SERIES: 09 1 Samuel - 2021
MESSAGE: 1 Samuel 2:22-4:22
SPEAKER: Skip Heitzig
SCRIPTURE: 1 Samuel 2:22-4:22

1 Samuel 2:22-4:22 - Skip Heitzig

Calvary Church is dedicated to doctrine, and we want you to experience the life change that comes from knowing God's word and applying it to your life. So we explain the Bible verse by verse-- every chapter, every book. This is Expound.

Good evening.
Like the guy in the video indicated, we are in the book of 1 Samuel. So let's turn in our Bibles to the Old Testament, the book of 1 Samuel, a portion of what was the scripture in the day of Jesus, in the day of Paul. That's what they were referring to when they were referring to the writings, or the law, or the prophets-- the scriptures.

We're studying what was their Bible, some of these great stories that, unfortunately, many Christians are not familiar with. You are the exception. You're the blessed exception. You are my tribe. I love the fact that you love going through the Bible together. And there's such a great benefit in going through the scriptures together as a congregation, verse by verse, being on the same page. I trust that you have read in advance some of these chapters, so that you're familiar with them. And we are in 1 Samuel, chapter 2. We want to finish that out.

The Chinese had a proverb that said one generation plants the trees. The next generation receives the shade. They get the benefit. It was Hannah and Elkanah that planted the trees. It was the next generation, through the Prophet Samuel, that received the benefit of their planting. Now the story begins with a woman who is unable to bear children. She's preoccupied with the fact that she cannot have children. So she prays fervently that the Lord would give her not just a child. But she's very specific. She wants a boy, a boy that she can give back to God for the purposes of God.

And she said Lord, if you answer my prayer and give me a male child, a boy, I'm going to giving back to you. I'm going to lend him to you all the days of his life. He's going to serve you. So that was exactly in line with what God wanted. He wanted to raise up a leader during this very volatile time in Jewish history, the period of the judges, as we mentioned last week.

They went from a theocracy, into anarchy. And now they're about to enter into a monarchy. In this little shoulder period, God raises up a prophet to prepare the country for that, the land for that. And that is the prophet Samuel. The leadership in Israel at this time was a man by the name of Eli. He is the priest in the Tabernacle, the central place of worship in Shiloh.

Eli is a good guy. He's a godly man. The only problem with him is, he's a passive man. His two boys, Hophni and Phinehas, are corrupt. We're told, in chapter 2, they don't know the Lord. They're ministering. They're in the priesthood. But they don't care about God's ways. They don't care about God's laws. They seem to not even care about God, if they even believe in God.

So Eli has the privilege of being the mentor to this young little lad by the name of Shmuel. Shmuel is his Hebrew name. That's what Eli would have called him. Shmuel means God hears, God listens. And that's a great name. Because in the text we're about to read-- we'll get to it tonight. Promise. He is taught to say by Eli, when God calls his name, speak, Lord. For your servant is listening, is hearing. He's fulfilling his name.

So notice, in chapter 2, verse 22, it says, now Eli was very old. And he heard everything his sons did to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who assembled at the door of the Tabernacle of Meeting.

First a word about this designation of his age. Says he was very old. Now, I know age is a relative thing. I know that, for example, Paul the apostle refers to himself as old. When he writes a little letter in the New Testament, Philemon, he refers to himself as Paul the aged, or the aged one.

Now, I've always found that interesting. Because history would indicate that Paul died at around age 58. Wasn't even 60 years old. He was born AD 6. He died around AD 64. So he's approaching 60. He's not yet 60. He's around 58 years of age when he died. Yet when he writes Philemon, he says man, I'm an old man.

So I know age is a relative thing. I know that people travel long distances and got beat up a lot. And he was feeling his age. But I've already outlived Paul the old man. But this guy, Eli, it says he's an old man. Now that, he was old. He's-- well, again, it's relative. I understand that. Methuselah was 969 years old.

But Eli was-- he will die at 98 years of age. So he's approaching 100 when this text is written. So when it says he's old, I'm going to agree with that. He was very old. And he heard everything his sons did. Now, he probably knew all that they were doing. In fact, he does know all that they're doing.

But the best he can do is sort of slap their wrist. Say boys, you know, I hear that you put the flesh hook in, and you get the best meat. You don't take the boiled meat. You don't take the shoulder. You don't take the thigh, like the law says. You're sort of taking the best of the meat that people are bringing to the sacrifice at the Tabernacle. You're taking it home and cooking it how you want to. you know that's bad. You know that God designated what we can have.

