Highlights In Today's Reading:
Talk about being shocked! 98-year-old Eli the priest finds out his two sons are dead and the Ark of God is taken (4:17,22). A reminder of God's promised judgment on Eli (2:27-34). Talk about the fear of the Lord (11:7), read what God does to the Philistines (5:1-12). Check out their plan to get rid of the Ark (6:2-9).
The Israelites had declared war against the Philistines without seeking direction from God. When they were defeated, they asked: Wherefore hath the Lord smitten us to day before the Philistines? Let us fetch the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord . . . unto us, that, when it cometh among us, it may save us out of the hand of our enemies (4:3).
After their first defeat, they remembered that the presence of the Ark of the Covenant meant victory. Therefore, they brought it from Shiloh to the battlefield. When the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth rang again (4:5).
But, instead of victory, there was a very great slaughter; for there fell of Israel thirty thousand footmen (4:10). Israel assumed that, since the Ark was now in their camp, God would give them victory over the Philistines. And the man said unto Eli, I am he that came out of the army, and I fled to day. . . . And . . . Israel is fled before the Philistines . . . and thy two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the Ark of God is taken. . . . He (Eli) fell from off the seat backward by the side of the gate, and his neck brake, and he died (4:16-18).
They had taken the Ark to the battlefield, but they had not repented of their sins nor considered how they had rejected the Lord's Commandments. Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods . . . and prepare your hearts unto the Lord, and serve Him only (7:3).
Some Christians suffer defeat because they are more concerned with outward things appearing right than they are with desiring the Lord to control their lives. Just as the Ark in itself could not save Israel, neither could sacrifice or mere formality in worship take the place of returning unto the Lord with all your hearts.
A vital question was asked by Jesus: Why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? (Luke 6:46).
Thought for Today:
The instructions of God for our lives are not burdensome, but will keep us from spiritual defeat.
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 (Pss. 18:2; 121:2). I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me (Phil. 4:13).
4:1 pitched =b> encamped; 4:9 quit yourselves like men =b> be courageous and exercise all the strength you have; 4:12 his clothes rent . . . earth upon his head =b> signs of great sorrow; 4:13 trembled =b> deeply stirred; 4:18 judged =b> governed; 4:19 travailed =b> gave birth; 5:6 emerods =b> tumors, boils; 6:2 diviners =b> fortune-tellers; 6:5 images =b> likenesses; 6:6 had wrought wonderfully =b> did mighty things; 6:7 milch kine =b> heifers, milk cows; 6:8 coffer =b> chest; 6:14 clave =b> split; 7:3 strange =b> foreign, false; 7:10 discomfited them =b> confused them in a panic.
Pray for International Shortwave Broadcasts to the Middle East sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Casmir A. Zuranski • Bible Pathway Media Producer: Rick Hash • Government Officials: Rep. Paul Kanjorski (PA), Rep. Chellie Pingree (ME), and Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (GA) • Country: Georgia (5.38 million) west and central Transcaucasia between Asia and Europe • Major languages: Georgian and Russian • Religious opposition to Christianity • 57% Georgian (and Russian) Orthodox; 21.2% Muslim; 5% Armenian Apostolic; .8% Catholic (Greek-Catholic); .5% Protestant (mainly Baptist); .5% Jewish; 15% Atheist/Agnostic • Prayer Suggestion: Pray for boldness to tell others about the Lord (Acts 4:29).
Optional Reading: Acts 3
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 6