Numbers 3–The Levites, God’s Firstborn

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The Levitical tribe had a unique place in Israel.  They were set apart to perform all the duties related to the spiritual functions of the nation.  They were in charge of the Tabernacle and the tent of meeting.  They would care for the furnishings and the Ark of the Covenant.  They would be the priests of the tribes and always be spread through the tribes and not left on their own.

But, the Lord said something unique to Moses–These are to be the replacement for the 1st born males from every Israelite woman that I lost in Egypt.  God had not forgotten the horrible act Pharaoh had ordered.  The Levites were to replace the first born males lost to Israel–the ones that would normally be committed to God. What a seat of honor–to be truly set apart as a tribe, to replace such a grievous loss.  The men of Levi would hold that distinction from then on.

In our lives, God set us apart as well.  We are to be his chosen.  We are to be his ambassadors among the people of the world.  We are to wear the LORD’S name boldly as we live our daily lives.  God treasured the Levitical order; just as He treasures us. We simply need to live as His people, It is as great an honor to live as God’s ambassadors while we walk among those we know each day!

God Bless You

This is the account of the family of Aaron and Moses at the time the Lord spoke to Moses at Mount Sinai.

The names of the sons of Aaron were Nadab the firstborn and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.Those were the names of Aaron’s sons, the anointed priests, who were ordained to serve as priests. Nadab and Abihu, however, died before the Lord when they made an offering with unauthorized fire before him in the Desert of Sinai. They had no sons, so Eleazar and Ithamar served as priests during the lifetime of their father Aaron.

The Lord said to Moses, “Bring the tribe of Levi and present them to Aaron the priest to assist him. They are to perform duties for him and for the whole community at the tent of meeting by doing the work of the tabernacle. They are to take care of all the furnishings of the tent of meeting, fulfilling the obligations of the Israelites by doing the work of the tabernacle. Give the Levites to Aaron and his sons; they are the Israelites who are to be given wholly to him.[a] 10 Appoint Aaron and his sons to serve as priests; anyone else who approaches the sanctuary is to be put to death.”

11 The Lord also sai

I Samuel 9 Part 1–Israel Get’s their King

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The people wanted a cool king, one that looked good that was powerful and would lead them–like all the other kings.  God heard their cry.  He found a young man among the tribe of Benjamin named Saul. Saul was the tallest and most handsome man in Israel.  So God told Samuel that He would send Saul Samuel’s way, and that Samuel was to anoint Saul as King.  Saul was not from any royal lineage–because until then, Israel had no such a thing.  So, as God was choosing a king–He could choose anyone. So He used the people’s standard–tall, strong and handsome. Israel had no idea what they were asking for, but, God was fine to give it to them.
 
In our lives, we often think we have things all figured out.  We call on God to make our plan a reality.  God is patient and kind. In that, He will often not give us what we think we need–instead God will give us what we truly need. Still, there are other times when God will warn us of a danger, but, then allow us to execute our plan. As we do, He also allows us to experience the consequence of the plans we made.  It is often difficult, sad and painful. Still in the midst of it, God loves us and will walk through the path with us–knowing we have made a mess.  We must never be afraid to admit we tried to take the thrown and repent.  We also must listen and seek the Lord; so, we can follow His plan and not ours.
 
God Bless You
There was a Benjamite, a man of standing, whose name was Kish son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bekorath, the son of Aphiah of Benjamin. Kish had a son named Saul, as handsome a young man as could be found anywhere in Israel, and he was a head taller than anyone else…

But the servant replied, “Look, in this town there is a man of God; he is highly respected, and everything he says comes true. Let’s go there now. Perhaps he will tell us what way to take.”

Saul said to his servant, “If we go, what can we give the man? The food in our sacks is gone. We have no gift to take to the man of God. What do we have?”

The servant answered him again. “Look,” he said, “I have a quarter of a shekel[a] of silver. I will give it to the man of God so that he will tell us what way to take.” (Formerly in Israel, if someone went to inquire of God, they would say, “Come, let us go to the seer,” because the prophet of today used to be called a seer.)

10 “Good,” Saul said to his servant. “Come, let’s go.” So they set out for the town where the man of God was.

11 As they were going up the hill to the town, they met some young women coming out to draw water, and they asked them, “Is the seer here?”

