Posts Tagged ‘Eli’

1 Samuel 4

1 Samuel 4 has the Israelites facing the Philistines.  “The Philistines drew up in line against Israel, and when the battle spread, Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who killed about four thousand men on the field of battle”.  That didn’t go as the Israelites expected.  Where was God in all this?  How could He allow them to be defeated?  So they decide to take another stab at it.  God must have been asleep.  This time they will take the ark of the covenant with them as they try again.

The Israelites give a large shout as the ark is brought into the middle of their camp.  The Philistines heard it from a distance, and were afraid that God would join the battle this time.  So the Philistine leaders said “Take courage, and be men, O Philistines, lest you become slaves to the Hebrews as they have been to you; be men and fight”.  They were rallying the troops to get ready for round two, and not to be afraid.  They meet again in battle a second time and this time they really defeat the Israelites, killing 30,000 foot soldiers.

But even worse, the Philistines captured the ark.  One of the warriors ran back to the city to let everyone know that the battle had been lost.  Hophni and Phinehas were dead – and the ark was captured.  This messenger came to Eli, who was 98 years old, blind and well overweight.  “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”.  It didn’t take long for the entire family of Eli to be dead.

He had judged Israel 40 years.  His sons ended up being his downfall.  But as death was having its way with the men, Phinehas’ wife was pregnant and ready to give birth.  She does, and dies giving birth to her son names Ichabod.  That name means “The glory has departed from Israel because the ark of God had been captured and because of her father-in-law and her husband “.  God has allowed the ark to be grabbed and is sitting on the sideline as the people of Israel self-destruct.

1 Samuel 3

1 Samuel 3 has God coming to Samuel.  It was a bit unusual because “the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision”.  It seems that God had hidden His truth from them, but scripture says “the lamp of God had not yet gone out”.  As Samuel was lying in bed, “the Lord called Samuel, and he said, Here I am”.  Samuel awoke and quickly ran to Eli and said “here I am, for you called me”.  But Eli hadn’t called, it was God Himself who was calling.

God called again, and Samuel came and found out Eli hadn’t called.  It happened a third time, and “then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the young man”.  Samuel hadn’t been connected with God yet.  Scripture says “Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him”.  But Eli gave Samuel direction on what to do.  “Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant hears”.  So Eli returned to bed and as you might expect, the Lord called again.

And the Lord told Samuel “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end”.  You may recall that Eli’s sons were very disobedient to living according to God’s direction.  They were rebels and focused on themselves rather than obedience.  God did not forget.  “I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them”.

Parenting obviously matters in the eyes of the Lord.  Eli’s sin here was that he did not take action when his adult sons were violating God’s laws.  These weren’t kids – they were grown up – yet God holds Eli accountable as the father to intercede in their behavior.  Samuel knows the word from the Lord was not something Eli would like to hear, so he doesn’t run in there and tell him. “Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli” but Eli presses him for the truth and “Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him”.  It was a heavy load but Eli accepts it.  And now scripture tells us “Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground”.  He is becoming the Lord’s voice.

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