This past Sunday we had a special speaker named Paul Fraser.
Paul shared on 1 Samuel 4. He talked about how Israel went into battle against the Philistines and initially is soundly beaten. Then, Israel decides that they will take the Ark of the Covenant with them into the next battle with the Philistines. They are thinking that the Ark will be to them like a lucky charm and guarantee their success.
The Ark was the place where the Lord was to dwell in Israel, and the Israelites in a sense thought that they had God in a box and that if they brought the Ark into their battles that the Lord would go with them. However, just having the Ark didn’t mean that the Lord would be with them.
So, the Lord did not go with Israel into the battle, and thus they are soundly defeated and the Philistines capture the Ark and take it back to one of their cities to place it proudly on display in one of their shrines to their god Dagon.
One thing I walked away with was that many “christians” think that they can have God in a box. They think that they can go and live their life however they want to live it, walking outside of the guidelines of scriptures for their lives, yet if they just pray that God will act like a Genie in a bottle and grant their wishes. Or, they think that if they just wear a cross, just make the sign of the cross, just recite the Lord’s prayer, just get baptized, just join a church, etc., that they are going to have God’s favor. And when God does not show up and deliver them, they are choked at God. However, a person will never have “God’s favor” unless they come to the place in life of surrender to God, repentance of sin in our life, and then trust in the promises of God’s word.
Paul had a number of thoughts on this passage, I would be interested to hear what you would have to think!