And I hear that you're sleeping around with women at the door of the Tabernacle. You know, guys, probably not a good thing. You know, he's just a kind of a passive guy. So the blame will be laid on him.

Now, just a note about this.

When it comes to women serving at the Tabernacle, there is a text. And I'll read it to you, in Exodus chapter 38. That's the only reference we have to this. So I'm going to read it to you. This is Exodus 38. In verse 8, it says he made the labor of bronze, and its base of bronze, from the bronze of the serving women who assembled at the door of the Tabernacle of Meeting. That's the only other reference we have to women serving at the door of the Tabernacle.

What were they doing? We're not sure. Some think they were just sort of cleaning up the place. Maybe they were just like ushers, welcoming people into the sacrifices. But by the time we get to the New Testament, there's a woman who it says does not depart from the temple. Her name is Anna. She is there day and night, worshipping the Lord. And she, like a few others, are waiting for the Lord's promise.

But Hophni and Phinehas, priests, were taking advantage of some of these young gals, forcing themselves upon them, and having sexual relations with them. Now, that was not unheard of in Canaanite pagan worship systems. And that's the point, is they're taking a practice from paganism. And they're introducing it into this set apart, holy, singular worship of Yahweh, worship of God. And it's all happening not in their own private tents, but at the door of the Tabernacle.

We would suppose that the safest place in the world. You could be is God's house. I'm going to church. It's going to be safe there. Well, if you think about it in terms of Jesus and his disciples, you may have said the same thing that the night that he had the Last Supper in Jerusalem. You would have said, man, the place to be tonight is that upper room, where Jesus is hanging out with his disciples, having Passover.

But we're told that Satan was there that night. Satan had an interest in what was going on there. It says Satan entered Judas Iscariot. So wherever God is working, wherever God is moving, understand, there's going to be a countermove of the enemy.

So over the years, we've heard of things that have happened at the church, on the grounds-- unsavory things that have happened, from drug deals on down. So just because it's the place where God's people meet doesn't make it necessarily the most savory place. Because people are people. People need the Lord. People that come aren't always saved. And Hophni and Phinehas were two that served in the Tabernacle, but didn't know the Lord, we are told.

By the way, Hophni and Phinehas are interesting names. The word Hophni, the name Hophni, means tadpole. Now, I don't know why he got named tadpole. But I do know that parents often name their kids based upon circumstances of their birth. He probably came out, and was squiggling around, moving around. And so they just thought, look. He looks like a tadpole. Let's just call him that. So Hophni means tadpole.

Phineas means dark one. And probably, Phineas had a darker complexion than tadpole. So their name stuck, and they became the priests. And maybe they just sort of rebelled against their names, like a boy named Sue, like Johnny Cash used to sing, and became ornery.

So they lay with the women who are assembled at the door of the Tabernacle. So dad found out about it. Didn't really do anything. Was passive. But let's pick it up in verse 27 of 1 Samuel, chapter 2. Then a man of God came to Eli. We don't know the name of this man of God. We don't need to know the name. His description is good enough for me. He's a man of God.

And I love that title. I love that designation, to be known as a godly man, a man of God, a woman of God. So some unknown person, but a godly man, a man of God, came and said to him, thus says the Lord. Now, this is the Lord's speaking through this prophetic voice to Eli.

And the Lord says, did I not clearly reveal myself to the house of your father, when they were in Egypt, in Pharaoh's house, referring to the house of Aaron, from whence came the tribe-- or the priesthood and the tribe of Levi? Did I not choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer upon my altar, to burn incense, and to wear an ephod before me? Did I not give to the house of your father all the offerings of the children of Israel made by fire?

Why do you kick that my sacrifice and my offering, which I have commanded in my habitation and honor your sons more than me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel, my people? Now, again, Eli was not doing any of these things. But he knew what was going on. And he was passive about his children.

And in letting them get by with all that they were getting by with, the prophet says-- the Lord says, through the Prophet-- you are honoring your sons more than you are honoring me. Sometimes, a young couple starts out in love with each other, but in love with the Lord, determined to serve the Lord as a couple, determined to raise a godly family. And they have children. And something happens. Not always, but something happens.

They turn and make the child the center of the home. It's all about junior. It's all about him. It's all about her. It's called child centered parenting, and that's dangerous. Well, we got away. You know, we used to come to church. And we used to pray. We used to do a lot of things. But we can't now, because it's all about the child, and the child's schedule.

