Series: Thru the Bible
PDF of Outline: Harmoney of Israel’s Kingdom Books
The Books of the Kingdom and their Chronicles Pt. 1
What we are covering tonight by way of review can be found in the messages on the website entitled:
An easy way to find ALL of these is by going to the side bar where it gives a drop down list under the title “Message by Topic”. If you go there and choose either “Wednesday” or “Thru the Bible” you will get the entire list of messages we’ve learned on this. If you choose either of these options, the first message you will see is the most recent in the series. If you scroll to the bottom of the page you will see numbers – the first of this series in on page 9 of that list.
Now before the time period in which Israel was a free people taken out of Egypt until this record of their history recorded between the books of Samuel and Chronicles was the uninterrupted time of God’s sovereign reign over them as a people. Their socio-political structure was that of a Theocracy which was supervised first by Moses and Aaron and then by the judges. That time period was roughly between – 1446-1050BC.
As we began our trek through the books of Samuel through Chronicles with start with two main Characters Eli as it’s priest and 2nd to last judge and with Samuel, a man yet to be born, as it’s spiritual eyes of and last official judge of Israel.
Some points of note regarding Samuel and Eli are…
Eli the High Priest had two sons, Hophni and Phinehas. They were ungodly men who had no regard for God, they held the offerings of the Lord in contempt and led the people in sin.
In the end Eli and his sons would die. Hophni and Phinehas for their unrepentant hearts and ways, and Eli for not restraining or judging them.
Though Eli clearly had a love for the Lord his love for his sons was greater. God told him through a man of God (probably Samuel himself)
1Sam. 2:28-30, “(28) I selected your house from the tribes of Israel to be priests, to offer sacrifices on My altar, to burn incense, and to wear an ephod in My presence. I also gave your house all the Israelite fire offerings. (29) Why, then, do all of you despise My sacrifices and offerings that I require at the place of worship? You have honored your sons more than Me, by making yourselves fat with the best part of all of the offerings of My people Israel.’ (30) “Therefore, the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Although I said your family and your ancestral house would walk before Me forever, the LORD now says, “No longer!” I will honor those who honor Me, but those who despise Me will be disgraced.”
Now of course Samuel had already been born by the time of these events but I can only tell one story at a time.
BEFORE this, Samuel’s to-be parents Hannah and Elkanah remained childless because God had closed her womb. Elkanah actually had two wives, the other’s name was Peninnah who was NOT barren and who cruelly taunted Hannah. Hannah, grieved over not being able to bear children went to Shiloh, where the Ark of the Covenant and the priest were to pray for a child. Though the text does not say so, I imagine that Peninnah was moved to be cruel because it is quite possible she could see that Hannah, though barren, had more of their husband’s heart than she did. (We’ve seen this before with Jacob).
As she was weeping and praying, the high Priest Eli saw her lips moving with no discernible sound and assumed she was drunk. He chastised her for her drunkenness and she explained that she was not drunk but was deeply hurt because she could not bear children and had come to pray that the Lord would show her mercy. She made a vow that if the Lord would give her a child she would dedicate him to the Lord. Having heard all this Eli told her, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant the petition you’ve requested from Him.”
Of course, Samuel was conceived, reared up at home until he had been weaned and then, Hannah returned him to the Temple and presented him to Eli the Priest to serve the Lord all his days. Eli raised Samuel from that point forward.
Samuel grew and became appointed by God as a Prophet and Judge over Israel.
The Philistines attacked Israel and carried away the Ark of the Covenant and at the same time Eli and his son’s died according to the word of the Lord. The following passage summarizes the event well.
1Sam. 4:12-22, “(12) That same day, a Benjaminite man ran from the battle and came to Shiloh. His clothes were torn, and there was dirt on his head. (13) When he arrived, there was Eli sitting on his chair beside the road watching, because he was anxious about the ark of God. When the man entered the city to give a report, the entire city cried out. (14) Eli heard the outcry and asked, “Why this commotion?” The man quickly came and reported to Eli. (15) At that time Eli was 98 years old, and his gaze was fixed because he couldn’t see. (16) The man said to Eli, “I’m the one who came from the battle. I fled from there today.” “What happened, my son?” Eli asked. (17) The messenger answered, “Israel has fled from the Philistines, and also there was a great slaughter among the people. Your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are both dead, and the ark of God has been captured.” (18) When he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell backwards off the chair by the city gate, and since he was old and heavy, his neck broke and he died. Eli had judged Israel 40 years. (19) Eli’s daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant and about to give birth. When she heard the news about the capture of God’s ark and the deaths of her father-in-law and her husband, she collapsed and gave birth because her labor pains came on her. (20) As she was dying, the women taking care of her said, “Don’t be afraid. You’ve given birth to a son!” But she did not respond, and did not pay attention. (21) She named the boy Ichabod, saying, “The glory has departed from Israel,” referring to the capture of the ark of God and to the deaths of her father-in-law and her husband. (22) “The glory has departed from Israel,” she said, “because the ark of God has been captured.”
These events were important to mention because they revealed several things.
- God sometimes creates the very scenario that drives us to seek Him in prayer.
- Elkanah LOVED his wife and was a supportive husband. As you know, having children in those days – especially a male heir to carry on the bloodline was of immense importance. Elkanah reasoned with his wife that he was more valuable to her than 10 sons. This is important because it is just one more example of how husbands did in fact love their wives and did not simply treat them like cattle as it is so often said that they did.
- God listens to and expects us to fulfill our vows.
- A good man who has a love for the Lord may at the same time be a great mentor to a great pupil and a poor father to terrible sons.
- God expects to occupy the heist place of love, devotion and allegiance in our hearts – even above family as Jesus once said.
