I Samuel 4 – From bad to worse

I am amazed at how quickly things will go from bad to much worse when we apply our hand to a situation. The elders of Israel went from a right understanding of their situation (“Why has the LORD defeated us today before the Philistines?” vs. 3) to such a horribly wrong application and plan of action (“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.” vs 3b)

So they took the ark of the covenant, with Hophni and Phinehas, to the army camp. It temporarily caused great joy among the soldiers, which in turn temporarily caused great fear among the Philistines. The Philistines “Man up” here, defeat the Israelites and capture the ark. As prophesied Eli’s sons die on the same day, Eli hears it and dies too along with his daughter-in-law who ends the chapter and her life with this statement: “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.” vs. 22

We can’t wrangle God or his power and presence to “fix” our circumstances. Knowing that God has brought about the circumstances should lead to a peaceful submission or a repentant heart but not to a pragmatic approach to solving our problems “using” his attributes and not seeking Him. God is God! He will act as he does. He can not be tamed, so to speak, or made to act in a certain way because we know certain things about him.

This is a fierce chapter. I know that I don’t really get it all, but it causes me to consider for what purposes do I seek God and hope or expect him to act in my own life.

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