12 “He is,” they answered. “He’s ahead of you. Hurry now; he has just come to our town today, for the people have a sacrifice at the high place. 13 As soon as you enter the town, you will find him before he goes up to the high place to eat. The people will not begin eating until he comes, because he must bless the sacrifice; afterward, those who are invited will eat. Go up now; you should find him about this time.”

14 They went up to the town, and as they were entering it, there was Samuel, coming toward them on his way up to the high place.

15 Now the day before Saul came, the Lord had revealed this to Samuel: 16 “About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin. Anoint him ruler over my people Israel; he will deliver them from the hand of the Philistines. I have looked on my people, for their cry has reached me.”

17 When Samuel caught sight of Saul, the Lord said to him, “This is the man I spoke to you about; he will govern my people.”

18 Saul approached Samuel in the gateway and asked, “Would you please tell me where the seer’s house is?”

19 “I am the seer,” Samuel replied. “Go up ahead of me to the high place, for today you are to eat with me, and in the morning I will send you on your way and will tell you all that is in your heart. 20 As for the donkeys you lost three days ago, do not worry about them; they have been found. And to whom is all the desire of Israel turned, if not to you and your whole family line?”

I Samuel 8 Part 2–We Want a Cool King Part 2

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The truth hurts! Per God’s command, Samuel went to the people and told them what to expect if they were to live under the rule of a king.  If I were the people of Israel, and heard what it would cost to have a king, I would have gone home and been grateful for the freedom that I currently enjoyed.  Not Israel.  When describing the prospects of having a king, one word literally jumped out–TAKE.  Israel had been under the leadership of a loving God. He gave them provision, He gave them protection, He gave them direction and He gave them prominence among the nations. What Israel missed was the point that God gave Israel all that they enjoyed.
 
As Samuel described the rule of a king, he told the people the king would TAKE–their children, their husbands, their lands, their crops, their stuff and mostly their freedom.  It was what God led them from Egypt to regain. It was what He trained an entire generation to live under. Their freedom was regained by God clearing out the nation of enemies and presenting them with homes, lands, livestock and security.  Now, they wanted to be like everyone else–in bondage to a leader. They thought it would be fun to worship their leader, rather than their God.
 
Not a great deal has changed. We are given a promise of liberty from sin and death–if we will simply follow God. If we will submit to His leadership, He will give us back our freedom.  But, it seems so much cooler to chase the things of this world–money, love, power, stuff, prominence and success.  As we chase these cool kings, they take. They take our focus, our resources, our love, our families and mostly–our freedom. As it has always been the case, the worst of our generation becomes the start of the generation to follow.  Before we realize we have been enslaved, our children are celebrating the lack of responsibility freedom takes.  They think it is cool not to have to conform to a standard–not knowing it simply draws them deeper into sin and into slavery.  Israel simply did not realize it was selling its freedom for the hope of gaining something they had all along a great leader.  We need to understand that we are doing the same thing!
 
God Bless You

So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking for a king from him. 11 He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots.12 And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. 15 He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. 16 He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men[a] and your donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. 18 And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

The Lord Grants Israel’s Request

19 But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, “No! But there shall be a king over us, 20 that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” 21 And when Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the Lord. 22 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey their voice and make them a king.” Samuel then said to the men of Israel, “Go every man to his city.”

I Samuel 8 Part 1–We Want a Cool King

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The apostle Paul said it best, “I have learned to be content, whatever my circumstance. Well fed or hungry living in plenty or in want–I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” Philippians 4:12-13.  After several years of peace and blessing, Samuel became old and brought his sons in to help him Judge.  They were evil. They took bribes and acted poorly. So the people of Israel approached Samuel and demanded to have a king–like everyone else! One can only imagine the emotion Samuel experienced.  Anger, guilt, sadness all must have passed through his mind as he approached God with the news. Funny thing was, God was not surprised. 
 
God told Samuel, “They are not rejecting you, they are rejecting Me.” It was true. The people of Israel, a truly free people, were being led by God. He led them out of Egypt, through the desert, into their promised inheritance and had protected them through thick and thin. All the Lord required was that they follow His lead. To do so, however, required that they submit to His lordship and not chase other gods.  For Israel, that had always been a struggle, and especially difficult when things were going well. So now, while the nation was at peace and prosperous, they rejected God’s leadership.  They wanted a King, hopefully a cool King. So God told Samuel not to fret, but to explain that they would be getting a lot more than what they were bargaining for–and none of it good.  So, that is what Samuel did.  Israel still wanted a king.
 