No bring the child, with you to the Lord's house. Bring the child with you to God's place of worship. Let the child see you in love with God more than in love with him. Oh, I don't want to make my child do anything. I don't want to discipline my child. I want them to like me.

Do you understand? Do you know, God doesn't call you to make your child like you? And I've said this so many times. What your child thinks of you today is far less important than what your child will say of you later on. And if you let them get by with whatever you let them get by with, they're not going to respect you later on.

But so many parents want to make their children to be just like them. I want my child to like me, and I want my child to be like me. If you are trying to get your child to be like you, you will not like what they become.
So all the blame gets put on Eli by this man of God. You honor your sons more than me, and make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel, my people. Therefore, the Lord God of Israel said, I said indeed that your house and the house of your father would walk before me forever. But now, the Lord says, far be it from me. For those who honor me, I will honor. And those who despise me. I shall be lightly esteemed.

Behold the days are, coming that I will cut off your arm, that is your strength, and the arm of your father's house, so that there will not be an old man in your house. In other words, you're the last old man, old man. And you will see an enemy in my habitation, despite all the good which God gives for Israel. And there shall not be an old man in your house forever.

Now that, will be fulfilled in chapter 4. But any of your men whom I do not cut off from my altar shall consume your eyes and grieve your heart. And all the descendants of your house shall die in the flower of their age. Now, this shall be a sign to you that will come upon your two sons, on tadpole, Hophni, and Phineas, the darker complected boy.

In one day, they shall die, both of them. Then I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who shall do according to what is in my heart and in my mind. Boy, this is a hard message to deliver.

If God said to whoever this was, I want you to go to the priest. And you're going to lay the hammer down to this guy. You're going to tell them a message of judgment. I'm sure that he went there with a lump in his throat. Probably not with a lot of bravado, but I'm guessing humility. Somebody once said, courage is just fear that has said its prayers. I'm sure he said Lord, help me. Deliver me from evil, but help me deliver this message faithfully.

Now, I know you're hearing this. And some of you are thinking, well, I would never do that. I could never confront a person like that. If you loved them, you could. If you were their friend, you could. Proverbs 27 tells us, open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend. But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

So this man loved Eli. He loved God, loved Eli, was a friend to him, and probably had a relationship already established with him, and approached him and spoke these words. But look at verse 35. Then I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who shall do according to what is in my heart, in my mind. And I will build him a sure house. And he shall walk before my anointed forever.

And it shall come to pass that everyone who has left your house will come and bow down to him for a piece of silver and a morsel of bread, and say please, put me in one of the priestly positions, that I may eat a piece of bread. Now, I'm not sure exactly who that is in reference to. But I have a pretty good hunch about who this ultimately refers to.

I'm going to venture a guess. It could be that he is saying, I'm going to cut off your lineage in the priesthood-- which means, and it happened that the lineage eventually, that will end up with Abiathar, the priest will end. And the priesthood under a man named Zadok will be established. Also, it could be a reference to the millennial kingdom, where we are told that the descendants of Zadok will, in perpetuity, be ministering the temple sacrifices during that time.

But my greater hunch is this is a reference to none other than the priesthood of the Lord Jesus Christ, that the ultimate fulfillment is that the priesthood of Aaron is going to end. And God is going to raise up a priest, according to the order of Melchizedek. It's established in the Book of Psalms. It's established in the book of Hebrews that Jesus is a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek, not the line of Aaron, not the priesthood of Aaron-- but that in the New Covenant God established through Christ, he is the ultimate high priest, whose lineage will stand forever as that.

Now, in chapter 3, we are told this. Then the boy Samuel ministered to the Lord before Eli. I love it whenever somebody young wants to minister to the Lord. I've always believed in a youth movement. I was part of a youth movement. I was once a youth. And the movement was called the Jesus movement. It started on the West Coast. And there were all these young, crazy, long haired, drug-- once drug induced-- surfers who came to Christ. And the Lord used them. And we had a powerful mentor who planted the trees. And we received the shade.

And so I get so stoked. I get so excited when somebody today, some young person-- the other day, I was in a store. And this gal came up to me. She goes, I just love your sermons. And I talked to her. I said, how old are you? She goes, I'm 19. I said great. And she was just on fire. And I said, well, what do you studying? She goes, I'm studying political science. I went wow, that's brave.

