1 Samuel 4:12-22 – Eli Breathes His Last

Read 1 Samuel 4:12-22

graphic design with an open door and the words, "the will of God"

Our last reading told of the massacre of Israelite soldiers and the loss of the ark. Today it is reported to Eli and others. The outcome is not explained in great detail but left to speak for itself. We see how two people responded to this news, yet we must not forget the Israelite people as a whole have also been dealt a severe blow.

God had shared a portion of what took place that day with Samuel before it happened. Eli had been prepared for what to expect only because he had pulled the truth out of Samuel. Didn’t it seem as if Eli was more moved by the loss of the ark than in losing his sons?

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1 Samuel 1:9-18 – Cry Out To God!

Read 1 Samuel 1:9-18

woman praying, standing and looking toward the sky with pleading posture

Hannah shows us raw humility and great wisdom. She doesn’t know what to do with her despair, so she cries out to the Lord. “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut.” What a vow!

We may remember that Samson was dedicated to the Lord as a Nazarite. He was set aside for God’s purpose, and his great strength and power from God was in his uncut locks. Presumably, this type of lifestyle was known to Hannah. She wanted a child so badly she was willing to give him back to the Lord.

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Judges 20:29-48 – Victory at Last!

Read Judges 20:29-48

If at first you don’t succeed…you know the drill. We don’t give up, we try again! And that’s what the Israelites did with great success. Whose victory was it really? Here’s a clue. “So the Lord helped Israel defeat Benjamin.”

God didn’t raise up a spiritual or military leader to fight this battle. The Israelites banded together for a common goal. From the sounds of it, their tactics were a bit crafty and worked well. The warriors from Benjamin were afraid. “The Israelites surrounded the men of Benjamin and chased them relentlessly, finally overtaking them east of Gibeah.”

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Joshua 3:1-17 – Did You See That Coming?

Read Joshua 3:1-17

Ark of the Lord's Covenant (replica)

A couple chapters ago, we heard the encouraging and comforting words from God that he would be with Joshua. Joshua’s courage was the result of this promise. Today we read about how Joshua rounds up the Israelites to prepare them for their journey across the Jordan River. God reminds him of the promise. “Today I will begin to make you a great leader in the eyes of all the Israelites. They will know that I am with you, just as I was with Moses.”

Take a moment to just imagine what everyone is feeling? I can see how some may be wondering why they had to hurry up just to wait again along the shore. Others may be nervous, perhaps even fearful of the water. Yet, Joshua was taking charge. It’s hard to imagine he had any fear at all. He was ready. His moment had come.

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Isaiah 10:20-34 – Where Hope is Found

Read Isaiah 10:20-34

Then at last, those who are left remaining after all is said and done, “will faithfully trust the Lord, the Holy One of Israel.” That was God’s hope at least. He didn’t want them to depend on the Assyrians or other powers. God wanted the people to trust him. God is also making a statement by allowing, if not orchestrating, the oppression that is to befall them. It is a definite “wake-up call” to see who is going to stay the course and represent the remnant.

Isaiah has done a great job of painting the picture of the destruction coming their way. As a result of their actions and behaviors, “the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, has already decided to destroy the entire land.” There was nothing that could be done to stop it. The people would see terror like their ancestors had at the hands of Egyptians. Those memories were no doubt kept alive and remembered each time Passover was celebrated. For those that listened to Isaiah, God had given them a hope to cling to.

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