I Samuel 4 part 1–Seek God, not the Ark

Israel had lost its perspective.  They were beaten in battle by the Philistines and decided that if they brought the Ark of God—it would save them.  No one said let’s seek the Lord.  No one said let’s worship and follow God and then he will save us—No, they said let’s bring our symbol of God and IT will save us.  They saw it as a Good Luck Charm.  The enemy actually showed more respect for God than did Israel.  The result was horrific.  Israel lost thousands of men and the very Ark they hoped would save them.

We struggle in our own lives by placing our faith in the things of God—rather than God himself.  We think if we attend church regularly, keep a Bible on the front table, say grace at dinner or act as good people—that will save us and get us into heaven.  Truth is, God wants to be in relationship with us. He wants us to seek and follow him. He wants us to turn from our self-reliance and surrender our hearts to him. Our seeking him and following him is what saves us not the trappings of religion or symbols of our faith. Often, when we rely on the things of God to save us, we will not only miss God but we will lose the value of what we are chasing.  Matthew 6:33 says it best, “Seek first his kingdom and righteousness–and all these other things will be added to you.”

God Bless You

 After the battle was over, the troops retreated to their camp, and the elders of Israel asked, “Why did the Lord allow us to be defeated by the Philistines?” Then they said, “Let’s bring the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord from Shiloh. If we carry it into battle with us, it will save us from our enemies.”

So they sent men to Shiloh to bring the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, who is enthroned between the cherubim. Hophni and Phinehas, the sons of Eli, were also there with the Ark of the Covenant of God. When all the Israelites saw the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord coming into the camp, their shout of joy was so loud it made the ground shake!

“What’s going on?” the Philistines asked. “What’s all the shouting about in the Hebrew camp?” When they were told it was because the Ark of the Lord had arrived, they panicked. “The gods have[b] come into their camp!” they cried. “This is a disaster! We have never had to face anything like this before! Help! Who can save us from these mighty gods of Israel? They are the same gods who destroyed the Egyptians with plagues when Israel was in the wilderness. Fight as never before, Philistines! If you don’t, we will become the Hebrews’ slaves just as they have been ours! Stand up like men and fight!”

10 So the Philistines fought desperately, and Israel was defeated again. The slaughter was great; 30,000 Israelite soldiers died that day. The survivors turned and fled to their tents. 11 The Ark of God was captured, and Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were killed.