Last Sunday in 1 Samuel 4, we saw God giving Israel over to the Philistines in one of the worst defeats in their history. Thirty thousand Israelite foot-soldiers were killed, the priests Hophni & Phineas were killed, and the Ark of the Lord was captured and taken into exile. The news of these events was shattering to Israel. Upon hearing this Eli falls over backwards, breaks his neck and dies. His daughter-in-law is sent into labor from this news and names her son Ichabod, meaning “where is the glory?” Then she proclaims that the glory has departed from Israel.
But this Sunday we will see that God is up to something that the people of Israel cannot see. Apart from their efforts, He is launching His own “Trojan Horse” campaign against the Philistines. In chapter 5 we will see the Lord as a warrior who fights and wins the battles that His people cannot win. The glory may have departed from Israel, but God is still on the move to vindicate His name among the pagan Philistines! By the end of chapter 5 they will be completely out-flanked by the God they claim to have defeated.
Let me encourage you to read 1 Samuel 5 several times this week in preparation for Sunday. As you read ask yourself a few questions about how this text applies to you:
- What does this teach me about responding to cultural attacks on God or the Christian faith?
- If my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, will God allow the idols of my heart to coexist with Him?
- What does this passage teach me about my own struggle with sin? If Christ, in His crucifixion, disarmed the rulers and authorities, putting them to open shame, then do I have to live as a slave to sin? In what specific areas do I feel defeated by my sin and need to apply the power of the cross?
This passage is not just a great story of God taking on the Philistines—it is also a reminder of why we can trust our warrior God to fight on our behalf. This week I pray that each of us can apply this life-giving truth to an area where we feel overrun by our own sin.