Talk about being shocked! Ninety-eight-year-old Eli the priest hears that they lost the war, his two sons were killed, and the Ark of God is taken (I Sam. 4:17,22). A reminder of the judgment of God (2:27-34). See what God did to the Philistines (5:1-12), and their plan to get rid of the Ark (6:2-9).
Verse for Today:
Put away the strange gods . . . from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the Lord . . . serve Him only: and He will deliver you (I Sam. 7:3).
The hostile Philistines lived on the coastal plains of the Mediterranean Sea, on the southwestern border of Israel. And when they joined battle, Israel was smitten (defeated) before the Philistines (4:2). In desperation, the elders of Israel said, Wherefore hath the Lord smitten us to day before the Philistines? Let us fetch the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord . . . that . . . it may save us out of the hand of our enemies (4:3).
As the Israelites marched into battle against the Philistines, they were confident of victory. And when the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout (4:5). But the two evil sons of Eli who carried the Ark knew not the Lord (2:12).
Eli, the old and blind judge, sat near the Tabernacle anxious to hear the outcome of the battle. A messenger reported: Israel is fled before the Philistines, and there hath been . . . a great slaughter . . . thy two sons . . . Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the Ark of God is taken. . . . when he (the messenger) made mention of the Ark of God . . . he (Eli) fell . . . backward . . . and he died (4:17-18).
When Israel was again threatened by war with the Philistines, Samuel spake unto all . . . Israel . . . prepare your hearts unto the Lord, and serve Him only: and He will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines. . . . And Samuel said . . . I will pray for you unto the Lord. . . . they . . . said . . . We have sinned against the Lord (7:3,5-6). When the Philistines learned that the Israelites were worshiping God, they assumed it was an opportune time to attack them. And as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel: but the Lord thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited (overcame) them (7:10-13).
God protects and provides for anyone who is obedient to His Word.
Thought for Today:
Let us hold fast (firmly) the profession of our faith without wavering; (for He is faithful that promised;) (Heb. 10:23).
Through the rock called Ebenezer, which means the stone of help (I Sam. 7:12). Jesus is our Rock of salvation; our help comes from Him (Ps. 18:2; 121:2). I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me (Phil. 4:13).
4:1 pitched =encamped; 4:9 quit yourselves like men =be courageous and exercise all the strength you have; 4:12 his clothes rent . . . earth upon his head =signs of great sorrow; 4:19 travailed =gave birth; 5:6 emerods =tumors, hemorrhoids; 6:2 diviners =fortune-tellers; 6:6 had wrought wonderfully =did mighty things; 6:7 milch kine =heifers, milk cows; 6:8 coffer =chest; 6:14 clave =split; 7:3 strange =foreign, false; 7:10 discomfited them =confused them in a panic.
Pray for International Broadcasts sponsored by Elaine Servetto • Bible Pathway Media Producer: Rick Hash • Government Officials: Rep. Paul Kanjorski (PA), Rep. Chellie Pingree (ME), and Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (GA) • Country: Country: Cuba (11.2 million) on the northern rim of the Caribbean • Major language: Spanish • Strict government surveillance of all true Christian activities • 40% Catholic; 10% Protestant; 2-9% Santeria; 1% Other; 40% None • Prayer Suggestion: Realize that the will of God is often different from our own desires (II Cor. 12:8-9).
Optional Reading: Acts 3
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:11