I said, what do you think God's calling you to do? And she goes, I want to be president of the United States. I said, I'll vote for you. Got my vote. 19, on fire, loves the Lord, loves studying the word of God, and wants to be president? Come on. How good is that?

The boy Samuel ministered to the Lord before Eli. And notice this. The word of the Lord was rare in those days. There was no widespread revelation. I happen to like a translation called the John Knox translation of this verse. The Knox translation translates it this way. A message from God was a rare treasure, a rare treasure.

In other words, God wasn't speaking much in those days. Well, why is that? My guess is, people weren't listening much in those days. God had tried to speak on a number of occasions. People shut that door. And because they didn't want to listen, God had nothing more to say. So a word from the Lord, a message from God, was a rare treasure.

To be quite honest, I think that this could be said of many pulpits. Many churches, the word of the Lord, a message from the Lord, Bible based, based on the exegesis of a scriptural text, is rare. So many people want to make it about just an exciting event, or the next pop psychology thing that everybody's about, or a political rally. The word of the Lord is rare. There was no widespread revelation.

And it came to pass at that time, while Eli was lying down in his place, and his eyes had begun to grow so dim that he could not see-- so you know, he's in his 90s. He's not able to see he used to. We can relate with that. You get cataracts at a certain age. Most all adults do. So you lose that clarity of vision. Of course, there's surgery for that today. But this old guy needed glasses, contacts, cataract surgery, whatever. He just-- he can't see what he used to.

His eyes began to grow dim, so dim that he couldn't see. And before the lamp of God went out in the Tabernacle of the Lord where the Ark of God was, and while Samuel was lying down to sleep, that the Lord called Samuel. And he answered, here I am.

OK, I'm going to slow down just a bit. It was the duty of the priest, morning and evening, to go into the Tabernacle, later on the temple. And if you were the priest, and you walked into that room that was the Holy place, to your left hand side would be a seven branched candlestick, the menorah, the lamp stand. It was to be perpetually lit. The priest lit it every morning, every evening. It was never to go out. It was never to flicker. It was never to go completely out. It was always to be lit.

I'll just give you the text. In Exodus chapter 27, verse 20, you shall command the children of Israel, that they bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to cause the lamp to burn continually in the Tabernacle of Meeting, outside the veil-- that is outside the Holy of holies, which is before the testimony. Aaron and his son shall attend it from evening until morning before the Lord. It shall be a statute forever to their generations on behalf of the children of Israel.
Eli was old. He couldn't see if that lamp is on or off. Samuel, young, good eyes, could. So it sounds like young Samuel actually slept in the Holy place. He had his bed there. He spent the night in the Holy place, so that if that lamp goes out, and it starts growing dim, starts to flicker, he can get up and go get the old man, who is the priest. And it was his duty to keep it lit. He could go then go in, and keep it lit.

But I see this as a metaphor. The light is going out in the nation. Spiritually, morally, it's beginning to flicker. God is going to rekindle the light through this young prophet, through this youthful prophet, who's going to minister before the Lord to the nation, be a spokesperson, raise up a king, et cetera. God is going to turn on the light through him.

Know this. Whenever things get really dark, God has something up his sleeve. God has a light out there somewhere.

The sky was awfully dark one night in Bethlehem, when God decided to hang a star in the sky that pointed to his star on the stage, the coming of Jesus.

So, young people, be available. Be God's next shining star, lighter of the lamp, bringing the light to a dark country, the next president of the United States-- well, not the next one, but coming up.
So, the Lord called Samuel, Shmuel? Something like that-- just some little-- just called his name. And he said, here I am. So he ran to Eli and said, here I am, for you called me. And he said, I did not call. Lie down again, man. You're dreaming. And he went and laid down.

OK by this time, we think that Samuel was between 15 years of age and 17 years of age. Now, he's going to be the next prophetic voice, at that age. We usually picture prophets as old, wrinkly, gray haired, not 15 years old, not 17 years of age. But this one was.

And the Lord, verse six-- notice this-- called yet again. Samuel? So Samuel arose, went to Eli and said, here I am, for you called me. And he answered, I did not call you, my son. Lie down again.

Verse 7 says, now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor was the word of God yet revealed to him. This is a brand new experience for him. He wasn't used to hearing God's voice. He didn't have a relationship, where he was getting a revelation from God, then giving it to the people. He didn't understand that yet. He's just getting his spiritual feet under him. He's coming to know the God of Israel through this experience.

