Month: October 2018

October 3, 2018

1 Samuel 4 – 2018-10-03

  • Bible Text: 1 Samuel 4:13-22 13 When he arrived, Eli was sitting on his seat by the road watching, for his heart trembled for the ark of God. And when the man came into the city and told the news, all the city cried out. 14 When Eli heard the sound of the outcry, he said, “What is this uproar?” Then the man hurried and came and told Eli. 15 Now Eli was ninety-eight years old and his eyes were set so that he could not see. 16 And the man said to Eli, “I am he who has come from the battle; I fled from the battle today.” And he said, “How did it go, my son?” 17 He who brought the news answered and said, “Israel has fled before the Philistines, and there has also been a great defeat among the people. Your two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been captured.” 18 As soon as he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell over backward from his seat by the side of the gate, and his neck was broken and he died, for the man was old and heavy. He had judged Israel forty years. 19 Now his daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant, about to give birth. And when she heard the news that the ark of God was captured, and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she bowed and gave birth, for her pains came upon her. 20 And about the time of her death the women attending her said to her, “Do not be afraid, for you have borne a son.” But she did not answer or pay attention. 21 And she named the child Ichabod, saying, “The glory has departed from Israel!” because the ark of God had been captured and because of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 And she said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.”
  • Reflection & Application
  • 1 Samuel 4
    • Eli’s sin as the spiritual leader of Israel was not that he did not know what was right and wrong.  It was that he did not take action according to his beliefs.  In short, his sin was passivity.  Reflect on the tragic outcome of Eli’s passivity.  How was God’s name dishonored?  Who are the people who suffered the consequences of his passivity?
    • How do these themes play out in my life?
  • Prayer
October 2, 2018

1 Samuel 4 – 2018-10-02

  • Bible Text1 Samuel 4:1-22 (ESV)

    1 And the word of Samuel came to all Israel.

    Now Israel went out to battle against the Philistines. They encamped at Ebenezer, and the Philistines encamped at Aphek. 2 The Philistines drew up in line against Israel, and when the battle spread, Israel was defeated before the Philistines, who killed about four thousand men on the field of battle. 3 And when the people came to the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord here from Shiloh, that it may come among us and save us from the power of our enemies.” 4 So the people sent to Shiloh and brought from there the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts, who is enthroned on the cherubim. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.

    5 As soon as the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel gave a mighty shout, so that the earth resounded. 6 And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shouting, they said, “What does this great shouting in the camp of the Hebrews mean?” And when they learned that the ark of the Lord had come to the camp, 7 the Philistines were afraid, for they said, “A god has come into the camp.” And they said, “Woe to us! For nothing like this has happened before. 8 Woe to us! Who can deliver us from the power of these mighty gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with every sort of plague in the wilderness. 9 Take courage, and be men, O Philistines, lest you become slaves to the Hebrews as they have been to you; be men and fight.”

    10 So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and they fled, every man to his home. And there was a very great slaughter, for thirty thousand foot soldiers of Israel fell. 11 And the ark of God was captured, and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died.

    12 A man of Benjamin ran from the battle line and came to Shiloh the same day, with his clothes torn and with dirt on his head. 13 When he arrived, Eli was sitting on his seat by the road watching, for his heart trembled for the ark of God. And when the man came into the city and told the news, all the city cried out. 14 When Eli heard the sound of the outcry, he said, “What is this uproar?” Then the man hurried and came and told Eli. 15 Now Eli was ninety-eight years old and his eyes were set so that he could not see.     16 And the man said to Eli, “I am he who has come from the battle; I fled from the battle today.” And he said, “How did it go, my son?” 17 He who brought the news answered and said, “Israel has fled before the Philistines, and there has also been a great defeat among the people. Your two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been captured.”    18 As soon as he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell over backward from his seat by the side of the gate, and his neck was broken and he died, for the man was old and heavy. He had judged Israel forty years.

    19 Now his daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant, about to give birth. And when she heard the news that the ark of God was captured, and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she bowed and gave birth, for her pains came upon her. 20 And about the time of her death the women attending her said to her, “Do not be afraid, for you have borne a son.” But she did not answer or pay attention. 21 And she named the child Ichabod, saying, “The glory has departed from Israel!” because the ark of God had been captured and because of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 And she said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.”

  • Reflection & Application
    • 1 Samuel 4[The elders] were right in assuming that the Lord was responsible for their defeat, but wrong in thinking that a parade of the ark of the covenant would compensate for their neglect of the Lord’s ethical demands.  The ‘ark’ or ‘chest’ contained the very law of God to which Israel was committed under the covenant initiated by the Lord himself.  To think that the presence of the ark with them would reverse their fortunes without any changes of heart in Israel’s leaders was a measure of their insensitivity to spiritual things. [1]
      • What are some ways in which people today might seek a sense of God’s presence or blessing in inauthentic or impersonal ways while ignoring the real state of their heart before God?
      • Why would people do this?
      • Why would this be offensive to God?

      1 Samuel 4:11

      • What can I learn from the fact that God allowed “the ark of God” to be captured by the Philistines?
      • If there is a situation in which honoring God’s values will also lead to a public embarrassment to his reputation, what should be done?

      [1] Joyce G. Baldwin, 1 & 2 Samuel, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity, 1988) 69.

  • Prayer
October 1, 2018

1 Samuel 3 – 2018-10-01

  • Journal
  • Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:
  • Bible Text: 1 Samuel 3:15-21 (ESV) 15 Samuel lay until morning; then he opened the doors of the house of the Lord. And Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. 16 But Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son.” And he said, “Here I am.” 17 And Eli said, “What was it that he told you? Do not hide it from me. May God do so to you and more also if you hide anything from me of all that he told you.” 18 So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. And he said, “It is the Lord. Let him do what seems good to him.”19 And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground.  20 And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the Lord. 21 And the Lord appeared again at Shiloh, for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord.

 

  • Reflection & Application: 
  • 1 Samuel 3:15-18
  • Samuel is called to deliver a harsh message of judgment that is necessary if there is to be a hopeful new beginning for Israel in this trying time. […] The call is to a prophetic task. […] This text reminds us of the spiritual challenges and social transformations that God’s call brings.  We are urged not only to discern God’s voice but to listen to what it asks of us as well.  We are called to become the channel for God’s prophetic word to our own time. [1]
    • Are there any situations where I am tempted to hold back from telling the truth?
    • Reflect on Eli’s passivity regarding his sons and now God’s impending judgment.  Are there similar ways in which I am passive about my relationship with God and with others?

    1 Samuel 3:1, 19-21

    The chapter opens with the absence of God’s word and ends with the proclamation of God’s word through Samuel.  The story opens with corrupt and discredited religious leadership in place and closes with new and vigorous leadership, recognized by all Israel.  We are being prepared to recognize that, in the difficult days of social upheaval ahead for Israel, there is already a new beginning: God’s initiative for new possibilities in spite of the failure and the passing away of old patterns. [2]

    • In the midst of a very discouraging period in which the “word of the Lord was rare” (v.1) and in which the religious leaders were corrupt, how did Samuel’s life bring God’s presence back to Israel?  Reflect on the importance of one person.

    [1] Bruce C. Birch, “The First and Second Book of Samuel,” New Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. II (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1998) 994.

    [2] Bruce C. Birch, “The First and Second Book of Samuel,” New Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. II (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1998) 994.

  • Prayer
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