In our lives, we face the same struggle. God reaches out and gives us salvation. As we follow Him, He protects us, provides for us, and prepares us for an abundant, and purposeful life here, and eternity with Him after.  Still, when things are peaceful and our tummies are full–we want more.  We want what everyone else has. We want a cool king! It makes God sad–but not surprised, you see He has been dealing with it since the garden.  We have to evaluate what the cool kings are in our lives, and lay them on the alter before God.  If we submit to the Lord’s leadership, rather than the leadership of the cool kings, (Money, beauty, power, stuff), then He will lead, bless and guide us to the life we really want–a life of peace and no worry. We will also see that God is truly the COOLEST king of all.
 
God Bless You

When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as Israel’s leaders.[a] The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba. But his sons did not follow his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribesand perverted justice.

So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead[b] us, such as all the other nations have.”

But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.”

I Samuel 7 Part 2–Samuel, The Last Judge

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Interestingly, The 2 books of Samuel say very little about the man himself.  We know he faithfully served the Lord.  We know he lived in Ramah.  He married and had at least two sons–and while he led Israel, things were relatively peaceful and improving.  The people turned back toward God, the enemies of Israel were kept at bay; all-in-all Samuel was the right leader for the time.  It is clear that Samuel had a great relationship with God.  Like Moses, Samuel and God talked.  Samuel was not afraid of God, but, He had the right respect for The Lord.
 
In our lives, that kind of relationship and leadership is the place Christians want to be.  Simply living a life that honors God, listening to His word and walking in His ways. There does not need to be a dramatic story, but, often there are times and things that God provides that are clearly a blessing directly from Him. We cannot try to do things apart from God. If we do, it takes the ability away from God to bless us.  Samuel knew that, and so should we.  Samuel sought the Lord with all his heart and it changed Israel. As God’s chosen, We should strive to seek and honor God with our lives–then like Samuel, God could use us to truly make a difference!
 
God Bless You 

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer,[b]saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”

13 So the Philistines were subdued and they stopped invading Israel’s territory. Throughout Samuel’s lifetime, the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines. 14 The towns from Ekron to Gath that the Philistines had captured from Israel were restored to Israel, and Israel delivered the neighboring territory from the hands of the Philistines. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.

15 Samuel continued as Israel’s leader all the days of his life. 16 From year to year he went on a circuit from Bethel to Gilgal to Mizpah, judging Israel in all those places. 17 But he always went back to Ramah, where his home was, and there he also held court for Israel. And he built an altar there to the Lord.

I Samuel 7–Israel Returns to God

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What a Great way to start a story. Israel returns to God.  When they were given the promised land, God told them to continue to follow him and look to him. Their failure to do so would cost them all that they had been given. Still, as time marched on, the Israelites became more comfortable and less dependent upon God. As that occurred, they started to replace God with idols and sin.  It became so bad, that they lived as if God did not exist.  So, God began to leave them to their own devices.  Soon, they were being attacked by enemies and invaded by those that would try to reclaim the gift God provided.
 
They now were facing enemies without success. They were dying in battle and falling into the hands of the enemy.  So God brought Samuel. Samuel would become the last judge of Israel. He drew the people’s hearts back to God.  When they returned to God and His leadership, God began to protect and provide as before.  After a series of defeats, When the people destroyed their idols and focused again upon God, he began to restore them and reinstate them in the promised land.  Samuel literally made a sacrifice to God before battle and prayed for them and God destroyed their enemy.  I am sure that was a great day for Israel and a great day for God.
 
God still wants men’s hearts.  He still calls us to seek Him and follow Him–so then God can bless us.  Like Israel, We must throw away the idols that stand between us and God. When we do, we have to turn our hearts back to the Lord.  He will gladly embrace us, He wants nothing more than to bless us.  We simply have to trust God and follow Him.  Pray, study His word, and live for Him and for others–not simply for ourselves.  If we will, God will certainly return to our lives and help us to defeat our enemies–no matter how big they seem to be.
 
God Bless You

So the men of Kiriath Jearim came and took up the ark of the Lord. They brought it to Abinadab’s house on the hill and consecrated Eleazar his son to guard the ark of the Lord.The ark remained at Kiriath Jearim a long time—twenty years in all.

Samuel Subdues the Philistines at Mizpah

Then all the people of Israel turned back to the Lord. So Samuel said to all the Israelites, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” So the Israelites put away their Baals and Ashtoreths, and served the Lord only.

