by Christina Farris
1 And the word of Samuel came to all Israel. Now Israel went out against the Philistines to battle, and pitched beside Ebenezer: and the Philistines pitched in Aphek.
2 And the Philistines put themselves in array against Israel: and when they joined battle, Israel was smitten before the Philistines: and they slew of the army in the field about four thousand men.
3 And when the people were come into the camp, 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 out of Shiloh unto us, that, when it cometh among us, it may save us out of the hand of our enemies.
4 So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from thence the ark of the covenant of the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth between the cherubims: and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.
5 And 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.
6 And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, What meaneth the noise of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews? And they understood that the ark of the LORD was come into the camp.
7 And the Philistines were afraid, for they said, God is come into the camp. And they said, Woe unto us! for there hath not been such a thing heretofore.
8 Woe unto us! who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty Gods? these are the Gods that smote the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness.
9 Be strong, and quit yourselves like men, O ye Philistines, that ye be not servants unto the Hebrews, as they have been to you: quit yourselves like men, and fight.
10 And the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and they fled every man into his tent: and there was a very great slaughter; for there fell of Israel thirty thousand footmen.
11 And the ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain.
12 And there ran a man of Benjamin out of the army, and came to Shiloh the same day with his clothes rent, and with earth upon his head.
13 And when he came, lo, Eli sat upon a seat by the wayside watching: for his heart trembled for the ark of God. And when the man came into the city, and told it, all the city cried out.
14 And when Eli heard the noise of the crying, he said, What meaneth the noise of this tumult? And the man came in hastily, and told Eli.
15 Now Eli was ninety and eight years old; and his eyes were dim, that he could not see.
16 And the man said unto Eli, I am he that came out of the army, and I fled to day out of the army. And he said, What is there done, my son?
17 And the messenger answered and said, Israel is fled before the Philistines, and there hath been also a great slaughter among the people, and thy two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God is taken.
18 And it came to pass, when he made mention of the ark of God, that he fell from off the seat backward by the side of the gate, and his neck brake, and he died: for he was an old man, and heavy. And he had judged Israel forty years.
19 And his daughter in law, Phinehas' wife, was with child, near to be delivered: and when she heard the tidings that the ark of God was taken, and that her father in law and her husband were dead, she bowed herself and travailed; for her pains came upon her.
20 And about the time of her death the women that stood by her said unto her, Fear not; for thou hast born a son. But she answered not, neither did she regard it.
21 And she named the child Ichabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel: because the ark of God was taken, and because of her father in law and her husband.
22 And she said, The glory is departed from Israel: for the ark of God is taken. Looking today at the time period when Eli the judge of Israel would die, according to prophesy and his sons died too. Now who is Eli but not only a judge but a priest over the house of God, and he was given Samuel to raise. Eli would die with the news that the ark was taken and his sons were dead. The general belief is God was in the ark and when the ark left the power of God left Israel. No Samuel was next in line for office as a prophet of Israel. God still had his people in Israel, the missing ark was taken by the Philistines who thought the power of God was in the ark itself. And though God was in ark and his glory surrounded the ark, God was not absent from Israel spiritually, only his ark was moved.
We have to get away from the object of worship and focus on God without the object in place. The ark would be returned, for God's power would be demonstrated to Philistines through the ark of the covenant that was taken. The religious object of God would demonstrate would cause great fear among the heathens of the land. Yet you have to read the next chapters to know this. We are focusing on today the fact because this object of God is stolen the power of God left Israel. No the object in the land became so powerful because of how God used it to demonstrate his power in Israel to Israel. This one ark would cause writers of Raiders of the Lost Ark to make a movie about it being missing and the search for it to continue. When we define God to one thing, to one object we fail to see the power beyond the ark and sometimes miss the power of the ark to return by its own power. Either God is in the ark or he is not, either his power alone rest on that ark or it does not. Yet is God more then this one object. Israel had a need of this object of God. It keep Israel in obedience to God knowing his power reigned even over the enemy that would try and remove God from Israel.
If we believe in Genesis 1:2 that the Spirit of God hovered over the waters, then we have to redefine our thinking to also understand God is bigger then the ark, or is capable of being not confined by a box. If God is able to form the earth into a ball how big is God's hands. If God footstool how big is his throne. Only the idea of God and his power is stolen from Israel, the object is stolen, but the vastness of God was lost long ago, by the confining of the object of the ark. And perhaps God made the ark his home because of the fear the people had of this big huge God of theirs. Yet God in truth is greater and larger then we can imagine, we can not put God in box, or contain him in a house built for him. He is not contained in one soul life but the life of many believers.
Sometimes the experience with God allows us to think of God only applying to ourselves, it is better when we see God working in a group of people or in the world, through song, through healing, through faith, through changing of times, to understand God's power through his word, through his Son, through the Holy Spirit. If a church is torn down is God gone? Only if it is a building God resided in and was welcome in. If God's Spirit is not allowed, then the church is already destroy by the absence of God's Spirit only if God's people are completely removed from the building. Yes there are times church people of unbelief out weighs the people of faith, and that is where those of faith need to rise up and testify of the works of God. If God's people are removed, and the Bible is the only left is God still present in the church? If the Bible is removed then there is nothing left if all the people of faith are removed and God's spirit is no longer welcome. Think again God is everywhere.
The other day i was reminded that gay people were not welcome at one restaurant as i watch a group of believers sing songs of faith in the middle of the restaurant. The event to not love gay's was in vogue at the time they were not welcome. The event to hate all those who sin was at the forefront, so in truth I guess people hated themselves that were trying to correct another sin. God hover over the waters, He made the earth and the creation on the earth. Imagine his hands working like some do on tiny models. Despite the littlest seed being planted by his large hands, his feet resting on the highest hill, making it flat perhaps. Yet even so he able to crush all people of sin, and yet all he ask is for us to believe. For us to understand he more then just the God in the temple, but a big God that props his feet upon the earth, that does not crush a soul, unless the judgment of unbelief and sin occurs.
If God is able to remove evil on his own, why do we have too? perhaps because when evil begins to get in the way of human decency, Man's power to control is seen through theft of God to the return of God. No man can not control whether God is stolen, God just let Philistines think they stole the ark. If you lossing a battle by people who suppose to trust you, then you got to see that the story of helen of troy first began with the story of God rolling into the enemy land, to destroy it, showing Israel he could still fight the fight for them without their ability. There is some sin that needs removing in people life we need to just allow God to remove and not try and force the issue, because we do not understand the problem. Then there other sin that need correcting because it harming the innocent by the laws standard of living.
The biggest sin of the people is not realizing how big God truly is, to think your God can be absent when he is truly there. Understand the awesomeness of God's mercy in our sin, as well as in our purity and holiness to be like Christ, we must understand that God is desiring to clean the areas of our life that is deep in sin, by first making us aware he is still among us, even if we are not in his house, or town. God is still there for us, surrounding us, even in our failings. God knows our humanity. If you anti gay can you love the gay person, the bully, the religious fundamentalist, the killer, the thief, the person seep in sexual immorality, the person seeped in unbelief. God not confine by location. It time we start proving to our government that them trying to shut church doors with cov19 is not going to stop us from praising God on the streets or in places of business, our voices will be heard and rivals will break out. May the voice of testimony ring out in our land that God is still here among us and is not going anywhere.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for not being confined by objects, buildings, or one's personal heart. Thank you for creating our earth to be your footstool. In Jesus precious name, Amen.
Continual Scripture Study:Isaiah 66:1-5 KJV
1 Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?
2 For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.
3 He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog's neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine's blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations.
4 I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.
5 Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name's sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.