I Samuel 7:3 And Samuel said to the whole house of Israel, “If you are returning to the LORD with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the LORD and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.”
Intention and action aren’t always the same thing. Samuel surely knew the history of the Israelite people and wanted to be certain they were serious this time. We find them in chapter 7 crying out to the Lord for help. They were sorrowful and repentant and ready to return to God. But God also knew the hearts of His people. In Isaiah 29:13, the Lord says, “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.” We should know that God is not after religion; even though He made the rules, He isn’t as concerned about them as He is the hearts of man. He wants our hearts, not just our words.
Because if we only give Him our words and not our hearts, our words are empty. They mean nothing. So Samuel tells the people here in verse 3, if you really mean it… if you are REALLY returning to the Lord then prove it with your actions. Get rid of your foreign gods and idols! God wants to be the only one; He doesn’t want to share an apartment with idols and false gods. He doesn’t room with anyone, well, except the trinity (which is really Himself anyways). Have you ever shared an apartment with someone? Did you find that you had to make concessions? Did you find yourself having to adjust to the lifestyle of the person or people you were living with? God doesn’t do that.
Yet we ask Him to move into the apartment of our hearts with a bunch of roommates. He says, “it’s crowded in here.” You tell Him that He can have the master bedroom. You tell Him that He can have most of the space in the fridge and even in the cupboards. He says, “it’s crowded in here.” You tell Him that you will move the idol roommates out to the garage or into the hall closet. His response? “It’s crowded in here.” You see, God doesn’t want to share you. He wants your whole heart. So we must heed the words spoken by Samuel: if you are returning to the Lord with your whole heart, get rid of all the idols and the stuff that you serve other than Him. Don’t make God number one in your life; make Him the only one in your life.