Then Samuel said, “Assemble all Israel at Mizpah, and I will intercede with the Lord for you.”When they had assembled at Mizpah, they drew water and poured it out before the Lord. On that day they fasted and there they confessed, “We have sinned against the Lord.” Now Samuel was serving as leader[a] of Israel at Mizpah.

When the Philistines heard that Israel had assembled at Mizpah, the rulers of the Philistines came up to attack them. When the Israelites heard of it, they were afraid because of the Philistines. They said to Samuel, “Do not stop crying out to the Lord our God for us, that he may rescue us from the hand of the Philistines.” Then Samuel took a suckling lamb and sacrificed it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. He cried out to the Lord on Israel’s behalf, and the Lord answered him.

10 While Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to engage Israel in battle. But that day the Lord thundered with loud thunder against the Philistines and threw them into such a panic that they were routed before the Israelites. 11 The men of Israel rushed out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, slaughtering them along the way to a point below Beth Kar.

I Samuel 6–Showing God Proper Respect

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For the lack of reverence shown to God by the Godless world, Often times when they realize the error of their ways, the heathens show more respect for God than do his own people. The Philistines Captured the Ark of God.  After moving it around their country for 7 months, they were being plagued with disease and pestilence.  They made the decision to return the ark to Israel.  In addition they offered a guilt offering to God for their stealing the ark and not respecting the God of Israel.  They were devastated by their actions, but showed remorse and sent the ark back.
 
There was great celebration in Israel when the Ark was returned. The Levites carefully removed the ark from the cart on which it was returned.  But, then 70 of the Israelites decided to check out the inside of the ark. They all died.  It is amazing that God’s own people could not show the same respect for God that God’s enemies did.  Israel had become so accustomed to God’s amazing power that they lost reverence for it.  That is one of the saddest statements to be made.  When one is raised seeing God do amazing things, one should have all the more respect and reverence for Him.  Instead, we become expectant and entitled and see God as a tool to use, or an emergency response system for when we are in trouble.
 
Believers in the Lord must be reverent. He is our Heavenly Father, and commands the respect and reverence that only God can have.  We must never forget that He is Lord and as His children we meed simply trust and follow him.  His plan is flawless, and if we allow him to lead, He will do amazing things in our lives.  We must never grow expectant or entitled in our faith–simply humble and grateful.
 
God Bless You

“Now then, get a new cart ready, with two cows that have calved and have never been yoked. Hitch the cows to the cart, but take their calves away and pen them up. Take the ark of the Lord and put it on the cart, and in a chest beside it put the gold objects you are sending back to him as a guilt offering. Send it on its way, but keep watching it. If it goes up to its own territory, toward Beth Shemesh, then the Lord has brought this great disaster on us. But if it does not, then we will know that it was not his hand that struck us but that it happened to us by chance.”

10 So they did this. They took two such cows and hitched them to the cart and penned up their calves. 11 They placed the ark of the Lord on the cart and along with it the chest containing the gold rats and the models of the tumors. 12 Then the cows went straight up toward Beth Shemesh, keeping on the road and lowing all the way; they did not turn to the right or to the left. The rulers of the Philistines followed them as far as the border of Beth Shemesh.

13 Now the people of Beth Shemesh were harvesting their wheat in the valley, and when they looked up and saw the ark, they rejoiced at the sight. 14 The cart came to the field of Joshua of Beth Shemesh, and there it stopped beside a large rock. The people chopped up the wood of the cart and sacrificed the cows as a burnt offering to the Lord. 15 The Levites took down the ark of the Lord, together with the chest containing the gold objects, and placed them on the large rock. On that day the people of Beth Shemesh offered burnt offerings and made sacrifices to the Lord. 16 The five rulers of the Philistines saw all this and then returned that same day to Ekron.

17 These are the gold tumors the Philistines sent as a guilt offering to the Lord—one each for Ashdod, Gaza, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron. 18 And the number of the gold rats was according to the number of Philistine towns belonging to the five rulers—the fortified towns with their country villages. The large rock on which the Levites set the ark of the Lord is a witness to this day in the field of Joshua of Beth Shemesh.

1 Samuel 5–Who Captured Who?

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The Philistines had captured the Ark of the Covenant from Israel.  They were very proud. They put it on display along side their god Dagon to let everyone know how amazing of warriors they were and hey how their god won the day… Well, that was until Dagon was found the next day face down before the Ark.  Then the next day face down and broken into pieces before the Ark. Also, everyone in town was getting sick–very sick.  Panic rose throughout the land, and before the army could set the Ark down the people would scream and run in panic–“What are you trying to do…kill us?  
 
