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April 17, 2019

Please read today’s Scriptures and use the comment section on this page to share your insights from today’s reading. You can also just mention a verse that impacted you or post a question!

Read (and Hear) the Bible in One Year
Christian Standard Bible for 2019

Text: 1 Kings 12-14
Audio: 1 Kings 12-14

You can use the audio Bible as a guide to help “set the pace” as you read along.

1 Samuel 4 (ESV)

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. 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. 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.” 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.

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. 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, 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.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.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.”

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Next: 1 Samuel 5

Back: 1 Samuel 3

This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. The Solution To Defeat?

    What a tragic chapter on many fronts. Not only did the Philistines kill around 4,000 men of Israel in battle, they believed the reason they lost was because the ark of the covenant was not with them. Although they knew victory and defeat depended on the Lord's presence, they failed to realize the ark did not just symbolize God's presence but it represented His actually presence. 

    What they would soon realize is even with the ark of the covenant victory was not guaranteed, and they once again fell to the Philistines (this time 30,000 soldiers fell). 

    This reminds me of people who have a form or appearance of godliness but deny it's power (2 Timothy 3:5).

    Religion never saved anyone. There is no power in religion unless it is in a context of relationship (specifically with God the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ). The people of Israel at that time did not even know they were missing the relational aspect of God in their lives (His presence). 

    Notice their solution to the first defeat? Was it to pray? Was it to repent? Was it to devote themselves to trusting God for provision?

    No. It was to look for an object to empower them and bring them victory. The reduces the ark of the covenant to nothing more than a good-luck charm.

    May we never fall into the trap of a religion that is not based in a personal relationship with the God of the Bible through Jesus Christ. 

    When we face battles, may we seek the presence of God and not settle for mere representations of Him.

  2. The Israelites thought having the ark with them would give them success. There is no power to be found in religious icons, no matter what they are or where they're from. Having a religious icon in your home or hanging from your rear view mirror offers no power or protection in and of itself. God detests our placing our hope in anything or anyone but Him…and Him alone! 

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