This one’s a tough pill to swallow. The people of Israel thought that God was on their side, but the Lord allowed their defeat. Was this because He didn’t love them? Was He just being calloused and ignoring them? How could something like this happen? These are the questions I wrestled with when reading this today.
But there is always more to the story…
Rewind to chapter 3. Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phineas, were not following the Lord. God had already called this to Eli’s attention, but no hard decisions, or even confrontations, were made. God was clear that there would be consequences to their sin. Here’s what it says in 3:11-14:
“Then the Lord said to Samuel, “I am about to do a shocking thing in Israel. I am going to carry out all my threats against Eli and his family, from beginning to end. I have warned him that judgment is coming upon his family forever, because his sons are blaspheming God and he hasn’t disciplined them.”
Never assume that your sin won’t hurt others. Hophni and Phineas had deep sin that had not been dealt with, and yet they were parading around with the ark of God, as if this God (they WERE NOT following) was the Genie from Aladdin, coming to grant their wish — defeating the Philistines. Not only were they wrong, but 30,000 Israelites died because of them.
Look, the bottom line is that if we are not willing to repent of our sin, we will face the consequences… and so will others around us. And yet, God is so kind and merciful towards us. Today, spend some time searching your heart and asking the God of grace to bring you to true repentance (Romans 2:4). Enjoy the fact that He is still making you into a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Get up, press on and life for Jesus, WITH courage, WITHOUT guilt (Galatians 5:1, Romans 8:1). Blessings on your day.
By: Todd Thomas