A grim period in the history of Israel.
The Philistines attacked. The ark was brought out.
The sons of Eli killed. The ark was taken. Israel was defeated.
And Eli was so shocked to hear the news, he fell, broke his neck and died.
Eli’s daughter-in-law died while delivering son. She called him Ichabod – meaning “no glory”. Indeed, God’s glory had departed from Israel – not when the ark was captured – but the truth of the matter is – God’s presence had long been absent in Israel.
What do I see in today’s passage?
Three things – and they all centre around the responses of the people towards God.
And we should think whether we are like them today as well.
First, the Israelites acted callously as if God was their servant, rather than vice versa.
When they were losing the battle, they dragged out the ark – thinking that it was like a good luck charm. But God is not a good luck charm.
Second was the fatalistic resignation of Eli. God spoke to him at least twice through other people. But in spite of repeated warnings, Eli did nothing.
Lastly, although we do not see Samuel in this chapter, the last few chapters showed us that Samuel responds in faith to God’s call.
Samuel did not take for granted the grace and sovereignty of God. He listens to God. His actions shows his faith.
Every Christian is called to faith in Christ and called to proclaim the Word of Christ to others. May we respond as Samuel does – immediately, faithfully and continually.