So here's what's interesting. He didn't know the Lord. But he's ministering to the Lord. What about those of you who know the Lord? How much more should you be ministering to the Lord?

And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and he went to Eli, and said, here I am, for you did call me! Then Eli perceived that the Lord had called the boy. Therefore, Eli said to Samuel. Go lie down. And it shall be, if he calls you, then you must say, speak, Lord, for your servant, Shmuel. Your servant is hearing. Your servant hears. So Samuel went and laid down in his place.

I just find it interesting that God calls him three times, and doesn't reveal the message till the fourth time. I don't know why that is. He could have just woken him up and said, Samuel, I'm God. This is my voice speaking to you. Here's the message I want you to say. But he just says his name. So he didn't understand what's happening.

I can just sort of see God behind the scenes, smiling, like this is so fun. I'm going to try it again and wake him up. Samuel? Goes to the old guy. I didn't do it. I didn't call you. So on the fourth calling, now God will reveal himself.

And I find it interesting. Because Paul said, in the New Testament, that he had an affliction, a disease. He called it my thorn in the flesh. And he said this. Three times, I asked the Lord, I besought the Lord, to take it from me, and he didn't do it. Finally, like on the fourth time, the Lord said, my grace is sufficient for you. My strength will be manifested in your weakness.

So sometimes, it would seem like the Lord calls us and gets our attention, and we don't know what it is. And then he makes it clear. Then he confirms that it's him.

So now young Samuel is, locked into the frequency. Now, he knows that's God speaking to him. So it says, in verse 10, the Lord came and stood, as at other times-- Samuel, Samuel. And he answered, speak, Lord, for your servant hears. That needs to be our position when God speaks. That needs to be our heart, our sentiment, when we open up the Bible for our times of quietude in the morning in meditation. Speak, Lord. Your servant hears.

That needs to be our heart when we come to church. Speak, Lord. Your servant hears. That needs to be our condition when we go into a pastor for counseling. What is the Lord saying? I want to do the Lord's will. Sometimes, we have the approach of, well, Lord, first of all, tell me what you want. Then I'll decide if I want to do it or not. Because if you tell me something that I don't want to hear, I'm going to take my marbles and go home.

That's very different than speak, Lord. Your servant is hearing, is listening. The Bible says present your bodies as a living sacrifice, wholly and acceptable, which is your reasonable service. I'm ready to do what you want me to do, Lord. And that's how God wants you to serve him, willingly. I'm hearing. I'm listening. I'll do what you I want. To do what you want. I'm willing to conform and obey.

See if you don't want to serve the Lord, please don't. You'll turn us all off. Rather than perspiration, the Lord wants inspiration. Do it because you want to do it. Do it with joy. Do it with gladness. Any relationship of love is like that.

So it's been almost 40 years when I stood at the altar. It really wasn't an altar. It was at a golf course. But it was my wedding day, June 13, 1981. I had a ring in my hand. And I formally asked Lenya Mae Farley, to be my wife.

And I didn't have a ring in one hand and a gun in the other. Like, I have a ring here. I have a gun here. You will do this or else.

Now THAT could have been effective, but only for a short time. It had to be willing. She had to want to do it. And serving the Lord is the same way. We do it willingly. We do it because we want to do it. Speak, Lord. Your servant hears. And the Lord said to Samuel, behold. I will do something in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle.

What does that mean? Not one ear-- both ears of everyone will tingle. The word tango means to ring. And the idea is, when you take your hands, and you stand next to someone-- I don't recommend you do it. If you slap them hard in both ears, their ears will ring. That'll be the effect. So when it says tingle, it's not like ooh, that's good. God spoke.

It's not like a good tingle. It's like their ears are going to ring. This is God's way of saying, I'm about to slap Israel upside the head. Both their ear will tingle. In that day, I will perform against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house from beginning to end. For I told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows. He knows it. In other words, he knows exactly what is going on. He has no excuse. He knows it. Because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them.

I do think that there is a higher standard for those in ministry. Those whom God calls into ministry to serve Him full time, God calls to a high standard, including the family. If the family's out of order, that will become problematic for the one who is trying to minister to the Lord, and to God's people. David had a similar problem.

He was a man after God's own heart. But he was far from reflecting the heart of God when it came to his children. He had a son named Absalom, who was a rebel. And he just let him go on, and did not discipline him, the Bible says. Just let him kind of do his thing, and steal the hearts of the people, and cause a rebellion that caused the lives of so many people. For I told him that I will judge his house for the iniquity which he knows.

