Prayer: God You are everything. It is by your power that waves are tossed on the ocean and the waters are held back from the land. Your glory is on display all around us for us to realize the power of Your love. Flowers in bloom and trees budding, the powerful smells of spring remind us that we can say and do things that lift up to You in a pleasing aroma for You. God we truly do love You and we appreciate all the things You do for us that we don’t even realize. Somebody once said that “the last thing a fish would ever notice is water.” There is a sea of things we don’t notice that You are doing for us that we want to thank you for.
The setting of Samuel ch. 4 is the Israelite camp and in Shiloh where Samuel as a young boy or man has been ministering unto the Lord with Eli the prophet. Now Samuel was born to Elkah and Hannah. Hannah was barren and was anguished because of it. She prayed hard that she would bare a son and promised to dedicate Him to God if she bore one. She bore Samuel and then weened him and after that gave Him to the Lord by putting him in the care of Eli the prophet in the temple of Shiloh.
Samuel heard the voice of The Lord, was established as a prophet and everyone in Israel knew this. Eli’s sons Hophni and Phinehas were evil servants. They stood at the temple door and when the poeple of Israel came to offer sacrifice to The Lord they would have to go through these two young men. Sometimes they would threaten to take their portion of The Lord’s sacrifice from the people by force. This greatly upset God. They also lay with the women who would come through the doors of the temple. All in all they were of the world, very licentious in the eyes of God and were leading God’s people astray. God wanted them dead.
Imagine spiritually preparing yourself to go to temple or church and then finding these two known leaders acting like this. It would confuse us as to the nature of God and encourage us that it is okay to follow the ways of the world. Eli did not control his sons and there was a prophecy spoken against his life by a prophet from another place and then by Samuel. It was the first time Samuel spoke for God and Eli’s response was “He is God, let Him do as He sees is right.” Eli took it like a true man of God.
With Samuel being a new and learning prophet God still hadn’t shown Him enough of His nature or done anything in His life that would really hold a steadfastness in his mind that would keep him in belief of The Lord. From This point forward, reader, please understand that what is being written is coming form a place of prayerful speculation. That doesn’t mean it’s completely true or completely false.
The boy Samuel I will venture to guess was praying to God a lot for the great many people who were affected by Hophni and Phinehas and also praying for Hophni and Phinehas themselves. God’s answer came in the form of a battle. This battle was the refining fire for Israel as it killed 33,000ish soldiers of Israel including Hophni and Phinehas. The resulting news from the battle line killed Eli and Phinehas’ wife, Eli’s daughter in law and caused the labor of the new baby Ichabod.
It caused that the arc of God be captured by the Philistines and eventually for the Phillistines to experience first hand who The God of Israel is. This post will be continued later labeled Samuel on the Sidelines part 2.