King's Business - 1915-02



complish, but it ended in utter fizzle and futility. You can never measure thé value of a religious movement by the amount of preliminary noise that it makes. v. 7. “ And the Philistines were afraid, for they said, God is come into the camp.” The enemies of the LORD are always afraid when they think His people are turning unto Him. The Philistines knew well enough that they had no chance against the people of Jehovah when they were loyal to their God, though those same people had been their sport when they were disloyal to God. There was reason in the fear of the Philis­ tines; if God really had come into the camp as they supposed He had, they might well have said, “Woe unto us.” Unfortunately, God had not come into the camp, or at all events had not come into the camp as a Deliverer but as a Judge. v. 8. “Woe unto us! Who shall deliver us out of the hands of these mighty gods? These are the gods that smote the Egyp­ tians with all the plagues in the wilderness.” The Philistines had got things a little mixed. It was not “mighty gods” but one “mighty God” who had smitten the Egyp­ tians and it was not “in the wilderness” but in Egypt that He had smitten them, but if the One and only God Jehovah who had smitten the Egyptians had really been with Israel, the Philistines might well have asked, “Who shall deliver us out of the hand of this mighty God ?” But they could have found no answer to the question,, no one could have delivered them out of His hand. The day came when He was with Israel and when the Philistines therefore could find no deliverer. v. 9. “Be strong and quit yourselves like men.” It was the Philistines who said this, and their exhortation to one another is a very good one for Christian soldiers as well as Philistines. Paul takes, it up and gives it to believers in 1 Corinthians 16:13. The great need among believers today is those who are strong and who do quit themselves like men. The average believer is weak and quits himself like a baby. He is good at crying but not good at fighting. But if God

had been on the side of Israel as they fancied He was; it would* have done the Philistines little good to quit themselves like men, their defeat would have been cer­ tain in spite of all their manliness and strength. v. 10. “And the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and they tied every man into his tent.” It is a sad sight to see the army of the Lord on the run, but often to­ day when the world fights, Christians run for shelter, but they need never run if they will get right with God, put away their sin and trust in Him for strength and victory. When that day was over, there were 30,000 footmen of Israel dead; all this because of sin 1 Sin is the most expensive thing in the universe. v. 11. “And the ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phine- has, were slain.” How little the ark of God availed when God was not there; how little the form of Godliness avails when the power is gone (2 Tim. 3:5). The whole secret of this awful defeat is revealed in Psalm 78: 56-64. One might have chased a thousand and “two put 10,000 to flight” “except their Rock had sold them and the LORD had shut them up,” just as He said He would (Deut. 32:30). But on the other hand, there is. no telling what may happen to a people when their God forsakes them (2 Chron. 28:6). As appalling as the slaughter of our lesson was, it was all in love, a wise chastisement from a loving God to bring wandering Israel back to Himself. The death of Hophni and Phinehas in one day was an exact and minute fulfillment of prophecy (ch. 2:34). God fulfills His prophetic Word of threatening as well as His prophetic Word of promise to the very letter. That day was not without its com­ pensations for Israel; they may have gained more by the death of Hophni and Phinehas than they lost by the death of the 30,000. It is a blessed thing for a nation and for a church when some of its leaders die. Though doubtless there were many found to lament the death of Hophni and Phinehas, and to pronounce a eulogy at their funeral, God

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