Powerless Shouting in an Empty Religion

1 Samuel 4:1-11 says, “And the word of Samuel came to all Israel. Now Israel went out against the Philistines to battle, and pitched beside Ebenezer: and the Philistines pitched in Aphek. And the Philistines put themselves in array against Israel: and when they joined battle, Israel was smitten before the Philistines: and they slew of the army in the field about four thousand men. And when the people were come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, Wherefore hath the LORD smitten us to day before the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of Shiloh unto us, that, when it cometh among us, it may save us out of the hand of our enemies. So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from thence the ark of the covenant of the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth between the cherubims: and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God. And when the ark of the covenant of the LORD came into the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth rang again. And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, What meaneth the noise of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews? And they understood that the ark of the LORD was come into the camp. And the Philistines were afraid, for they said, God is come into the camp. And they said, Woe unto us! for there hath not been such a thing heretofore. Woe unto us! who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty Gods? these are the Gods that smote the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness. Be strong, and quit yourselves like men, O ye Philistines, that ye be not servants unto the Hebrews, as they have been to you: quit yourselves like men, and fight. And the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and they fled every man into his tent: and there was a very great slaughter; for there fell of Israel thirty thousand footmen. And the ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain.

Many people are so indoctrinated in church to think that it is all about a shake, dance, spin, tongue, etc., trying to prove themselves to others of having something when they have no unction, which can only be earned in prayer. If you have the Spirit of God, there will be no question; it will edify! We should pray that we have that which edifies, and the anointing and Spirit of God will prove Himself through you. Is anyone getting saved, healed, delivered or set free? Are we fulfilling our part of the Great Commission and winning souls to pull people out of hell’s flames? Signs, wonders and miracles are much more important than a bunch of religious shouting.

Take 1 Samuel 4:1-11 as a prime example. Israel was in battle with the Philistines and had lost 4000 soldiers. The elders of Israel remembered how having the Ark of God in battle before gave them victory after victory because it represented the very throne of God. They were trying to relive history, but you cannot have what they had until you do what they did. It would have been successful, but they were in error in a couple of ways.

First of all, they fetched the Ark of the Covenant last. Jehovah was not their top priority. They did what they thought carnally was best when they should have sought the kingdom of God first and His righteousness! People try to do things on their own without God’s help, direction or instruction and they can make a mess out of a whole lot of things. Zechariah 4:6 says, “Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” When we get to the place where we know it requires more of the Spirit of God than intellect and physical strength, we will see God perform marvelous works.

Secondly, sin was in the camp, and the Ark of God does no good when there is adultery and fornication in the priesthood with Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phinehas. In other words, it does no good to carry a Bible if you are not going to live by it. This pulpit is sacred ground, and no sin belongs behind it. People have lost their total fear of God, which is why we are seeing the devil wreaking so much havoc right now in this nation. The church needs a revival of purging so we can have something that intimidates our adversary.

When the Ark of the Covenant came into the camp, the children of Israel shouted with a great shout, and the Philistines understood that the Ark of the LORD came into the camp. Originally, the Philistines naturally became afraid because they remembered how God brought them out of Egypt through the various plagues, and that Ark represented that kind of God, as the Ark of God should dwell spiritually in our bodily temples. However, on that day, the Philistines slew 30,000 footmen, including the sinful priests, because it was only a bunch of empty religious, shouting. The volume of your praise can never cancel out the noise of your sin. Holiness is the best praise to offer to God because it reflects His true character and nature. The spirit of holiness is birthed through prayer. It takes a talent to preach and sing, but it requires no talent to pray. All that is required is hard work and sacrifice! Until we get serious with God on bended knees, sin will prevail in this land. It is time to quit engaging in powerless shouting in empty religion and touch the throne of God in holiness and prayer!