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I Samuel 4 – Ichabod – The Glory has Departed 撒母耳记 4 – 以迦博 (神的荣耀离开了)

Friday, 12th March 2021

Rev Daniel Xi An Poon

I Samuel 4 – Ichabod – The Glory has Departed

Section One: V1-4 Replaced God with Other Gods

Ebenezer means the place with the help of God. But we can see that the Israelites at the time did not know God. It’s just like what I Samuel 3:1 says, “And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation.”

Even the priests, Eli’s sons, did not know God at the time. If the priests did not speak the Word of God, then how can the Israelites know God? All they knew was “doing” and how to fight in the battles, they did not know God. What about us? Do we really know God and how to pray to Him?

V2 we like to put up decorations or wear symbols of the cross, but do we really understand the meaning of the cross and have Jesus in our lives? We must have the right focus, and do not become an idol worshipper. When Israelites lost before the Philistines, they wanted to bring over the Ark of God,

V3 what the Israelites worshipped was not God, but their past experience, their knowledge, things people created, which are the false gods. They forgot why Joshua put the Ark of God first, because it was the instructions from God. But these group of people they did not even know God, when they faced problems, they wanted solutions straight away, but they did not look into their lives and ask why God’s glory has left them.

V4 the two sinners who did not know God were carrying the Ark of God. When our lives are not right and when we tried to do something for God, then God will not be on our side! We should not seek God using the way of idol-worship when facing problems but return to God first and ask Him to help us examine our lives.

Section Two: V5-18 Did Not Value God

V5-8 Philistines knew God from the things God had done in the past. They did not know the Ark of God, but the God, who struck Egyptians in the past. Why do we share testimonies? To recognise the signs and wonders God has done in our lives in the past! We tend to focus on our own problems and we did not see God’s rod and staff are comforting us.

We have forgotten God’s promises for us, we still worship the idols men have created. We follow our emotions, we cannot interact with God because we are worshipping other gods and we do not even know God! We cannot be like Mary to sit before Jesus without worrying about anything else. Do we really value God and know how precious He is?

V9 Even the Philistines knew that God could destroy them! Do we feel we are defeated? Do we hurt ourselves and want to kill ourselves? If we do then we are judging God’s creation. Why do we feel we are not good enough? Because we let sins come into our lives and did not do what God pleases. All we need to do is to repent!

God is not here to solve our problems! He does not carry the cross to follow us and fix our every wrong, instead, we need to turn around, repent and follow Him. Our body is the temple of God, so when we receive the word of God every morning, we are lighting up the temple of God every day. We don’t need to use our own strength to fight, but come before God and let Him fight for us.

V10 when God was not with the Israelites, they lost the fight. When we are defeated or hurt, we would want to run away and hide. We don’t value God, and don’t see how God has already given us His only Son, Jesus Christ, to save us. We think we can comfort ourselves by hiding away, and we don’t come before God, ask for His forgiveness and comfort.

The Israelites were defeated, the Ark of God was captured, and Eli’s two sons died. If we don’t value God, and value too much on ‘doing’, then at the end we will fail.

V13 when God told Eli that his sons would die on the same day, he said, “It is the Lord. Let Him do what seems good to Him.” Eli valued his ministry more than his sons and his health! He fell when he heard the Ark of God was captured. Do we value our work and ministry more than the presence of God?

V18 even such a person like Eli, God let him serve Israel for 40 years. God kept on giving Eli opportunities to repent. Of course Eli knew his sons’ wickedness, and of course Eli knew the Ark of God cannot be carried by sinful people, but he did not stop them.

“There was Eli, sitting on a seat by the wayside watching, for his heart trembled for the ark of God.” Eli was worried for the Ark of God more than his sons, he worried that if his ministry would stand, but both his ministry and he himself were gone!

Section Three: V19-22 Disappeared together with the Idols

V19 Phinehas’ wife had a son, but she only focused on the death of her husband and father-in-law. As a mother, she did not give thanks for her son given by God even in the hard times.

