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Failed Glory

Close Encounters of the Holy Kind  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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It is tragic when the glory of God departs a people.

1. We desire God's presence and glory. Only HE can fill the emptiness in our hearts -- Ecclesiastes 3.11

2. The church is a place to reveal God's Glory

a. It is a "House of Commons"

Common Salvation -- Jude 3
Common Problem -- Romans 3.23
Common Condemnation -- Romans 6.23
Common Solution -- John 3.16

b. It is a place where walls of distinction are broken down

3. Perseverance --

The following is reported to have been seen in the window of an English company: "We have been established for over one hundred years and have been pleasing and displeasing customers ever since. We have made money and lost money, suffered the effects of coal nationalization, coal rationing, government control, and bad payers. We have been cussed and discussed, messed about, lied to, held up, robbed, and swindled. The only reason we stay in business is to see what happens next."

I wonder if there were times in the life of Paul and others who felt like giving up on God. Paul lists his challenges in 2 Cor. 11.23-28. What would have happened if he had given up? It seems he kept looking to see what God would do next. What do you think the end of Paul's life was like -- Glorious or common?

a. What if We Don't Persevere?

b. What if God Departs?

4. 1 Samuel 4.12-22

a. Ichabod = Glory Has Departed

b. All of us have small failures -- 1 John 1.8-9

1 John 1:8–9 ESV

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

c. This is BIG!

I. This Failure Involved Selfish Shepherds

A. I Could Care Less Priests 1 Samuel 2.12-17

1 Samuel 2:12–17 ESV

Now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the LORD. The custom of the priests with the people was that when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come, while the meat was boiling, with a three-pronged fork in his hand, and he would thrust it into the pan or kettle or cauldron or pot. All that the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is what they did at Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there. Moreover, before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, “Give meat for the priest to roast, for he will not accept boiled meat from you but only raw.” And if the man said to him, “Let them burn the fat first, and then take as much as you wish,” he would say, “No, you must give it now, and if not, I will take it by force.” Thus the sin of the young men was very great in the sight of the LORD, for the men treated the offering of the LORD with contempt.

1. Worthless, uncorrected Priests

2. "Blind Guides" Who did not know God (as Matthew 15.14)

Matthew 15:14 ESV

Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”

3. This is during the Judges when there was little direction from God, therefore, Judges 21.25 is repeated through the book.

Judges 21:25 ESV

In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

4. Generations neglected to tell the wonder of God in the wilderness and people turned away. Question, Do you share the wonder of God with others?

B. Customary Desecration of God's Word 1 Samuel 2.13

1 Samuel 2:13 ESV

The custom of the priests with the people was that when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come, while the meat was boiling, with a three-pronged fork in his hand,

1. Traditions are unimportant compared to the word of God -- Matthew 15.9

Matthew 15:9 ESV

in vain do they worship me,

teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”

That's Our Tradition!
The half that was seated started yelling at those standing to sit down, and the ones standing yelled at the ones sitting to stand up.
The rabbi, learned as he was in the Law and commentaries, didn't know what to do. His congregation suggested that he consult a housebound 98-year-old man, who was one of the original founders of their congregation. The rabbi hoped the elderly man would be able to tell him what the actual tradition was, so he went to the nursing home with a representative of each faction of the congregation.
The one whose followers stood during Shema said to the old man, "Is it our tradition to stand during this prayer?" The old man answered, "No, that is not our tradition."
The one whose followers sat asked, "Is it our tradition to sit during Shema?" The old man answered, "No, that is not our tradition."
Then the rabbi said to the old man, "The congregants fight all the time, yelling at each other about whether they should sit or stand..."
The old man interrupted, exclaiming, "THAT is our tradition!"
During a service at an old synagogue in Eastern Europe, when the Shema was sais, half of the congregation stood and half remained seated. The half that was seated started yelling at those standing to sit down, and the ones standing yelled at the ones sitting to stand up.
The rabbi, learned as he was in the Law and commentaries, didn't know what to do. His congregation suggested that he consult a housebound 98-year-old man, who was one of the original founders of their congregation. The rabbi hoped the elderly man would be able to tell him what the actual tradition was, so he went to the nursing home with a representative of each faction of the congregation.
The one whose followers stood during Shema said to the old man, "Is it our tradition to stand during this prayer?" The old man answered, "No, that is not our tradition."
The one whose followers sat asked, "Is it our tradition to sit during Shema?" The old man answered, "No, that is not our tradition."
Then the rabbi said to the old man, "The congregants fight all the time, yelling at each other about whether they should sit or stand..."
The old man interrupted, exclaiming, "THAT is our tradition!"

