King's Business - 1915-02



care of His own ark and God did take care of the ark (chs. 5, 6), though for the time being He deserted His people in order to bring them to their senses. What Eli's heart might well tremble for was Israel and his sons. Christians today are unduly con­ cerned about the honor of God and His name and their hearts tremble lest some mighty Philistine demolish the ark of God and prove the Bible false and Christianity a delusion. No need to worry about that,. God will take care of the a rk ; but our hearts may well tremble for some weak-hearted and weak-headed professed Christians who may be swept off their feet by the assaults of the numerous Philistines in our schools and colleges and churches. v. 18. “And it came 'to pass, when lie made mention of the ark of God that he fell off the seat backward by the side of the gate, and his neck break, and he died for he was an old man and heavy. And he had judged Israel forty years.” Poor E li! What a comment on a life that for many years had been a life of real service. But he had sac­ rificed the interests of God’s work at the suggestions of his affection for his unworthy sons and he paid the price. They asked the wherefore of the dis­ aster, v. 3. Their thoughts turned to the ark of the covenant, v. 3. They called for the ask to be brought from Shiloh, v. 3. They believe that the presence of the ark will bring victory, v. 3. The people repaired to Shiloh and fetched the ark, v. 4. The ark had a dwelling place, v. 4; Ps. 80:1; Ps. 90:1. It abode between the cherubims, Num. 7 :89. It was God’s meet­ ing place for His people, Exod. 25:18-22. Eli’s two sons had charge of the ark, v 4 • Num. 4 :5-15. (3) The Adventure of the Ark and Its Dis­ astrous Result, vs. 5-11.

very well knew that He was doing Israel a kindness when. He removed them (cf. ch. 2:34, 35). The Philistines doubtless thought they had made a great capture when they took the ark of God, but they soon found out their mistake and were glad enough to send the ark back again (ch. 5). v. 13. “And when he came, Lo, Eli sat upon a seat by the wayside watching, for his heart trembled for the ark of God.” What a pathetic picture this presents. Eli, once a mighty man of God, but now deserted both by the God to whom he had been faith­ less and by the sons for whose sake he had sacrificed the interests of his God, but still full of yearning for the interests of God and His people, sitting by the wayside watching for the messenger who he hopes may bring a message of victory but who in the depths of his heart he knows can bring nothing but a message of defeat! It is a solemn warning that every servant of God who is tempted to betray in the smallest degree the interests of God’s work for the sake of his own family may well lay to heart. It was quite unnecessary, however, that Eli’s heart should “tremble for the ark of God,” God is abundantly able to take (1) The Armies in Array, and Defeat of Israel, vs. 1, 2. The Lord revealed Himself to Samuel by His Word, ch. 3:21. The word of Samuel came to all. Israel, v. I The armies of Israel gathered at Eben­ ezer, vs. 1. . The army of the Philistines marshall at Aphek, v. 1. The armies of Israel are smitten by the Philistines, v. 2. Israel at this tifne was probably subject to the Philistines. (2) The Ark of God and Its Desecration, vs. 3, 4. The elders of" Israel are astonished at their defeat, v. 3.


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