Verse 14-- therefore, I have sworn to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be atone for by sacrifice or offering forever. So Samuel lay down until morning and open the doors of the house of the Lord. And Samuel was afraid to tell Eli the vision, understandably.

And Eli called Samuel and said, Samuel, my son? And the answered, here I am. And he said, what is the thing that the Lord has said to you? Please do not hide it from me. God do so to you and more also if you hide anything from me of all the things he said to you. Wow.

Now, that is-- I want you to look at verse 17. Because that is a common construction that you will find often in the Old Testament. You will find kings, you will find prophets, you will find pagans saying God, or the gods, do so to me and more if whatever. It is the utterance of an oath or a curse.

So this old man is laying a heavy trip on this young kid. He's pronouncing a curse on him, if he doesn't tell him everything that God told him. See, he has a hunch. This kid's afraid. God told him something. But I need to know what that information is. So God do so do you and more if you don't tell me everything.

Then Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. That's how preaching ought to be. Tell them everything, and hide nothing. Tell them about God's love, but tell them about God's judgment. Tell them about how to have a good and godly family, and how to have patience in the fruit of the Spirit. But also teach them what happens if they don't.

Teach them about heaven, but teach them about hell. Hide nothing. Teach them about the Nation of Israel, and the covenant God made with the Jews. Tell them about eschatology, and the coming of the Lord, and the rapture of the church. Paul said, I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. Tell them everything. Hide nothing.

Don't prepare your sermon like, well what would make them really like me this week? Listen, if I were to preach that way, I wouldn't have chosen the book of Jude the last few weeks to preach through.

Tell them everything. And he says, tell me everything. Hide nothing. And he told him everything and hid nothing. And he said, it is the Lord. Let him do what seems good to him.

Interesting and sad. Yes, he knows it's the Lord. Yes, he knows God has spoken. But why not say, yeah, that's true. Therefore, I'm going to repent. I'm going to change things in my life, starting now. And I'm going to begin with my two kids. I'm going to fire those boys. And I'm going to have godliness and holiness in this place once again. And I'm-- myself, I'm determined to follow the Lord wholeheartedly.

He just sort of bowed his head. And again, he just resigns himself to yeah, that's the Lord. I'm done for. Let the Lord do what seems good to him.

So Samuel grew. The Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. I love that description. That's an archery term. When you shoot arrows, if you don't hit the target, they hit the ground. So this boy spoke. And every time he spoke, the words hit their target-- bull's eye every time. Isn't that great? None of his words fell to the ground. They were accurate. They came to pass.

And all Israel from, Dan to Beersheba, knew that Samuel had been established as a prophet of the Lord. Now begins an era of the prophets. In fact, did you know that we believe it was Samuel who started something called the School of the Prophets, where he got a group of men and kind of taught them to teach people the word of the Lord, the ways of the Lord, the law of the Lord, how to listen for God's voice? That's what seems to be involved in this school of the prophets.

We'll find it throughout the book of 1 Kings as well. So it lasts a while and then goes away. But Samuel is the one, probably, who started it.

So everybody in the land, from Dan-- that's way up North, to Beersheba-- that's way down South-- that's sort of like saying from Maine to California, or from the border with Canada to the border of Mexico. Or to be a little more local, from Red River to Las Cruces, right, from North to South, that covered the whole land. Everybody knew he was a prophet.

Then the Lord appeared again in Shiloh, for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the Lord. Look at the next verse. And the word of Samuel came to all Israel. So do you see the flow? The word of the Lord came to Samuel. The word of Samuel came to the nation. God spoke to him so that God might speak through him.

God speaks to you, not just so you be blessed, but that he might use you to be his instrument to bless others. That's a principle throughout scripture. God revealed his word to him, that God might reveal his word through him. 1 Thessalonians chapter 1, Paul said, for the word-- our gospel-- did not come to you in Word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit. For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth. So Paul said, the word of the gospel came to you, and the word of the Lord has come through you.

That is always the flow of the gospel. We who are receivers at some point become the transmitters. And so he transmitted. All of Israel went out to battle against the Philistines and camped beside Ebenezer. And the Philistines camped in Aphek. Then the Philistines put themselves in battle array against Israel.

And when they joined battle, Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who killed about 4,000 men of the army in the field. A word about the Philistines really quickly, because they're prominent, right? They showed up in the book of Judges. Samson fought the Philistines. David will fight the Philistines. They're going to be around for a while, and they're going to get stronger.