God was not pleased with Israel, that was obvious, but, He was not about to sit at the feet of an idol; nor, was he going to rest in the land and hands of the enemy–He is always large and in charge!!! The Philistines saw God and his power–and wanted nothing to do with it.  Meanwhile, Israel had forgotten who God was and what He wanted for and from them.  They wanted a God to ask for things from–not to surrender to His leadership.  As with the Philistines, God was not going to bow to anyone; least of all His chosen people.
 
In present day, God still serves no one.  He is still all-powerful, all-knowing and in all places and times at once.  HE is still the GREAT I AM. We need to follow and trust Him with our lives and seek His leadership as we pass through our days.  We cannot treat Him like a panic button, nor, is He an equivalent to Amazon.  He is Lord. He loves us and wants to give us a full and meaningful life on Earth and then a blessed and eternal life with Him in Heaven.  All He requires is the recognition that He is Lord. Our true submission is a small price compared to the reward He provides.  God will not be subject to our will–WE need to be subject to His will.
 
God Bless You

After the Philistines had captured the ark of God, they took it from Ebenezer to Ashdod.Then they carried the ark into Dagon’s temple and set it beside Dagon. When the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! They took Dagon and put him back in his place. But the following morning when they rose, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! His head and hands had been broken off and were lying on the threshold; only his body remained. That is why to this day neither the priests of Dagon nor any others who enter Dagon’s temple at Ashdod step on the threshold.

The Lord’s hand was heavy on the people of Ashdod and its vicinity; he brought devastationon them and afflicted them with tumors.[a] When the people of Ashdod saw what was happening, they said, “The ark of the god of Israel must not stay here with us, because his hand is heavy on us and on Dagon our god.” So they called together all the rulers of the Philistines and asked them, “What shall we do with the ark of the god of Israel?”

They answered, “Have the ark of the god of Israel moved to Gath.” So they moved the ark of the God of Israel.

But after they had moved it, the Lord’s hand was against that city, throwing it into a great panic. He afflicted the people of the city, both young and old, with an outbreak of tumors.[b]10 So they sent the ark of God to Ekron.

As the ark of God was entering Ekron, the people of Ekron cried out, “They have brought the ark of the god of Israel around to us to kill us and our people.” 11 So they called together all the rulers of the Philistines and said, “Send the ark of the god of Israel away; let it go back to its own place, or it[c] will kill us and our people.” For death had filled the city with panic; God’s hand was very heavy on it.

I Samuel 4–Israel Pays the Price

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What a tragic time for Israel. Less than a century before, Israel was given its freedom from the Egyptians and started its adventure as God’s chosen people.  The Israelites wanted to use God like a tool or a weapon–but when the task or battle was over, they wanted to put him back on the shelf.  It wasn’t that the entire people did evil deeds, but it was simply that they chose to relegate God to a granter of their desires and protector of their interests.  This was especially true of Eli and his sons.

So on this day of battle, God left Israel to battle on their own.  When they did, they were horribly defeated.  Then, they thought, “Hey, let’s pull God off the shelf, and face our enemies with the Ark in tow.  Neither the Israelites nor Eli’s sons had any reverence for God or His ark–but, they saw it as unleashing the secret weapon to assure their success.  Sadly, God said no.  He was not going to be a good luck charm nor a mascot! So Israel’s plan back fired.   Thirty-thousand men died that day. the Ark was captured and the priest and his sons died.  Israel was left–defeated, disheveled and in complete disarray.

God is simply not a switch to be flipped on and flipped off.  We are to either follow the Lord and allow Him to transform us into His chosen and His ambassadors; or, we are to try to do life on our own and experience the chaos and consequences of running from God and not walking with Him.  God says it most clearly in Revelation 3:15-16–“ I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Only sort of following God–makes Him sick!  We need to be all-in in our walk with the Lord.  Then when we face a struggle or battle, we know He will lead us and be our protector and provider.  We will walk in confidence and faith knowing God is there for us.

God Bless You

So the Philistines fought, and the Israelites were defeated and every man fled to his tent. The slaughter was very great; Israel lost thirty thousand foot soldiers. 11 The ark of God was captured, and Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, died.

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 man 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[b]Israel forty years.

