Thursday, June 2, 2011

1 Samuel 4:12-22

12 That same day a Benjamite ran from the battle line and went to Shiloh with his clothes torn and dust on his head. 13 When he arrived, there was Eli sitting on his chair by the side of the road, watching, because his heart feared for the ark of God. When the man entered the town and told what had happened, the whole town sent up a cry.

14 Eli heard the outcry and asked, “What is the meaning of this uproar?”

The man hurried over to Eli, 15 who was ninety-eight years old and whose eyes had failed so that he could not see. 16 He told Eli, “I have just come from the battle line; I fled from it this very day.”

Eli asked, “What happened, my son?”

17 The one who brought the news replied, “Israel fled before the Philistines, and the army has suffered heavy losses. Also your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been captured.”

18 When he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell backward off his chair by the side of the gate. His neck was broken and he died, for he was an old man, and he was heavy. He had led Israel forty years.

19 His daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant and near the time of delivery. When she heard the news that the ark of God had been captured and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she went into labor and gave birth, but was overcome by her labor pains. 20 As she was dying, the women attending her said, “Don’t despair; you have given birth to a son.” But she did not respond or pay any attention.

21 She named the boy Ichabod, saying, “The Glory has departed from Israel”—because of the capture of the ark of God and the deaths of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 She said, “The Glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.”

Questions to consider:

  • Why do you think everyone was so distressed about the capture of the ark?
  • How did Eli die?
  • What happened to Eli's daughter in law?
  • What did she name her son and why?
  • Do you think that the Glory had really departed from Israel?

Possibilities for prayer:

The fact that Phineas's wife names her newborn son Ichabod is appropriate: not only has the ark of God been captured, but God has clearly not blessed this work of the Israelites in battle. This idea of the glory of God departing is relevant not only in this situation, with a captured ark, but also today in many churches, ministries, and even individual lives. Today, let's pray that we would allow and claim God's glory in our communities, churches, and lives, and seek to be a people that look to God for guidance and victory, rather than things that may in some way represent God.