Sh’mu’el addressed all the people of Isra’el; he said: “If you are returning to Adonai with all your heart, then be done with the foreign gods and ‘ashtarot that you have with you, and direct your hearts to Adonai . If you will serve only him, he will rescue you from the power of the P’lishtim.”
Israel had fallen into idolatry and sin. They knew The LORD, but had turned to others. They effectively turned away His presence and protection, which left them vulnerable to destruction from outside forces. In order to reverse that, they had to welcome His presence by clearing away all the things that are contrary. The LORD must have a place prepared for Him to dwell in our hearts and our lives.