When we don’t know God, the Word of God is no longer valid, because people don’t want to listen to the words, which make them feel uncomfortable. People want to hear words of encouragement and praises, but the teachings of God were few.

God wants us to return, when we repent and return, God’s salvation will come. May God help us, during this time of fasting, we can be convicted of sin, of judgement and of righteousness, let us be bold and repent before God, and restore the goodness He has created us to be.

Pursuit & Respond

No matter how long we have believed in God, in this time of fasting and praying, do we see the love of God for us? He loves us and our families, He wants to bless us and He does not want us to die in the fiery furnace. He loves us not because of how much we have done, His Son, Jesus Christ, has died for us on the cross and came back to life after three days.

God loves us, and sees us as the apple of His eye. But have we used other gods to replace Jehovah? Let the Holy Spirit shine His light upon us, help us not to be afraid and not to hide, but to come before the cross boldly, be convicted of sin, of righteousness and of judgement. Examine into our lives, let the true light of God shine within us. Let us repent before the cross, all the things we have done, to use idols to replace our God.

In the Name of Jesus, by faith, we come before the cross and declare Your precious blood on the cross can cover all our sins. Lead us, Lord, out of the darkness and enter light. Help us to align with You. Amen!

2021年3月12日 星期五

-潘锡安牧师-

撒母耳记 4

以迦博 (神的荣耀离开了)

撒母耳成为神所拣选的先知。先知的意思就是“传话” – 传神的话。他生不逢时,处在一个混乱、任意妄为的时代。我们是否要被周围的人影响?这是我们自己要负的责任,不可推卸给神或世界。耶稣说他已经胜过这个世界,我们这些跟随他的人也能得胜。我们要让神的话来照亮我们里面的黑暗。

一、以别神代替神(v.1-4)

V1-2, “以便以谢” 意思是被神帮助的地方。在这一章对以色列人来讲这是一个惨败的地方,但之后撒母耳在同一个地方看见神的同在。我们是否常将神放在一个框框里,还是看到神的真实和他同在的法则?当时的以色列人不认识神(撒母耳记上2:12、3:1) – 因为连祭司的两个儿子也不认识神,也没有人教导神的话语。人们懂的只是要做的事、如何去打仗。我们也要很诚实的问自己,我们认识神吗?我们的祷告合神心意吗?

以色列人看重的不是神,而是代表神的一些标志。我们平时是否佩戴一些十字架或鱼之类的基督教的配饰,但心里没有神?我们不要以别神代替耶和华。

V3,以色列人觉得有约柜就是得胜,他们在敬拜的不是神,而是他们自己的经历,是用一个人造的偶像代替了耶和华神。我们忘了当初约书亚过约旦河时为什么约柜在前面 – 神与约书亚同在,他有从神而来的指示。而现今这些以色列人不认识神,打仗失败了就自己想方法解决。我们遇到问题时常常第一个想的都是方法,却没有想到自己的生命,没有安静来寻求神,去鉴察问题的根源。

V4,两个不认识神的人抬着约柜,神怎会跟以色列同在呢?我们不要用拜偶像的方法来寻求神,遇到问题时要先回转过来,求神帮助鉴察我们的生命。

二、没有看重神(v.5-18)

V5-8, 非利士人不认识神,不知道约柜,但他们知道耶和华过去行过的事(V8),说“从前在旷野用各样灾殃击打埃及人的,就是这些神”。我们认识的是谁?我们是否认出、见证神在我们个人做过的神迹奇事?我们是否像那些以色列人一样看重的可能是一个自己造出来的东西,在自己的忧郁、受伤里打转,无法跳出非利士人的攻击而看到神的大能。我们看不到神的杖和杆都安慰我们,看不到他将我们安歇在溪水旁,按时候结果子,只记得神的约柜在示罗。这真的是看重神、认识神、知道神的应许吗?我们跟从的是自己的情绪、生活的舒适,没有办法与神交通,无法好像抹大拉的马利亚俯伏在耶稣脚前那样专心,因为我们根本不认识神。我们常常在某件事情得到满足后才来敬拜神,因为我们没有看重神,不知道原来神他自己才是至宝。