I Samuel 3–Your Servant is Listening

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The thing that made Samuel great, in a time when God had little impact on Israel, was that Samuel was ready to serve. The passage tells the story of Samuel hearing from God.  Since God had been quiet, Samuel had trouble understanding his call.  He ran to Eli, the priest.  Eli finally figured it out, and taught Samuel how to respond. Samuel obeyed, and that was the beginning of a revival in God’s chosen nation. 1st, God kept his promise as it related to Levi; and second, God began to prepare and Use Samuel to lead the people.  The Lord was with Samuel, and He did not allow any of Samuel’s words to fall to the ground–simply put, if Samuel said it, then it came true!!!
 
God wants nothing more than to bless His chosen.  If we will trust the Lord; if we will simply follow Him and do as He says–then He will honor and bless us.  Samuel was the first recorded prophet. He acted as a objective liaison between God and the priests and leaders of Israel. We are God’s chosen and like Samuel–we are to be the liaisons between Him and the chaotic Godless world in which we live.  In God’s word, we learn to hear Him. As we listen, He will reveal his truth and, like Samuel, our words will not fall to the ground.  Paul said it best in 2 Corinthians 5–As Christians, we are new creations. we are called, in vs. 20, to be His ambassadors in the world–but not of it.  If we will do that, we will enjoy an abundant, purposeful Christian life!
 
God Bless You

The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.

One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called Samuel… v8 Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. 9 So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.10 The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”

Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

11 And the Lord said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle. 12 At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end. 13 For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God,[a] and he failed to restrain them. 14 Therefore I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’”…v19 The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground. 20 And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the Lord. 21 The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word.

I Samuel 2 Part 3–God Will Not Be Mocked

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Sin sort of sneaks up on you.  A little compromise here, a little stretch there and, boom ones life is out of control.  Eli, I am sure, loved God and was a great priest. But, as his kids grew and continued to spin out of control, it was easier for him to simply do nothing rather than to take the stand he needed to with his sons.  Sadly, his failure to act was a direct disgrace to God. His sons were a blight on Israel and the people feared them rather than fearing God. Meanwhile, Eli ate well and did not have to do much so…what could be so bad—right?
 
God has shown time after time he will not be mocked.  When his people dishonor him–there will be a consequence.  So it was with Eli–God sent a prophet to tell Eli his failure to corral his boys would not only destroy them, but it would cost his family their positions as God’s priests–forever! I am sure from the moment the message was given, Eli regretted his failure to act.  He knew what he had done was wrong, and that he had dishonored the one he was born to serve.  Still, there was no change, no repentance–just regret.
 
In our lives, we serve a risen Savior. He stands ready to accept us as we are, and transform us into His image.  Still, however, as in Eli’s time, God will not be mocked. If we are going to walk and proclaim we are God’s chosen; then, our lives should reflect obedience and honor for God. If we, as His children, are an embarrassment to the Lord or an adversary of His plan–then, we can expect to suffer consequence for that behavior.  We know God loves us, but, He expects us to live and walk as those that honor Him–not disgrace Him. Help me , Lord to honor you with my life and my family–forgive my failure, and lead me in a way that glorifies you!
 
God Bless You

 Now a man of God came to Eli and said to him, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Did I not clearly reveal myself to your ancestor’s family when they were in Egypt under Pharaoh? 28 I chose your ancestor out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, and to wear an ephod in my presence. I also gave your ancestor’s family all the food offerings presented by the Israelites. 29 Why do you[e] scorn my sacrifice and offering that I prescribed for my dwelling? Why do you honor your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choice parts of every offering made by my people Israel?’

30 “Therefore the Lord, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that members of your family would minister before me forever.’ But now the Lord declares: ‘Far be it from me! Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained. 31 The time is coming when I will cut short your strength and the strength of your priestly house, so that no one in it will reach old age, 32 and you will see distress in my dwelling. Although good will be done to Israel, no one in your family line will ever reach old age. 33 Every one of you that I do not cut off from serving at my altar I will spare only to destroy your sight and sap your strength, and all your descendants will die in the prime of life.

34 “‘And what happens to your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, will be a sign to you—they will both die on the same day. 35 I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who will do according to what is in my heart and mind. I will firmly establish his priestly house, and they will minister before my anointed one always. 36 Then everyone left in your family line will come and bow down before him for a piece of silver and a loaf of bread and plead, “Appoint me to some priestly office so I can have food to eat