Scripture: 1 Samuel: 4-8. Click here to view full scripture.
Observation: What was going on in the Bible at this time?
The Philistines were Israel’s major enemy throughout these chapters. The Israelites continued to worship other gods, hoping that God would still be with them. The Philistines captured the ark of the covenant, and Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, died in the war. When Eli heard of this, he died, also. Eli’s daughter-in-law gave birth to Ichabod, and then passed away, as well. Since the Philistines had captured the ark of the covenant, God plagued them with tumors and sicknesses. The Philistines finally returned the ark of the covenant, filling it with guilt offerings. Samuel encouraged the Israelites to get rid of their foreign gods and turn back to God. As Samuel grew old, he had appointed his sons to be judges over Israel in his place, but they had become corrupt. The Israelites wanted a king, and God had warned against it. But, when Samuel asked God what he should do, the Lord told him to go ahead and give them a king.
Application: How can we apply this to our lives?
The Israelites had assumed that since God had given them victory in the past, He would do it again. Today, our spiritual victories come when we keep our relationship with God constant and fresh. When Phinehas’s wife gave birth to Ichabod, she passed away, taking away her joy of childbirth. This example goes to show that when sin takes over our lives, even the God-given joys and pleasures seem empty. The Israelites felt as though God had abandoned them, but Samuel encouraged them to get rid of their foreign gods and ask for forgiveness. Sometimes, in life, we may feel that God has abandoned us, as well. We must check to see if there is anything God has already told us to do that we have not followed through with. We may not receive new instruction or guidance from God until we have acted on His previous directions. Israel wanted a king to lead them, and they were rejecting God as their leader. They were disobedient to God. The Israelites needed to obey and rely on God, following all of His ways. God knows what is best for us; He knows the plan He has for us. We must trust God always and follow His ways for us.
Prayer: What can we pray for in regards to these passages?
Heavenly Father, Thank You for the examples and stories that You have placed in Your Word for us to learn from. Please continue to guide and direct each of our lives to fulfill Your ultimate purpose, Father, and help us to always be ready when You call us to action. Help us to keep our relationship with You constant and fresh, day after day. Help us to always obey You, trust You, and follow the path that You have paved for our lives. Please forgive us for the many sins that we commit, and help us to forgive others. Please guide and protect us, our friends, families, pets, and our brothers and sisters around the world who are suffering. We love You and thank You for everything. – in Jesus’ name we pray, amen.