Pep Rallies Don’t Win Battles

When the ark of the covenant of the LORD entered the camp, all the Israelites raised such a loud shout that the ground shook. – 1 Samuel 4:5

group of people raise their hands on stadium
Photo by Josh Sorenson on

As with all Scripture, context matters. Consider the context for the verse above.

Israel’s arch-enemy, the dreaded Philistines, moved out to attack them and in a fearful reaction to the threat the tribes of Israel removed the ark of the covenant from the tabernacle in Shiloh and took it into battle. First Samuel 4:5 pictures the excitement they all felt at this development. If “pep rallies” won battles, the victory had just been won. Unfortunately, Israel’s excitement wasn’t enough. They lost the succeeding battle … miserably … and the ark was captured by the Philistines.

Through this experience the Israelites should have learned something. Excitement might rally the army, but real and present power wins battles. The memory of past victories is not sufficient when facing a present and current enemy and while blessed assurance is a wonderful gift of God’s grace, it does not mean we can ignore the daily … rather moment-by-moment necessity of cultivating a heart that “abides.” Abiding in Jesus Christ is a discipline and no matter how big your weekly “pep rally” … no matter how loud your praise and worship … God must be present in you in order to gain the victory.

The reason why many fail in battle is because they wait until the hour of battle. The reason why others succeed is because they have gained their victory on their knees long before the battle came. – R. A. Torrey

Published by Dr. David Pope

Dr. David Pope is the Founder and CEO of Pope Initiatives. ARM Solutions is a division of Pope Initiatives that exists to activate collaborative efforts for sustainable impact among the global unreached.

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