Focused on the Wrong Thing

1 Samuel 4:1-5:12


V.1 And the word of Samuel came to all Israel.

A) A PROPHET IS OF NO PROFIT if he is not being listened to.


B) Israel was finally hearing from the Lord……. – but the people were doing what they wanted !


C) Idea: Go into battle against the Philistines – they did so without consulting the Lord = TROUBLE

Now Israel went out to battle against the Philistines, and encamped beside Ebenezer; and the Philistines encamped in Aphek. 2Then the Philistines put themselves in battle array against Israel. And when they joined battle, Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who killed about four thousand men of the army in the field.



Now the Philistines were a very capable group of fighters

A) The Philistines originated in the Island of Crete – they came down to the S.E. corner of Palestine in the yr 1500 BC


B) The Philistines developed a very sophisticated array of weapons that made them a dominant force in the region


C) They formed a confederation of five cities : ASHKELON



D) The federation of these five cities made the Philistines a read force to be reckoned with at that time

Now even though the Philistines were such a great power the people of Israel realized their defeat was because God was punishing them. V.3a 3And when the people had come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines?


A) They saw the hand of the Lord behind their set backs


B) You know it would do us well if we saw the hand of the Lord behind everything that is around us !!



C) Also our defeats { Punishment – Lord loves He Chastens


So the People of Israel saw that the Lord was behind this – They asked “Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines?

A) We saw the reason why last time: Priesthood was corrupt – Sin in the Priesthood


B) Pastors & leaders listen – As the priest go so goes the People

1) Our actions can have an affect upon the whole Church


C) The People of Israel realized their defeat was at the hands of the Lord

1) Now what happens next seems like a bright idea but turns into a real BLUNDER     V. 3B

Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord from Shiloh to us, that when it comes among us may save us from the hand of our enemies.”

A) Now the ark was that wood Box 3 ft high 3ft wd / 4ft long - that was covered w/ Gold – sat in the HH in the Tab


B) Box represented the Presence of God w/ His people

1) Represented the Character and nature of God


C) Inside was the ten Commandments – representing the WORD OF GOD –


D) So the people wanted to go into Battle with the Ark – AND THEY WERE EXCITED

V.4 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, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.

5And when the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth shook.


E) You know it is interesting to me that the Lord often times had his people SHOUT –

1) Joshua and Jericho - / 2 Chron 13 The Lord gave Judah and Abijah victory over Jeroboam of Israel after they shouted


Ps 5:11 let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;

A) Zech 4 there was the time when the construction of the temple was ½ way complete


B) And Zerubabel the priest became discouraged because the progressed Stopped

1) Zech told Zerub. To go to the Foundation stone and shout unto it grace grace – and the Mt that is before you shall become like a leveled plain


C) Shout Grace – Grace – God’s undeserved Favor – that is what is going to finish the Project

1) Shout grace grace every time we drive by the Property 


D) The Lord is into shouting: 1 Thes 4 – When he comes again – With a shout


Isa 42:13  The LORD shall go forth like a mighty man;

He shall stir up His zeal like a man of war.

He shall cry out, yes, shout aloud;

He shall prevail against His enemies.


Now I am not saying trying to get you to become all Pentecostal – But simply pointing out that God is expressive –

A) Don’t be afraid to be expressive


B) Israel shouted – Philistines freaked out !!!!

            RD  v.6-11  W/ Bible

Now What Happened here: It seems like everything was right –

A) They had the Ark / Shouted / They had Faith


B) But you see their faith was in the wrong thing v. 3 again 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.”


C) [It will save us ]-Their faith was in the Ark of God – instead of in the God of the Ark –


Listen we can do the same thing: We can start to think that the victory that we need is in a Program

A) If I can just follow this program –  Church Sun/ Wed


B) I just need to get into the read more / just need to pray longer – then I will have Victory


C) All good things  - but wrong Motivation !!!


D) That is why we often here people say : I’m reading my Bible / I am going to Church / Praying / I am following these ten principles for successful Christian living – Yet it is not working – Why ?


E) Problem is you are looking to an IT instead of to Him

1) Bible/ prayer /Church – all meant to bring us to a place of Fellowship with & Surrender to JC = Victory


F) Loving Him / Seeking Him – that is the Difference

So the Ark is captured and Eli’s Sons die –

A) Now last week we saw I ch. 2 v 31-33 a prophecy was given to Eli – about how his sons would die in the Flower of their Youth


B) What did they do?  Recall they took the best portions of the meat for themselves –

1) They took the best for themselves and gave the worst to the Lord


C) It seems like they were getting away with it

1) But here we see it catches up to them


There is a principle here: If you make it your aim to take the best for yourself - & leave the rest for the Lord – It is going to catch up with you.


A)  Best of your day!! / Best years / Best Time


B)  God will bless – But if you are giving him the leftovers – it will take it’s toll on you !!


C)  How many have been to a 10 or 20 yr reunion

1) Amazed how old everyone looks – Especially the unsaved –Results of  Living for yourself –


D) How Different believers – Younger –

1) What happens living for the Lord – It is refreshing

                  RD V. 12-18 w/ Bible


What is it that grieved Eli – The Ark being taken

A) One Bible in SD County – all shared – It was taken – DEVESTATING


B) Places where people pay – a yrs wage for a Bible – we take for granted


C) So Eli was broken hearted when heard the news –


RD v.19-21

A) For a Jewish woman, news that a son had been born was wonderful news.


B) But not for the wife of Phinehas on this day.

1) To reflect her anguish, and the national tragedy upon Israel, she names the child Ichabod, meaning,

              “The glory has departed from Israel.”


C) Her grief was so great, it overcame her maternal joy at the birth of her son.

1) To her, the loss was total, and she herself even lost the desire to live.


Had the glory of God truly departed?

A)In one sense, yes. - The glory left when Israel stopped repenting and trusting God and started superstitiously trusting in the ark itself.


B) “The glory of God had indeed departed, but not because the ark of God had been captured;

C) Really the ark had been captured because the glory had already departed


D) Tragically, You could write Ichabod across many churches, many ministries, many individual Christian lives!    the glory has departed.


E) Oh everything is still in place - but God is not enthroned in glory among them.

 2 Timothy 3:5 There is the form of godliness, without the power



CH 5 RD v 1-2

1Then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. 2When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon and set it by Dagon


A) Dagon was the Philistine deity – ½ man / ½ fish

  Responsible for agriculture –


B) So they take the ark and placed it in the temple of their fish god – something interesting happens


3And when the people of Ashdod arose early in the morning, there was Dagon, fallen on its face to the earth before the ark of the Lord. So they took Dagon and set it in its place again.



C) SO glad I worship a God who is able to prop us up and doesn’t need to be propped up by us

1) A God who is able to save – and doesn’t need me to save Him !!!!


D) The Philistines served a god who needed to be rescued by them    

  RD V. 4-12


They turned their back on a God who could help them for one who needed their help


God’s of the OT pagan world

Baal & Molech – Prosperity / Materialism


Nebo Education


Ashteroth – Pleasure and Sexuality



Same today: In a Jam dying - cry out to Materialism

Cry out to American express


Cry out to Education – Oh masters degree ….


Cry out to Pleasure & Sexuality – Oh  Playboy save me -