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1 Sammy 4 Notes

January 9, 2011

Going through 1 Samuel with a good friend of mine and will pop on some notes from time to time.  Last week, we were on 1 Samuel 4.

The Israelites go without (the presence of) God (the ark) the first time they go up against the Philistines in this fight = 4,000 Israelites dead.  The question they ask is, “Why has THE LORD defeated us today…” – very interesting.  They don’t see this as a worldly battle in that moment, but a spiritual one, at least enough to know Who is behind it.  They then decide “to take the ark of the covenant of the Lord, so that IT may come among us and deliver us from the power of our enemies.”  Not asking God if HE would deliver them, they put their faith in a gold box.  Not good.  God ain’t a good luck charm.

Battle with Philistines, scene two – Israelites get drubbed again, only this time it’s (at least) 30,000 foot soldiers, AND the ark is captured by the Philistines, AND God uses this opportunity to kill off Eli’s sons as He foretold.

Eli’s “heart was trembling for the ark of God.”  Interesting.  Eli dies, but notice…when Eli gets the news that his sons are dead – doesn’t seemingly phase him…God told him that would happen in 1 Sam 2.  But then when he gets the news about the ark being captured, he falls over breaks his neck and dies.  Then his daughter-in-law dies in giving birth to Ichabod, and while we don’t see any more in this chapter about Ichabod, we know from 1 Sam 2, that Ichabod won’t live to old age (1 Sam 2:33) – in fact, he’ll die in the prime of life.

Eli was a part of the priestly family line that was promised by God to “walk before Me forever” (1 Sam 2:30), but because of Eli’s neglect in disciplining his boys for defiling the temple of God, he dooms the rest of his family line to dying early (“…there will not be an old man in your house”).  Didn’t see this before, but He also tells Eli that he will see the “distress of My dwelling (the ark, I guess?).”  So, Eli was also clued in that something would happen to the ark, but maybe not exactly that it would fall into the hands of the hated Philistines.  That news killed him.

It did make me think about the promise of God to the Israelites in Deut – I will never leave you or forsake you…so, I can imagine that there would have been lots of weeping and gnashing of teeth with His (the ark’s) departure from them, thinking that God had gone back on His promise.  But as we’ll see in the next few chapters, God is just allowing Himself to be captured so that He can do a little “house cleaning” behind enemy lines.

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