Year 2 Day 217
Read - 1 Samuel 4:12-18
Message - Alan Burke
It is hard for us to grasp the significance of the outcome of the battle of Ebenezer (4:1-11). There the Israelites had been defeated, thirty four thousand lay dead, Eli’s sons were dead and the ark of the Lord was captured. Yes they had known and understood at least in some way that this was the Lord’s doing (4:3), but happened now shows the true horror of all of this for the Israelites. So with the battle over, a Benjamite ran from the battle front and went to Shiloh, his clothes torn with dust on his head. The picture that we are given is of a man in distress, running to give a report of the horror that he had witnessed. Look at what we are told of Eli, he’s sitting on his chair at the side of the road, he’s there waiting because he was afraid for the ark.
Eli was there, he was watching metaphorically speaking because if you look down to verse 14 we are told he was blind, so rather he was waiting expectantly for news from the battle and the reason is simple, he feared for the ark of God. Again were presented with the seemingly contradictory image of Eli, there fearing for the ark, after all he was the Priest of God’s people, he was their leader, so why on earth did he allow his sons to leave with the ark?
The man enters the town, a cry goes up (13), what had just happened wasn’t lost on them, all the while Eli’s just sitting there, fearing what he would here. Then the man told Eli the reality of what had happened and he sits there listening. When the news comes that he had been dreading that the ark had been captured he fell back of his chair, his neck was broken and he died (18).
Eli was literally dethroned. The judgement of God had come upon his sons and now had come to him. The Lord had promised that his sons dying on the same day would be a sign to him that his word was true and now as the Lord had dethroned Eli. The Lord’s judgement had come, because for Eli blood was thicker than theology. For Eli the bonds of his family was more important, they were stronger than his theology, stronger than his belief in God and what God had done. All of this, the judgement upon Eli and his sons had come about for that very reason, because to Eli, blood was thicker than theology.
Love for our family is good, but when we put family, siblings, cousins, parents, children, any of those things before God then we fail to love the Lord our God with all our heart. We fail to live as we should, instead of making it clear that God has our allegiance, we are making God just a tag along, an accessory to our life and often the consequences are seen. Eli’s love for his sons was more important than his theology, his love for his sons was more important than his God and he paid the consequences, and his sons paid the consequences, his family paid the consequences, the generations that followed paid the consequences.
Q95 To whom is baptism to be administered?
Baptism is not to be administered to any that are out of the visible church, till they profess their faith in Christ, and obedience to him; (Acts 8:36–38, Acts 2:38) but the infants of such as are members of the visible church are to be baptized. (Acts 2:38–39, Gen. 17:10, Col. 2:11–12, 1 Cor. 7:14)
Year 2 Day 219