King's Business - 1915-02



away from the LORD their God to go and serve the gods of the nations (Deut. 29: 18) that He would not spare them, that in­ deed, if they continued in their turning away from Him, the whole land would become “brimstone and salt and burning” (Deut.. 29:23) “because they had forsaken the cove­ nant of the LORD God of their fathers”- (Deut. 29:25, 26). “And the two sons of Eli, Hoptmi ana Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.” The fact that Hophni and Phinehas were with the ark boded ill of: any good that might be expected from the ark (ch. 2:12). Though descendants of Eli, they had no business with the ark, for they were utterly untrue to God, but they had as much business with the ark of God as some preachers today have in the house of God. Eli would have done well to have kept Hophni and Phinehas at home for he know that they were doomed men (ch. 2:34). v. 5. “And when the ark o f the covenant o f the LORD cam e in to the cam p, all Is­ rael sh o u ted W ith a g rea t sh out, so th a t the earth ran g again.” There is a good deal of vain shouting in our day over mere outward religious achievement when there has been no real heart progress. What a noise we make when we have erected some new and beautiful church structure; what big meet­ ings are called and what congratulatory ad­ dresses are delivered; when oftentimes after all God is not there at all. What a noise we make over our great religious gatherings in which oftentimes there is no real seek­ ing after God to know and do His will, but only a display of the oratorical gifts of some of our supposed leaders. All such shouting is likely to end in crying as did the shout­ ing of Israel in this case. So great was the shouting in this case that “the earth rang again,” but though the noise was great there was nothing in it after alb for God and therefore nothing in it that was real for Israel. Only a few years ago we had a largely advertised movement of a religious character with boastings that made the earth fairly ring with what it was going to ac-

far in recognizing that their defeat came from God. Their mistake was in not going deep enough in seeking the cause and above all that they did not look right into their own hearts. “Let us fetch the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD out of Shiloh unto us, that when it cometh among us, it may save us out of the hand of our enemies.” This was a, confession of their dependence upon Je­ hovah but it was only an outward and merely formal confession of faith in Je­ hovah and in such a confession there is ho power. This was much easier than true heart repentance and humiliation of self be­ fore God and putting away sin. It did no good to have the ark in the damp while their hearts were still away from Jehovah whose ark it was. The ark, it is true, had led them safely through the waters of Jor­ dan and to victory at Jericho (Joshua 6 :4, 5) but it was when Jehovah, whose pres­ ence the ark smybolized, was really with them. The meeting house is a saving power in the nation today when the people truly seek God there, but it is vain to trust in the meeting house when our hearts are de­ parted from the God who once met us there. “We are all right,” many are saying today, "just look at the number and beauty of our churches.” Yes,' church buildings are nu­ merous and they are magnificent, but is God there ? v. 4. “So the people went to Shiloh, that they might bring from thence the ark of the covenant of the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth between the cherubim.” Yes, Je­ hovah dwelt between the cherubim on the ark, i. e., that was the place where He pe­ culiarly manifested Himself ; and the ark was “the ark of the covenant of the LORD of hosts,” He was “the LORD of hosts,” the One who really rules in battle and gives victory to whom He will, and He had made a covenant with His people, and the ark was “the ark of the covenant,” but He had not covenanted to deliver His people when they were not right with Him. Indeed, in His covenant He had told them distinctly that if they were untrue to Him, that if they turned

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