Tuesday 20 September, 2016

1 Samuel 4:12-22

12 That same day a man from the tribe of Benjamin ran from the front lines of the battle. He went to Shiloh. His clothes were torn. He had dust on his head. 13 When he arrived, there was Eli sitting on his chair. He was by the side of the road. He was watching because his heart was really concerned about the ark of God. The man entered the town and told everyone what had happened. Then the whole town cried out. 14 Eli heard the people crying out. He asked, “What’s the meaning of all this noise?” The man hurried over to Eli. 15 Eli was 98 years old. His eyes were so bad he couldn’t see. 16 The man told Eli, “I’ve just come from the front lines of the battle. I just ran away from there today.” Eli asked, “What happened, son?” 17 The man who brought the news replied, “Israel ran away from the Philistines. Large numbers of men in the army were wounded or killed. Your two sons Hophni and Phinehas are also dead. And the ark of God has been captured.” 18 When the man spoke about the ark of God, Eli fell backward off his chair. He had been sitting by the side of the gate. When he fell, he broke his neck and died. He was old and fat. He had led Israel for 40 years. 19 The wife of Phinehas was pregnant. She was Eli’s daughter-in-law. It was near the time for her baby to be born. She heard the news that the ark of God had been captured. She heard that her father-in-law and her husband were dead. So she went into labor and had her baby. Her pain was more than she could bear. 20 As she was dying, the women helping her spoke up. They said, “Don’t be afraid. You have had a son.” But she didn’t reply. She didn’t pay any attention. 21 She named the boy Ichabod. She said, “The God of glory has left Israel.” She said it because the ark of God had been captured. She also said it because her father-in-law and her husband had died. 22 She said, “The God of glory has left Israel.” She said it because the ark of God had been captured.

A runner arrives from the battlefront with devastating news. Israel is defeated, the Ark of God captured & Eli’s sons killed. At the news, Eli himself dies. Then his daughter-in-law goes into labour and also dies. The prophecies of the death & judgement upon Eli & his family given in 2:27-34 & again in 3:11-14 are fulfilled.

The Ark – the glory of God – the presence of God as Israel knew it, is gone. This is the first time the Ark has been taken from Israel. This is what Eli and his daughter-in-law reacted to, God was gone.

We don’t ever have to have that fear. Jesus and the presence of God can not be taken from us by force. No matter where we go His presence is already there, it goes along with us and through the Holy Spirit lives in us. I can no longer imagine life without God, He is my constant, always with me, and my life with Him will never end.

I am forever grateful.

Written by Suzie Hodgson

2 replies
  1. Zoe Stewart says:

    So Good!! We are so blessed! Forever together never to be seperated. Not in life or in death. Thanks Suzie for this reminder today.

  2. Richard says:

    1 Samuel 4:12-22

    A battle is waged and Israel is defeated. The sons of Eli are killed and importantly the Ark of the Covenant is captured.

    For Israel the Ark of the Covenant was the very presence of God with them. When it was in the temple or the tabernacle then God was present to the Israelites. If for some reason it was captured then there were problems, God had left the nation and that meant His blessing and favour had gone, His protection withdrawn.

    This was the first time the Ark had been captured from the Israelites and Eli the leader of the nation knew what it meant. So concerned was he that he fell off his chair in shock and horror and died. For Eli to lose the Ark was to lose God, a prospect so terrible he did not want to contemplate it.

    For me this begs the question about my desire for the Holy Spirit to dwell in me. Do I crave the Holy Spirit’s indwelling? Do I look to make the Holy Spirit welcome in my life through my actions and attitudes or do I grieve the Holy Spirit. David, after his sin with Bathsheba, famously says “do not take your Holy Spirit from me” in Ps. 51.

    I need to crave the Lord being with me. To take decisions and actions that truly give room for the Spirit to be at work in me.

    Father help me to bring honour and glory to You. May I live in a manner that makes the Holy Spirit truly welcome in my life.

[comments section is closed]