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Quiet Time in 1 Samuel 4


SIN ( 1 Samuel 4:3 ): I find the Israelites constant dependence on shrines and such to be an interesting one. Essentially, after the all the miracles You’ve performed for them, they still require some type of physical idol to lean on. I have and, in some ways, still do this in my life, Father. I have false idols that I tend to covet more than You at times. Please forgive me for this, Father. I should not need any type of physical idol to hold my hope in as You are enough. Please continue to remind me of this throughout my life, Father, so that I do not continuously go back into my old, false idol worshiping ways as I mature in my faith.

PROMISE ( 1 Samuel 4:6-8 ): These verses are interesting. The Philistines find out that the ark of the Lord is physically in the possession of the Israelites they are about to go into battle against. This reminds them of the promise the Israelite’s God made to them many years prior which allowed them to defeat the Philistines. What they didn’t realize is that You had made no promises on this battle and that the Israelites were actually doomed with their false idol in-hand. Sometimes we think that the promises of old are never-ending and do not realize that they are solely for that moment. I need to remember this so that I do not take Your promises to heart as a forever promise, because it could very well be just for that particular moment. If the Philistines had simply run away because of the previous promise, then they never would have had a glorious victory over the Israelites in this moment.

ATTITUDE ( 1 Samuel 4:20-22 ): Eli’s daughter-in-law, essentially the sole survivor from his family from what I gather, has a poor attitude in this moment. I understand that she is grieving because she just lost her husband and father-in-law, but throughout all of that she gives birth to a son as well. Her attitude is not focused on grieving the loss of Eli nor her husband, Phinehas. Her attitude is not focused on the amazing and sole positive thing that just occurred when she gave birth to a son. No, instead her attitude is focused on the false idol that was lost in this battle. How often has my attitude been focused on the things that don’t matter, Father? How often have I let unimportant things in this life blind me to what’s important and likely right there in front of me? Help me with this, Father. Help me to remove the blinders so I can focus more on the things that are truly important in this life.

COMMAND ( 1 Samuel 4:3 ): God, You tell us not to covet false idols. You tell us not to put anything above You. What do the Israelites do here, however? The exact opposite of both of those commands. Not only did they covet a false idol, but they put it far above You. They were anxious in their question about why You would allow them to be defeated, so instead of leaning on You about it they chose to bring this physical object with them into the next battle because it would “save us from the hands of our enemies.” They didn’t say You would save them. They said this ark of God would save them; a manmade object which they worshipped in-place of You. Help me to be better at following Your commands, Father, so that I do not fall into this same worldly trap which the Israelites fell into.

EXAMPLE ( 1 Samuel 4:13 ): Even Eli, the man which You chose to be the judge of Israel for 40 years, had grown to become an idol worshipper of this ark of God. He wasn’t “anxiously awaiting” to hear if the Israelites had won. He wasn’t “anxiously awaiting” to hear if his sons were still alive after the battle. No, You tell us that he was anxious about the ark of God. How backwards is this? He seemingly had no concern over the lives of over 30,000 Israelites nor his children and instead of worried about some physical object and whether or not it survived the war and was brought back to him.

*DAILY NOTE: There is so much to learn from this single chapter in the book of Samuel. False idol worshipping, faith in material things, keeping our attitudes and minds focused on what’s important in this life, prioritizing You over all else, and more. I need more “baby steps” in my faith, Father. This was like a fire hose blasting at me with wisdom from You, which require big leaps not “baby steps” in my walk. I know Your way is always right, but all of this at once does make me feel a little overwhelmed about it. Help me to be at peace in my heart, Father. Help me to keep You as my top priority in this life and not these physical objects.



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