V9, 非利士人对这件事的回应是鼓励他们自己“要做大丈夫”,就是要起来、要刚强、靠自己。我们是否说过自己没有用,甚至自残?这其实是从地狱而来,是藐视神。神创造我们是美好,我们若打自己的身体,骂我们自己,就是在鄙视神的创造。当我们知道自己不好的时候,不要自我伤害。即便是以利的两个儿子,神都没有说他们不好,只是说他们“不认识神”。当我们不认识神的时候,我们就很容易觉得受伤。我们不好,不是因为我们的身体不好,而是我们的行为不好,让罪进入我们里面,所以我们要做的是认罪。耶稣基督的救赎不是自动删除我们的罪行,他不是背着十字架跟着我们走,而是我们要回转、认罪,求神的饶恕,恩典才能到来。我们的身体是神的殿,每一天我们都要来领受神的话语,为神的殿点灯。我们要做的不是“大丈夫”,因我们在十字架前是软弱的。我们只要倚靠神。

V10, 非利士人本来是要做以色列人的奴仆,以色列本来是他们的主人,但“以色列人败了,各向各家奔跑”。我们受伤的时候也是如此,躲在自己的家里或舒适圈,不服事神。这是奴仆的心态 – 受伤了就离开、躲藏。我们受伤了,没有来到耶稣基督的面前求怜悯得医治,以为自己能包裹自己。求神帮助我们能看重他所给我们的独生爱子耶稣基督。

V11, 他们没有神同在,只是在抬一个物品。最后连以利的两个儿子也被杀了,正如神在之前所说的预言。我们不要像他们那样看重很多事,却没有看重生命。

V12-18,当神跟以利说关于他们家要受审判的时候,他无动于衷,反而看重的是耶和华的约柜 – 就是他的事工。两个儿子的死似乎不是问题,但是约柜被掳走,他就不能做祭司。我们是否也是如此看重事工而不是神的同在和人的生命?看到人离开神,我们是否能为此向神认罪。“以利作以色列的士师四十年”,神怜悯以利,一直给他机会悔改。但以利没有阻止自己的两个不认识神的儿子抬约柜, 明知道随意抬约柜的后果严重,他不为自己的儿子担忧,只是为约柜担忧 (V12)。我们若看重事工,我们会和事工一起死去。若没有神的同在,神的荣耀就会离开。

三、与我们所拜的偶像一起消失 (v.19-22)

以利的儿妇看重的不是神赐给他们家的产业,只是在丈夫、公公、神的约柜那里,这些人事物成了她的偶像。一个分娩的妈妈竟然不感恩神在这样一个艰难的时刻给她一个儿子,给儿子起名叫“以迦博”- 神荣耀离开。我们是否能在粪堆中找黄金,还是在黄金中找粪堆?

当神的话稀少,百姓就没有被好好教导。人不想听神的道,因为神的话如两刃的剑会让人不舒服。神对我们说严重的话,是希望我们能回转向他。当我们认罪悔改,神的救赎就临到。求神帮助我们能为罪为义为审判鉴察自己,勇敢认罪,恢复神做创造我们的美好。

*追求和回应:

不管我们信主多久,我们说我们爱主,我们是否真的看到神的爱。为什么我们禁食祷告似乎都没有停止? 因为神爱我们,爱我们的家。神不要我们死在地狱里,他要拯救我们。神爱我们,不是因为我们做了多少事,他就是爱,以至让他的独生爱子耶稣基督为我们被钉死在十字架上,三日后复活。神看我们如同眼中的瞳仁,但我们是否以别神代替耶和华?求圣灵来光照我们。让我们不要害怕、不要躲藏,勇敢来到十字架前为罪为义为审判去鉴察我们的生命,让神的真光照进我们里面。让我们为自己在过去和现在以别神代替耶和华的罪来到神面前寻求赦免。

奉主耶稣基督的名,我们凭信心宣告,主你在十字架上流出的宝血大有功效,能涂抹遮盖我们所认的一切罪,让我们出黑暗入奇妙光明, 帮助我们与主对齐。阿门!