- God honors those who honor Him.
The Capture of the Ark of the Covenant
Points you may remember about the Ark being captured is that the Philistines carried it off, but soon regretted it and eventually returned it in a manner of speaking. Ironically this act of return the Ark showed more solid belief in God than the Israelites were showing at the same time.
This passage is one of the most important that we’ve covered in all these 6 books so I want us to review it and the very important takeaways we got from them. Just so you know all of this information -WORD FOR WORD – is taken from the website. The message was entitled “Honoring God” and it was on May the 13th of last year.
1 Samuel 4
The Philistines Capture the Ark
“(1) And Samuel’s words came to all Israel.
It isn’t clear what Samuel told the people, but we can take it from chapter 7:2 that up until this time, Israel as a nation, was not seeking, serving nor worshiping the Lord, but were in fact for worshiping their other gods and “Baal and the ashtoreth poles”. So it is not likely that Samuel was the one who encouraged them to go to war against their enemies because they were probably serving the gods of the Philistines and as such would not be protected by God.
“Israel went out to meet the Philistines in battle and camped at Ebenezer while the Philistines camped at Aphek. (2) The Philistines lined up in battle formation against Israel, and as the battle intensified, Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who struck down about 4,000 men on the battlefield. (3) When the troops returned to the camp, the elders of Israel asked, “Why did the LORD let us be defeated today by the Philistines?”
Much has to be assumed here since nothing is made clear. We have no idea WHO the elders were presenting this question to – Samuel, God Himself or was it simply an unspoken question in their minds?
Regardless, they came to an answer all on their own which suggests one of the latter options.
“Let’s bring the ark of the LORD’s covenant from Shiloh. Then it will go with us and save us from the hand of our enemies.” (4) So the people sent men to Shiloh to bring back the ark of the covenant of the LORD of Hosts, who dwells between the cherubim. Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God. (5) When the ark of the covenant of the LORD entered the camp, all the Israelites raised such a loud shout that the ground shook.”
At this time in their history, the Israelites were treating God like a “trophy god”. They made presumptions upon God’s power by taking an object they knew to have brought victory in times past into battle with them – without evoking or calling upon the favor and direction of God to do it. All was external and presumptive action – NONE of it was true heart worship. They were working a formula, not living a covenant relationship.
This is the same thing we discovered of ourselves back when we were in the WoF movement. Many of the things that we learned regarding seeking God and believing by faith were rooted in genuine scriptural truths but had become formulas and mechanical devices devoid of heart. We used them to obtain certain ends rather than those same actions springing up naturally out of a living relationship of knowing and trusting God. So by comparison, by doing all the “right things”, we were bringing our Ark into our battles but we failed to connect with our God or even consult Him and so we experienced defeat in much the same way as these Israelites did here in 1st Samuel.
Now I said that the Philistines showed more actual belief in God than the Israelites did and that is very true on one level. It was NOT saving faith in that they did not seek Israel as to how to make the God of Israel their God, but they did recognize His power, learn from the mistakes of others and honored God in the way they knew how. In returning the Ark of the Covenant they said amongst themselves
1Sam. 6:5-6, “(5) …Give glory to Israel’s God, and perhaps He will stop oppressing you, your gods, and your land. (6) Why harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened theirs? When He afflicted them, didn’t they send Israel away, and Israel left?”
The Ark was sent to Beth-shemesh but was almost immediately taken to Kiriath-jearim at Abinadab’s house where it stayed for 20 years. We cannot say with certainty whether Abinadab was of the priestly line or not, though Josephus records that they were. What we do know is that at very least these people were making an effort to show respect and honor to God and the Ark of the Covenant. God is gracious and will often work with our failings if our heart is right.
Another BIG takeaway from this is a comparison between the way the Israelites treated the Ark when they presumptuously took it into battle and now after it had been returned to them…
You can have all the right ceremonies and no heart and it will be rejected, but you can have the wrong ceremonies and the right heart and God will be merciful.
It was at this point that all of Israel began to seek the Lord, and Samuel began to be their national Judge.
“(3) If you are returning to the LORD with all your heart, get rid of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths that are among you, dedicate yourselves to the LORD, and worship only Him. Then He will rescue you from the hand of the Philistines.” (4) So the Israelites removed the Baals and the Ashtoreths and only worshiped the LORD. (5) Samuel said, “Gather all Israel at Mizpah, and I will pray to the LORD on your behalf.” (6) When they gathered at Mizpah, they drew water and poured it out in the LORD’s presence. They fasted that day, and there they confessed, “We have sinned against the LORD.” And Samuel began to lead the Israelites at Mizpah as their judge.”
One thing I want you to remember that may or may not be the most important thing in the world, but it enjoys a place of commemoration in the body of Christ which sadly most people do not understand and that is the word Ebenerzer.
Well in this same chapter, Israel almost begged Samuel to continue to pray for them so that they would not be defeated by the Philistines. So Samuel offered up a burnt offering – which was the exact same time the Philistines chose to attack. God
“thundered loudly against the Philistines that day and threw them into such confusion that they fled before Israel.”
After this, Samuel took a stone and set it upright between Mizpah and Shen and named it Ebenezer. As he did so he explained his action as recorded that “The LORD has helped us to this point.”
One of the places this name is recalled even today is in the song we sang tonight “Come thou Fount of every Blessing”. The specific phrase says – “Here I raise my Ebenezer, Here there by Thy great help I’ve come.”
Now throughout the rest of Samuel’s life the Philistines remained under God’s judgment and there was a sustained peace between Israel and the Amorite.
Samuel made his personal home in Ramah and judged Israel from there where he also built an altar to the Lord.
I hope this teaching will challenge you and encourage you to place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
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