Now, the Philistines, interestingly, occupy what we would call today the Gaza Strip. And they fought against the people of Israel. So what happened thousands of years ago is being played out today in Israel, where 3,700 rockets have been shot from the Gaza Strip and Lebanon into population centers in Israel.

Now, the Philistines came from the Greek islands, the Aegean Sea. They came to the island of Crete. They eventually settled in Asia Minor, on the Mediterranean coast. Then they came down toward Egypt, and they tried to attack Egypt. And they did, but they lost.

Pharaoh Ramesses III defeated them. So the Philistines, the sea peoples of the West, settled along the Mediterranean coast of Southern Israel, into a five city confederation. And you're going to read about all five of these cities in the next several books-- Ashdod, Ashkelon, Ekron, and Gath, and Gaza.

Those will be the five cities of the Philistines, the stronghold. And they'll launch attacks against Israel all the way through, into the monarchy, until David finally will put them to flight.
Verse 3, when the people had come into the camp, the elders of Israel said-- so they've been defeated. 4,000 died that day. The elders of Israel said, why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? Why is it that people who don't want anything to do with God when things go wrong want to blame God? They don't care about God. They don't want to follow God. Something goes wrong.

I can't believe a God of love-- really? You got religious all of a sudden? What happened to you, talking about a God of love? Why is the law defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord from Shiloh to us, that when it comes among us, it may save us from the hand of our enemies. So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from there the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord of hosts, who dwells between the cherubim.

And the two sons of Eli, tadpole and Phineas, were with the Ark of the Covenant. Israel made two mistakes. Number one, they forgot the omnipresence of God. God is everywhere. God doesn't dwell locally in a box, in a tent, in a church, in a temple.

God isn't restricted spatially to one place or another. Psalm 139-- where can I flee from your presence? Where can I go from your Spirit? Answer? Nowhere. God is everywhere. So they forgot that.

The second mistake is, they replaced relationship with religion. They didn't talk about the Lord. They talked about the Ark-- when it comes, when it's here. Not when he comes, when he's here, but when it comes. They had reduced the Ark of the Covenant down to a talisman, an amulet, a good luck charm, a rabbit's foot. As long as that's in our midst, we're safe. It's like people who look to an object and worship an object, whether it's a crucifix or a statue.

My mom would have a statue in her car. And she-- I'd say, mom, why do you $have $what tell me about this Statue Well, that's the blessed virgin. And she'll protect us. When I was a kid, you know. And so I'd see the Statue. And I'd say, well, mom-- when would she have road problems, or she'd get stranded, I said, I think it's because you got Mary facing the wrong direction.

This is how a kid thinks. She's looking backward. You need to turn around so she can see the road. See, that was my superstition. But it counteracted my mother's superstition. So both of us were wrong.

But Hophni and Phineas were there with the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark of the Covenant was in Shiloh 369 years before it gets captured here.

Now, when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, what does the sound of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews mean? Then they understood that the Ark of the Lord had come into the camp. So the Philistines were afraid. And they said, God has come into the camp. So they're also as superstitious. For such a thing has never happened before. Woe to us! Who will deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness.

Now, this is fascinating to me. The people of Canaan had heard what happened in Egypt. It was well-known. The news spread about the Exodus, the great deliverance. And do you remember when the children of Israel, in Numbers 13, sent 12 spies into the land? Remember that? They came back, and 10 gave a bad report. Only two gave a good report. And the 10 that gave the bad report said, oh man, these people are huge. They're giants, and we are grasshoppers in their sight, and in our sight!

And so they didn't go in. They wandered around for another 38 years before they finally entered the land. When they entered the land, after a generation was dead, Joshua led them in. And the first place they surrounded was the city of Jericho, right? Joshua sends in two spies. Forget the 10. They always have a bad report. All you need is two good ones. So we sent two spies into Jericho.

They went to the House of Rahab. And Rahab now told them the reality of what the people in Canaan were thinking. The two spies that we heard about what you guys did to the Egyptians, and how you destroyed them. And when we heard this, there was no more strength left in us. For the fear of has fallen on us.

So, go back in time, those 38 years. Children of Israel said, we're grasshoppers in their sight. And the reality is, no. The reality was, the Canaanites were scared to death of the Israelites. It was perfect time for them to march in. But they wasted 38 years. The whole generation died in the wilderness, because they did not believe.

