1 SAMUEL 4

Spend time in prayer and silence with God asking him to meet you and speak to you.

CONTEXT
The nation of Israel went to war against the Philistines. They thought they had a secret weapon that would bring victory to Israel.

BIBLE READING

As soon as the ark of the covenant of the LORD came into the camp, all Israel gave a mighty shout, so that the earth resounded. And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shouting, they said, “What does this great shouting in the camp of the Hebrews mean?”

And when they learned that the ark of the LORD had come to the camp, the Philistines were afraid, for they said, “A god has come into the camp.”

And they said, “Woe to us! For nothing like this has happened before. Woe to us! Who can deliver us from the power of these mighty gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with every sort of plague in the wilderness. Take courage, and be men, O Philistines, lest you become slaves to the Hebrews as they have been to you; be men and fight.”

So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and they fled, every man to his home. And there was a very great slaughter, for thirty thousand foot soldiers of Israel fell. And the ark of God was captured, and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died.

– 1 Samuel 4:5-11


GO DEEPER

How often do we ask ourselves the question, “Is God for us?”

A much better question to ask is, “Am I for God?”

The elders of Israel had called for the ark of the covenant to be brought to the battlefield, hoping for God’s blessing on their plans. Rather than asking for God’s blessing on their own plans, they should have been seeking God’s direction and following His plans.

All of the people celebrated the arrival of the ark. But instead of surrendering to God and follow His lead, they were in effect saying, “God we want you to help us do what WE WANT to do.” 

The results were catastrophic – tens of thousands of Israelites died and the ark of the covenant was taken.

God was sending a clear message – it’s not about you and want you want, it’s about ME! His plan is always best anyway.


THE BIG QUESTION

Instead of asking for God’s blessing on what you want to do today, why don’t you ask Him to empower you to follow His lead?

“God, your plan for me is best.
Help me to lay aside my agenda today, and follow after your plans for me.
Help me to represent you well.”

Conclude in prayer and silence reflecting on what you’ve learned.