1 Samuel 4:1-11

 At that time Israel was at war with the Philistines. 

At the time Samuel was established as a prophet and seer before the LORD in the presence of all Israel, the Philistines and their five lords were at war with Israel. 

The Israelite army was camped near Ebenezer, and the Philistines were at Aphek. 2 

Ebenezer was significant, because Samuel and the children of Israel defeated the Philistines near Ebenezer later in 1 Samuel and at that point they called it (further internal evidence that 1 Samuel was written after the victory at Ebenezer, after the events described herein) Ebenezer, meaning “Thus far has the LORD helped us.”

The Philistines attacked and defeated the army of Israel, killing 4,000 men.  After the battle was over, the troops retreated to their camp, and the elders of Israel asked, “Why did the Lord allow us to be defeated by the Philistines?” 

Hmmm, I wonder why.  Geez, these people are idiots, or dense.  Did they forget the idolatry they engaged.

Then they said, “Let’s bring the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord from Shiloh. If we carry it into battle with us, it<sup class="footnote" value="[a]”>[a] will save us from our enemies.”

So the ark will save you from your enemies.  Riiiight….

 4 So they sent men to Shiloh to bring the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, who is enthroned between the cherubim. Hophni and Phinehas, the sons of Eli, were also there with the Ark of the Covenant of God. 5 When all the Israelites saw the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord coming into the camp, their shout of joy was so loud it made the ground shake!
 6 “What’s going on?” the Philistines asked. “What’s all the shouting about in the Hebrew camp?” When they were told it was because the Ark of the Lord had arrived, 7 they panicked. “The gods have<sup class="footnote" value="[b]”>[b] come into their camp!” they cried. “This is a disaster! We have never had to face anything like this before! 8 Help! Who can save us from these mighty gods of Israel? They are the same gods who destroyed the Egyptians with plagues when Israel was in the wilderness. 9 Fight as never before, Philistines! If you don’t, we will become the Hebrews’ slaves just as they have been ours! Stand up like men and fight!”
 10 So the Philistines fought desperately, and Israel was defeated again. The slaughter was great; 30,000 Israelite soldiers died that day. The survivors turned and fled to their tents. 11 The Ark of God was captured, and Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were killed.

Well, we can see that strategy worked out really well for them.

And that strategy looks like it’s worked out really well for us.  We trust in so many things that are not the Lord, and we get into so much trouble as a result of trusting to those other things.  And I know I am not just preaching to my audience.  I am preaching to myself.  Really, if you and I would trust the Lord, we would make it through these obstacles and adversaries.

Are you trusting to your own lucky charms, or the Lord for deliverance?  Even the things that look good and were given to you by God, including your own God-given gifts and talents cannot deliver you. 

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