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February 21, 2022 3:00 am
Some people have a special object, the governors a lucky charm. Something may hold onto to help assure their success. But that's not how God works today on Truth for Life will find out what happened when Israel counted on the ark of the covenant to be a lucky charm Alastair reg's message is titled misplaced faith in chapter 4 of first Samuel verses one, the God who was invented by is always a nonjudgment of God. If you ever notice that I don't like to think of God is like that you know that it says in the Bible that there is appointed unto men a day that he will face judgment resided. I don't like to think of God like that. Of course you don't.
How would you like to think of we don't take them seriously but we feel that we can call upon as necessary.
I would like to have a little religion in our lives we go once a Sunday. We think he's pleased that as if somehow or another he exists for us. Well you say this is all well and good, or maybe you don't send yourself how in the world. Does this actually fit in with what we're looking at here will simply for this reason that that kind of perspective is not new for the idea is, essentially, this, that somehow another guard if he exists can be manipulated can be controlled by IRS so that we we actually can call on him as necessary and that of any court of first Samuel four is the mistaken notion is the misplaced faith that if we do certain things in a certain way, then God is pretty well duty-bound to show up for the problem for the people is not that they have a wrong view of God, but that their understanding of God has been set aside in the course of time back in chapter 2. Remember in Hannah's prayer. Hannah has helped us understand who God is versus two and three. There is none holy like the Lord, for there is none besides you, there is no overall like our God talk no more. So very proudly.
Let not arrogance come from your mouth, for the Lord is a God of knowledge and by in actions are way know these people understood that, but what is happened to them while we just follow the text as it is before us.
The opening sentence the word of Samuel came to all Israel may actually be a fitting conclusion to chapter 3, whether it is the conclusion of three or the beginning of four doesn't really matter what we know is that the word of God, through the lips of the prophet of God, namely Samuel is now going out into all Israel. The prophet has been installed. He speaks from God. He speaks for God, and you will notice that the word of Samuel that we have, to this point was a word of judgment he had declared a message of judgment that would make the two years of everyone who heard it tingle. Now it is in that context that we bid farewell to Samuel, at least until chapter 7 now that the camera lens has shifted from a focus on Samuel. The individual here to this matter of the ark of God, and it is in that context that we now read that Israel went out the back and we don't have details of the battle.
A territorial struggle, presumably this place affect was about 20 miles across country from Shiloh, the Israelites were largely in the hill country.
The Philistines were in the planes and it would seem perhaps that the Philistines are decided to advance their territory.
We don't have details. What we do know is that in verse two. The lines were drawn up against Israel, and when the battle spread Israel was defeated.
Now Israel wasn't used to being defeated. If you've read in the earlier parts of the Old Testament you know that it was often the story of triumph that God manifested his power and victory. But in this case it isn't so and so when the people came to the camp. Verse three at the elders of Israel were posing this question. Why is the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines is the right questions that they understood that God was sovereign over victory and defeat that the they had lost and God was sovereign over the fact that they had now been decimated. It apparently never occurred to them to see any connection between their disobedience and their defeat because God who is introduced to as again and again as the God of the covenant at the ark as the God of the covenant of the armies of God. This picture of the magnificent serve God.
God in making his covenant with his people had made it very clear to them that if they obeyed him, there would be blessing and if they disobeyed him there would be punishment of God and made this clear to his people. Now look at the mess in Shiloh. The mass in Shiloh that is represented in the experience and expressions of Eli and his two sons and the word of God's judgment has come upon that circumstance there in Shiloh, first by the individual who came as a certain man at the end of the chapter 2 and then reinforced by the word of Samuel himself when God is not appear to Samuel and said the word that I spoke is the word that is to be fulfilled and when Eli asks you then make sure you tell him everything and Eli had been on the receiving end of that word.
Now they are defeated in battle. The elders say why has the Lord defeated us today. Their question was right there solution was wrong. Notice what they then do letters then bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord here from Shiloh, so notice notice clearly what this is. There is no acknowledgment of sin. There is no appeal for mercy. Instead what they decide to do is bring the ark in the mistaken notion that having this are with them will make all the difference that if they have the ark, then God is duty-bound to show up and took pulverize their enemies the wrong is a mistaken notion. It is a misplaced faith is the same kind of misplaced faith that you find in religious expressions whereby people think that the externals of religion. I do this and, therefore, that I do this and therefore that without the reality of the transforming power of God in the heart and life of the individual. These folks were actually on the wrong side of God's design for and they knew that they were defeated but no cry for for for mercy instead, let's just get the ark we can take time now to to put the whole art piece in place. Exodus 25 will be a good starting point because they are Moses gives the charge to the people to build the ark to created very specific directives and God says in the creation of the yard.
