Putting Your Trust in the Wrong Place
1 Sam 4:1-11
Exegetical Idea: (Subject)What happen when Israel was defeated by the Philistines?(Compliment) They asked the right question but sought the wrong solution, and suffered an even greater defeat.
Homoletical Idea: (Subject) What is a Christian to do when they fail to see the blessing of God in their lives? (Compliment) we need to seek God and wait for Him to give us direction.
Big Idea: God will not bless that which does not bring Him glory.
Sermon Outcome: To help the listener understand the connection between sin in our lives and the absence of blessing from God, with the intention that it will lead them to seek the Lord concerning those areas of known sin for the purpose of bringing glory to God.
Seeking to answer the question: Is there hope for me?
“And Samuel’s word came to all Israel. Now the Israelites went out to fight against the Philistines. The Israelites camped at Ebenezer, and the Philistines at Aphek. The Philistines deployed their forces to meet Israel, and as the battle spread, Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who killed about four thousand of them on the battlefield. When the soldiers returned to camp, the elders of Israel asked, “Why did the Lord bring defeat upon us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the Lord’s covenant from Shiloh, so that it may go with us and save us from the hand of our enemies.” So the people sent men to Shiloh, and they brought back the ark of the covenant of the Lord Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim. And Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God. When the ark of the Lord’s covenant came into the camp, all Israel raised such a great shout that the ground shook. Hearing the uproar, the Philistines asked, “What’s all this shouting in the Hebrew camp?” When they learned that the ark of the Lord had come into the camp, the Philistines were afraid. “A god has come into the camp,” they said. “We’re in trouble! Nothing like this has happened before. Woe to us! Who will deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods? They are the gods who struck the Egyptians with all kinds of plagues in the desert. Be strong, Philistines! Be men, or you will be subject to the Hebrews, as they have been to you. Be men, and fight!” So the Philistines fought, and the Israelites were defeated and every man fled to his tent. The slaughter was very great; Israel lost thirty thousand foot soldiers. The ark of God was captured, and Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, died. ” (1 Samuel 4:1–11, NIV)
I) When God's blessing is absent (v. 1-2)
A) Israel was defeated by the Philistines- Was Israel ever defeated when they were walking with the LORD? No
B) This was a sign that something was wrong at the heart of the nation.
1) Joshua 7:1-12 esp 3-4, 10-12 - Defeat at Ai due to sin of one man
2) Famine during the time of David- due to sin of Saul with the Gibeonites (2 Sam 21:1)
C) Although the word of God was coming through Samuel the nation's leaders were not seeking God for His direction. (cf. 2 Sam 5:17)David sought the Lord
D) Israel was defeated as a direct result of the sin committed by Hophni and Phineas
E) We cannot live a double life and expect the blessing of God (Illustration- Movie sets in Hollywood- empty and lifeless) God blesses that which brings Him glory.
1) Are the blessings of God absent from our life? Are we bringing glory to God in all areas of our lives
2) Sometimes we think the blessings of God are absent when in fact we need to open our eyes to the reality that they are truly there. (Illustration: William Randolph Hearst desired a painting that was already part of his collection) Sometimes we are seeking for big blessings and we fail to see that some of the biggest blessing have been here all along. (forgiveness, salvation, mercy, compassion, longsuffering, health, marriage, job, home, car that works)
II) We need to ask God for the cause (v. 3)
A) The elders asked the right question- Why did the LORD bring defeat upon us? (more of an accusation than a question)
B) We need to take the difficult step of asking God to search our hearts. (Ps. 139:23-24)
1) Why do I need to go before God? Why can't I do this myself? (Jer 17:9-10)
2) Because God alone knows our hearts and He desires that our lives would bring Him glory. (John 16:13-14)
C) When we know the cause we need to be willing to deal with it, put it to death. (Col 3:5)
1) Paul here is talking about complete extermination not careful regulation.
D) If we expect to see the blessing of God in our lives, church, business while we still harbor sin in our lives we are sorely mistaken.
1) In order for the blessing of God to flow into our lives we must first remove everything that does not honor God.
2) Up to this point Israel was not willing to do this.
III) We need to wait on Him for the answer (v. 3b-ff)
A) While the Israelites asked the right question the sought the answer in the wrong way.
1) They did not even seek the LORD they sought to involve God without even consulting Him by bringing the ark of the covenant.
(a) This was the most sacred object in all of Israel- it is where God's presence dwelt. It was the only piece of furniture in the holy of holies.
(b) It was overlaid with pure gold and had four rings that received four poles that were also covered with gold.
(c) The ark was to be carried only by the priests and this only after they had been consecrated.
B) They were seeking to use the ark as a good luck charm, as long as they had the ark they were assured of victory- yet look who comes with the ark (v. 4) Hophni and Phineas- they are no longer referred to as priests.
C) Instead of waiting for the LORD they ran off ahead and did what seemed right in their eyes. The results were devastating. (v. 10-11) (Is. 31:1)
D) Did the Israelites not know the power of God? (1 Sam 2:27) Yes they did! It is interesting the Philistines also knew of the power of God (1 Sam 4:8) Yet they ignored the power of God and the presence of God.
E) So what are we to do?
1) Wait patiently before the LORD. (Ps. 37:5,7)
2) Look to the LORD and His strength. (Ps. 105:4)
3) When God reveals what is wrong we need to exterminate not regulate
4) We need to admit that we cannot live two lives and expect the blessing of God
5) We need to remember that all the blessings of God are available to the one who chooses the Son. (Illustration- #45 pg. 25 - the man who chose the picture the son had painted.)