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1 Samuel 5






BY: Jeremy Witt

This chapter is one of my wife’s favorite chapters in the Scripture.  This chapter teaches us that God is all-powerful and sovereign.  We see how God refuses to allow a false god to even appear more powerful than He is.  God moves among an unbelieving people to teach them who is all-powerful.  As you will see in this chapter, even non-believers can see this but it does not necessarily mean that they will turn their worship from their false god to Him.  Before we get on our high horse and judge them, let’s remember that we do the same things when we try to make other things a priority over Him. 

Verse 1 takes us into the land of the Philistines where they have taken the Ark.  They place the Ark in the temple of Dagon, the Philistine god of rain and harvest.  This was their chief god but they worshipped many other gods.  The Philistines wanted as many gods as possible to be on their side and would make them feel more secure, which is most likely why they took the Ark into their chief god’s temple.

The next morning after the Ark was placed in the temple, the people found the idol of Dagon fallen to the ground with its face to the ground in front of the Ark.  This happened again as in verses 3-5.  On Tuesday the pastors went to the State Evangelism conference, and one of the sermons dealt with humility.  When a king would conquer another king, the successful king would make the losing king parade in front of his subjects and bow down low to show humility.  But not only this, the losing king would bow down with his head on the ground, and the winning king would step on the neck of the king to show the superiority and power over the king.  This is the picture of humility, but in our chapter here, God is showing His power over Dagon the king in his own house.  Notice in verse 4 that the head and arms break showing God’s power.

Verse 6, the people of Philistia realized this was not something common and cried out to get rid of the Ark.  Tumors developed on people.  Many died.  Notice in verse 7 that the people knew that the God of the Israelites would destroy them and their god so they sought to get rid of the Ark or push the God of the Israelites away.  When God does something big, we can choose to get close to God or push Him away because it scared us how big and powerful God is.  If we do not understand something, one of our responses is to push it away as the Philistines did.

It is amazing to me that these people feared God but did not believe and worship Him.  I wonder what would have happened had the Philistines turned and worship the God of the Israelites rather than push the Ark away.  Had their fear led them to admit their need for God would have completely changed their outcome.  In James 2:19 we are told the demons believe and shudder (or fear) God.  It is critical that we understand that simply fearing God is not enough, and even believing in God is not enough.  We are called to follow and obey.  We are called to repent and turn to Him. 

The conclusion of the chapter is an interesting one in how the Ark was moved from place to place and how fear seized the people wherever it went.  May we fear the LORD in reverence and awe, but may our fear of Him lead to our worship and obedience to Him.  Not because of our fear, but because of who He is and how He has pursued us and sought a relationship with us.

Posted by Jeremy Witt with

1 Samuel 3






BY: Jeremy Witt

This chapter is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible.  I can’t really tell you why other than I love to read of the times when God speaks and how people respond.  In this story, I see Eli first and then Samuel.  Eli is the one that should have realized that it was God speaking if he was not the one calling for Samuel, but he did not.  I wonder why?

Verse one tells us that “the word of the LORD was rare in those days, and that there was no frequent vision” as the ESV puts it.  Eli had not heard God in some time.  God had been speaking to the judges somewhat, but there had not arisen prophets to bring the Word of the LORD to the people.  That bears the question for us, when was the last time you heard the LORD speak to you specifically?  That puts me in some perspective.  Should I be hearing from God?  The answer is yes!  But am I?  Or in your case, are you hearing from Him specifically?  Eli was not hearing and it bears the question of, “Why not”  Actually that answer is coming in the next few verses.   It has something to do with his parenting and his sons.

I can fully relate to Eli’s vision in verse two.  Maybe you can also.  Verse 3 tells us that the lamp of God had not yet gone out.  This lampstand was just outside the room where the Ark of the Covenant was located.  Remember the high priest would enter this room with the Ark only once a year to confess his sins and the sins of the people.  The room just outside of the Ark held the lampstand, the incense altar, and the Bread of the Presence.  Just outside this room were small rooms where the priests were to stay. 

Verse 4 is where my favorite part begins.  God speaks to Samuel, but Samuel assumes it is Eli calling for him.  Notice Samuel’s response.  “Here I am.”  You might be thinking to yourself, “what is so big about this, Jeremy?”  Go read Exodus 3:14.  What is God’s name?  In each time that God calls Samuel, Samuel responds the same way.  Unknowingly, Samuel responds by using “Here I am” yet Samuel was calling God’s name.  In the New Testament, Jesus speaks 7 times using “I am . . . “  God is telling people who He is.  (I am the good shepherd, I am the way, the truth, and the life . . . )  He is making Himself known to mankind.  This shows us that God is personal and is showing us things about Himself.  He is unlike any other god or deity that our world has seen.  He was, is, and will be pursuing us to have a personal relationship with us.

Eli finally realizes that the LORD is speaking and tells Samuel how to respond.  Eli is discipling Samuel in this by teaching him how to respond to God.  We are the servants, and He is the Master.  We must await His instructions rather than taking matters into our own hands.  How many times do we need help in listening?  How many times do I have to yell my kid’s names before they actually listen?  Eli tells Samuel to reply with, “speak for your servant is listening” in verse 9.  One of the most difficult things for me to do is to stop and listen.  Stop and listen for my Master to speak.  WAIT!  God’s words are vital yet I allow the busyness of life to keep me “busy.” 

What the LORD tells Samuel was not easy to hear and even more difficult to tell Eli about the next day.  We discover why God didn’t speak to Eli.  What we also discover is how Eli responds to the word of the LORD in verse 18.  Even when God speaks words that are difficult, we can learn from Eli.  His response teaches us to trust despite not hearing what we want to hear. 

Verse 19 is a summary of the next years as Samuel grows both physically but more importantly spiritually.  Samuel’s faithfulness impacted others and they knew that he had God’s hands and words upon Him.  It was known from the north end of the country to the southern end that Samuel had God’s words within him. 

My prayer for myself and for you is that we will have ears to hear, and the discernment to know God’s voice and call from everything else.  May we not be distracted from God and His ways or busy with life that we allow our children to become disobedient like Eli’s sons but more importantly that we will be ready when God speaks to say, “Speak for your servant is listening.”

Posted by Jeremy Witt with

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