He says and tell the people there. I will meet with you right so it will be the symbol of my presence. When Moses then goes out and leads the people and sets forward the ark, he sets forward the art not looking to the ark by looking to the one to whom the ark points.
So for example in Numbers chapter 10 the ark moves forward and a Moses says arise all Lord and let your enemies be scattered. It is going to be victory will because you have arisen. The Lord not because were carrying this box.
We know that it is the symbol of your presence. We know that it is a place that you will meet, but without you.
The box doesn't matter. That's what they had got wrong. You see faith in the living God was replaced.
If you like with superstition no longer prepared to bow down before God's righteous judgment no longer prepared to acknowledge that we are in the mess we're in because were in the mass wherein no we know were in a mess.
We know we been defeated by hate we've got this. You can apply this in so many ways. It's what one of my friends refers to as rabbit food theology. You know, the idea of carrying a rabbit food around as I don't what is supposed to do for you it's it's a really bizarre notion, but it is fairly prevalent. Everyone that is ever had a rabbit food is feeling somewhat guilty right now deciding they are probably going to give it away to somebody either.
I wouldn't do that.
I looked it up during the week. It was a big, diverse, and I eventually gave up on it but is quite fascinating. It wasn't just if you do this right. You just don't have a rabbit food you have to have the correct rabbit food has to be the last hygiene at food, but it isn't just the left hind foot as to be left hind foot of rabbit that was killed but not just a rabbit that was killed a rabbit that was killed in a symmetry so once you get the proper thing, then you've got the proper rabbit food and so off you go is is is bizarre is and that's essentially what these people doing this in the box. The box got the box were all set. They weren't all set as were about to see because you see they had replaced reverence for God with respect for the are of course it was possible to both respect the art and reverence God.
But if you don't the reverence for God. I know you got left is respect for the ark, then frankly even when the incongruity of this and never seem to bother them, perhaps never really registered for the this should at least had some idea what was going on when the two sons of Eli Parthian Finley asked are described being there with the ark of the covenant of God so hope it is is more than possible that when the word went back to Shiloh. We won the ark.
Eli was there said to his worthless sons. So why don't you take the ark and go down there to imagine a more pathetic picture in all your life than these two worthless sons who are destined to die on the same day, come down, carrying the poles of the ark and the and and and the people should have been going well. I don't know about this but instead what were they doing while they went nuts first five as soon as the ark of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel gave a mighty show so that the earth resounded were going to be fine now. The reaction of the Philistines is then in verse six and following.
They respond with consternation and the fear. What is this great shouting in the camp of the Hebrews me and refer to them as the Israelites is possible that the Hebrews was a sort of derogatory reference in this case, these Hebrew people when they learned of the ark and come to the camp. Then they were afraid why were they afraid well there history of the people of God wasn't very good.
They got things tangled up here as you would see the reference in the Exodus and they knew that in the Exodus, God showed up in a dramatic way. But of course the Exodus preceded the construction of the ark, so nothing like this has actually happened or what they're doing is this, they are taking the ark for God is aware, but why would we be surprised because the Israelites were virtually doing the same thing the Philistines could be forgiven because they had all kinds of guards all kinds of ideas the Israelites could not be forgiven because they had the God of the art of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and end of Jake who had manifested himself in so many ways. But now they were relying on the presence of this chest. Interestingly, and I think surprisingly, the Philistines don't be the retreat. Despite what they say they take courage and the bolster their forces and they go against the Hebrews and you have the sorry conclusion in verse 10 and verse 11 so the Philistines fought and Israel was once again defeated while clearly the ark was an answer right going to get the ark and trusting in his presence was a bad plan.
Not only did not work but it was the occasion of a dreadful slaughter and the text is clear. Israel was defeated the Army melted away every man to his own home.
