So one morning, as it grew darker instead of lighter, thanks to more rain moving in, I was reading in 1 Samuel and came to this:
The Samuel said, “Gather all Israel to Mizpah and I will pray to the Lord for you.” They gathered to Mizpah, and drew water and poured it out before the Lord, and fasted on that day and said there, “We have sinned against the Lord.” 1 Samuel 7:5-6
The phrase “drew water and poured it out before the Lord” caught my attention. Drawing water is something I've been doing it since my years in Ecuador where we were careful to keep water drawn because we never knew when they'd turn off the power and water, and it's something I'm still doing when I see storms rolling and water rising. But why did they pour it out before the Lord? I thought maybe it was part of a ceremony that I had missed in the times I've read through the Bible, but as I cross referenced it, look what I found...
pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us.
Arise, cry aloud in the night
at the beginning of the night watches;
pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord;
lift up your hands to Him...
Then I turned to my commentaries and the gist of it was that it was a sincere prayer, an unleashing of the innermost thoughts and emotions and sharing them with the Lord.
It made me stop and think about all that's going on in my life right now. Sometimes I feel like it's as crowded with jugs as my counter was. It made me realized I hadn't poured out much water before the Lord recently. I was carefully clutching it to myself, scared I'd drop something important.
Just like I drew the water to be poured out and drunk, I need to pour out my soul to God as Hannah had (1 Samuel 1:15) and as Israel did. And look at the results of their sincere repentance and prayer: The Philistines attacked!
I bet that is NOT the response they were looking for from God! I bet that I kinda understand their feelings to some small degree. In my mind, the enemy's attack shouldn't follow my repentance, yet so very often it does.
Thankfully, the account doesn't end there!
Now Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, and the Philistine drew near to battle against Israel. But the Lord thundered with a great thunder on that day against the Philistines and confused them, so that they were routed before Israel. 1 Sam. 7:10
God fought their battle for them. And I have a feeling God's thunder is so much more than the thunder that's been rolling around here, and the rumbles in my life.
God's response and protection came after they had poured out all that water, all those innermost thoughts and emotions and sincere prayers, before the Lord.
I don't know about you, but I have some pouring out to do...