Be strong, verse 9. Conduct yourselves like men, you Philistines, that you do not become servants of the Hebrews, as they have been to you. Conduct yourselves like men and fight. So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated. And every man fled to his tent. It was a very great slaughter. There fell of Israel 30,000 foot soldiers. So 4,000 died one day, 30,000 the next.

And the Ark of God-- here it is. The Ark of God was captured. And the two sons of Eli-- tadpole and dark complected-- died.

Then a man of Benjamin ran from the battle line the same day and came to Shiloh with his clothes torn and dirt on his head. Never a good sign. When somebody was in mourning, they'd rip their clothes, put dirt on their head. If you see a guy come in with torn clothes and dirt on their head, bad news-- always bad news.

So they look up. And here comes the headlines coming their way-- bad news. Now when he came, there was Eli, sitting on a seat by the wayside, watching. For his heart trembled for the Ark of God. And when the man came into the city and told it, all the city cried out.

When Eli heard the noise of the outcry, he said, what does the sound of this tumult mean? And the man came hastily and told Eli. Eli was 98 years old. His eyes were so dim that he could not see. The man said to Eli, am here you came from the battle. And I fled today from the battle line. And he said, well, what happened, my son?

So the messenger answered and said, Israel has fled before the Philistines. And there has been a great slaughter among the people. Also, your two sons, Hophni and Phineas, are dead. And the Ark of God has been captured. Then it happened, when he made mention of the Ark of God, that Eli fell off the seat backward by the side of the gate. And his neck was broken, and he died. For the man was old and heavy. And he had judged Israel for 40 years.

He had a broken heart, and then a broken neck. He died. Very broken-hearted. Now, his daughter-in-law, Phineas' wife, was with child. Due to be delivered, when she heard the good news that the Ark of God was captured, and that her Father-in-law and her husband were dead, she bound herself and gave birth. For her labor pains came upon her. And about the time of her death, the women who stood by her said to her, do not fear. For you have borne a son. She did not answer, nor did she regard it.

Then she named the child Ichabod, saying the glory has departed from Israel. Ichabod means no glory, or where is the glory. So she called the child-- boy, that poor child. What's your name? Glory has departed, or we would say, glory gone. Glory gone, Ichabod-- the glory has departed.

The word departed means literally gone into exile. Now the Ark of God that they worshipped-- literally, that was their amulet, right? That was it, it, it. We want it. They put God in a box, literally. When the Ark was taken into exile with the Philistines, they regarded it as God has gone into exile. God has left. The glory has departed, because the Ark of God had been captured, and because of her father-in-law and her husband.

And she said, the glory has departed from Israel. For the Ark of God has been captured. So there's no Ark anymore in the land of Israel. There's no Ark in the Tabernacle of Israel. It means there's no Yom Kippur that they can celebrate, and sprinkle the blood on top of the Ark. There's no forgiveness for their sin. The glory has departed. The glory has departed from Israel, for the Ark of God has been captured.

Only you can answer this question. Has the glory departed from your life? Have you reduced God down to what they reduced God to? Do you have a deep, personal relationship? Or do you have a depersonalized religion? They had a depersonalized religion. Samuel had a deep, personal relationship.

We are called to a deep, personal relationship with God through his son Jesus Christ. Don't let it become an amulet, a talisman, a crucifix, a picture, an object, a place you visit. Doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. The object doesn't matter. The relationship matters.

Father, thank you for these incredible, timeless lessons-- timeless, and also timely, well-timed for us. Thank you, Lord, for the generation you are raising up to be your prophetic voices. May they be heard. May be loud and clear. Lord, I pray that your word would not be rare in places of worship. I pray that the sign Ichabod would not be the sign that should be placed above so many places of worship-- the glory has departed.

May your glory reign powerfully in us. May you be revealed to us, and then through us. Lord, I pray you will use every single individual in this room, this week, with their family, to their neighbors, in their business, at their school, with their friends. May the word of the Lord be sounded for through them.

These are your people. These are your spokesmen and women. These are your prophets. Fill them with your Spirit. Strengthen them to do your bidding, your calling, to turn this world, this community, this city right side up, in Jesus' name, Amen.

For more resources from Calvary Church and Skip Heitzig, visit Thank you for joining us from this teaching in our series, Exposed.


1 Samuel 2:22-4:22 - 1 Samuel 2:22-4:22 |
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