There was a very good rate slaughter. The ark was captured in the two sons of Eli half Nate and Phineas die if you're reading this on your own you be sitting there you send yourself. I wonder what they would mention in the two sons of Eli died. After all, if there all these thousands of people that died. Why mention just the 20 because it was the sign of God's judgment was not they did not know God, because they didn't want to know God, they spurned the place where God manifested his mercy and his grace for then there was no recourse only the prospect of judgment at the writer is reminding us that what was actually happening here was the very fulfillment of the word of God both an expression of his judgment and it is same time an expression of his grace, his grace in this respect that in removing these two characters he was clearing the decks he was preparing the way for his people under this whole new framework whereby the word of Samuel, as it would come again and again would guide the people forward in order that that word might be Herod in all of its clarity, it was necessary that these fellows would be removed. In essence, what we have is an expression of misplaced faith misplaced faith. The Israelites thought they could trust in the presence of the ark while paying no attention to God's demands.
That's actually not so far removed from today you may be doing the very same thing in our trusting in on our way maybe trusting in something else you said yourself that I can do this. It doesn't matter if I do this I'm trusting in the I'm trusting in the I can do this. This doesn't matter.
It doesn't matter because the fundamental flaw lay in the fact that they thought they could trust in the ark while just disappearing God, it's insulated begun to view them as a cheerleader that God could be called out charge them on to victory is necessary and instead he was fulfilling his promise of judgment. You know what this actually means when you when you fast-forward, it means this that when a person says that I am a follower of Jesus that I believe in Jesus that my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. The plan and purpose of God for that life is as Jesus said if such an individual loves me, he or she will keep my commandments not as a means of acceptance but is an evidence of the fact that I am except and that is where the mistake falls.
That's where the notions of magic coming. That's why when you get for example, a form of sacramental is and that says you had that this YouTube wafer you got the way for your good with a way for your fine with a way for credit. But what about Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday or I when you know therefore I'm fine know because remember Hannah's prayer.
This is the God of knowledge. He is the one who weighs the actions of the heart, and he weighed the actions of Phineas and half Nate and pronounce judgment on and that is the solemnity of basically their trust in the art meant nothing so long as they paid no regard for God's call to obedience is actually quite chilling is a lot closer than we think. At first reading Matthew Henry in the 17th century closed out his sermon in this way, he said to his people, let none, then think to shelter themselves from the wrath of God under the cloak of a visible perfection.
I was baptized.
I did this I did that let none thing to shelter themselves from the wrath of God under the cloak of a visible profession for there will be those cast into outer darkness who have eaten and drunk in Christ's presence. Remember what Jesus said I am going to eat with you not, and one of you is a devil.
See is perfectly understandable to me why people want to conceive of God in their own terms, listening to Alister Bank on Truth for Life as he explains why trusting anything other than God himself is a fatal mistake. Please keep listing.
Alister will be back to close in prayer in just a minute when our faith is misplaced. Our understanding of God is skewed at one of the reasons why we choose books to recommend to you that are rooted in Scripture that are biblically anchored. Today's selection is right in line with that objective. It's a book titled name above all names. This is a book that explores the many roles Jesus fulfills such as the great high priest or the true prophet, the conquering King. The authors of this book, Sinclair Ferguson and Alistair Begggett explain how Jesus intercedes for us so that we are no longer alienated from God when you read the book name above all names. You'll learn what the Bible tells us about the son of God's character and qualities request name above all names. When you give a donation. The book image in the mobile app or visit us online at truthforlife.org/donate now, here's Alister to close with prayer for God, we acknowledge how easy it is for us to trust in everything and trusting anything, rather than trusting in you and how prone we are to divorce our outward professions from our private call to obedience. We thank you that the chilling reminder of the opening part of this chapter is not to threaten and to undo us but is to direct us to the only one enter. The only place where our faith can be found and where our life's can be made new. Thank you that in the Lord Jesus Christ.
There is the reminder that we can't save ourselves either by trying or by being religious, we can and we don't need to because you've sent Jesus to die in our place. Some of us even this morning have been tempted to trust in the either we actually show up at church or that were a lot better than we used to be, but that we never actually bowed down and acknowledge that we are by nature rebellious and disobedient and lost. So Lord shine the light of your word into the recesses of our lives in order that, individually and as a church family.
You'll save us from hocus-pocus from magic from superstition from relying on that which is so easily and quickly divorced from all that you are in and of yourself, help us to this end, we pray, fulfill your purposes and is and through us. We ask, we don't want to feed no one to be blown away. We don't want to be like the chaff Lord we want to be those in whose life's the seed of your word is found a resting place is bringing forth fruit. 3464, and some a hundredfold, hear our prayers for Jesus sake on her to join us tomorrow.
We will learn how Eli responded when he heard the results of the battle which his sons had been involved. It's part one of a message titled that's not normal missed the Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life Learning is for Living