly bad- Israel lose around 400 men(slightly more serious than my situation!) and things don’t look like they’re gonna get much better. So all of the elders get together and this is what they decide:
“Why did the LORD bring defeat upon us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the LORD’s covenant from Shiloh, so that it may go with us and save us from the hand of our enemies.” (1 Samuel 4:3)
The Israelites realise that they’re in big trouble and are definitely not strong enough to defeat the Philistines by themselves, so they decide it’s time to turn to God. The toilet just wont’ flush, and they’ve got no other choice.
Problem is that their attitudes are all wrong up until this point; the Israelites have abandoned God, worshipping false idols as His replacement. They haven’t lived in a way that honours Him and now he’s become nothing more to them than a plan B. They might recognise God as their saviour, but they haven’t been living as if He’s their LORD.
The Israelites go ahead confident of victory because they know from past experience that this sort of thing has worked before.
But God isn’t interested in formulas or religion, He wants relationship.
What happens next shows us that the plan hasn’t worked at all: the Israelites lose in spectacular style- 30,000 soldiers are killed and the ark of God is carried away by the Philistines! Things couldn’t get much worse than that.
It’s so easy in the midst of life to shut God out almost completely. We can become comfortable in the knowledge that God loves us and then forget that relationship with Him should be 2-way. When we turn to God with all of our lives we experience life in all of its fullness. Later in 1 Samuel the Israelites put away their false idols and fully give their lives back to Him, and through this genuine relationship they are delivered from the Philistines.
God is more than a helpline- He’s our father and He wants a living daily relationship with us, built on love, not religion. Let’s actively seek to honour Him with all of our lives and experience the joy that comes through it.
Soul61 intern for Soul Action