2. Always be Biblical -- Call of Restoration Movement -- 1 Peter 4.11

1 Peter 4:11 ESV

whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

3. We have what we need for life and godliness -- 2 Peter 1.3

C. Corruption by Force

1. As Unjust Taxation (without representation in Declaration of Indepedence) -- 1 Samuel 2.15-16

1 Samuel 2:15–16 ESV

Moreover, before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, “Give meat for the priest to roast, for he will not accept boiled meat from you but only raw.” And if the man said to him, “Let them burn the fat first, and then take as much as you wish,” he would say, “No, you must give it now, and if not, I will take it by force.”

2. Treating Lord's offerings with contempt

1 Samuel 2:17 ESV

Thus the sin of the young men was very great in the sight of the LORD, for the men treated the offering of the LORD with contempt.

a. God expects correct offerings -- Malachi 3.8

Malachi 3:8 ESV

Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions.

b. Your Offerings to God include:

Self
Time
Talent
Treasure

D. Continual Drift -- Did not get there all at once, gradual development

II. Straying Sheep 1 Samuel 2.22-25

1 Samuel 2:22–25 ESV

Now Eli was very old, and he kept hearing all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who were serving at the entrance to the tent of meeting. And he said to them, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all these people. No, my sons; it is no good report that I hear the people of the LORD spreading abroad. If someone sins against a man, God will mediate for him, but if someone sins against the LORD, who can intercede for him?” But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for it was the will of the LORD to put them to death.

A. Failure to Hear -- "Would not listen" (Deuteronomy 6.4)

1. People and leaders

2. Heartbreak for leaders -- when people refuse to hear

B. Results in Hunger

1. Unfed people -- 1 Samuel 2.29

1 Samuel 2:29 ESV

Why then do you scorn my sacrifices and my offerings that I commanded for my dwelling, and honor your sons above me by fattening yourselves on the choicest parts of every offering of my people Israel?’

Question: do we ever honor our children above God?

2. Disregard for the word of God -- 1 Samuel 3.1

1 Samuel 3:1 ESV

Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD in the presence of Eli. And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision.

a. "When people are not told the works of God, they will lose the wonder of God and do what is right in their own eyes."

b. How often do you hear of God working? Healing?Reconciling? Advancing His Kingdom?

Request: In the next few weeks, keep a record of your prayer requests and answers. Please give me a copy of your answered prayers, and with your permission I wouold like to share these actions of God with our congregation. WE NEED TO EXPERIENCE THE WONDER OF GOD!

III. Sinful Service

1 Samuel 3:13–14 ESV

And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”

A. The Failure to Deal with Sin Removes God's Glory

Eli knew what his sons were doing but did not stop them;
It is hard for leaders to restrain people determined to sin
[US Political Leaders are above the Law
Are American Churches determined to do what is right in our own eyes?
Laodicea Kicked Jesus out and he stood at the door and knocked to re-enter

B. Judgment Comes When We Grieve the Holy Spirit 1 Samuel 4.1ff

1. They did not confer with God

2. They treated the ark with superstition

3. They lost the battle (30K soldiers, including Eli's sons); lost the ark; lost face

1 Samuel 4:10 ESV

So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and they fled, every man to his home. And there was a very great slaughter, for thirty thousand foot soldiers of Israel fell.

4. Eli's Death --

1 Samuel 4:10 ESV

So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and they fled, every man to his home. And there was a very great slaughter, for thirty thousand foot soldiers of Israel fell.

5. Ichabod's Birth --

1 Samuel 4:21–22 ESV

And she named the child Ichabod, saying, “The glory has departed from Israel!” because the ark of God had been captured and because of her father-in-law and her husband. And she said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.”

1. Is God's glory here? If not, should we change our name to: Ichabod Church of Christ?

a. Are we living on God's power or our own?

b. Are we filled with the Holy Spirit of God or the unholy spirit of our age?

2. Anything that we do to restarin or limit God and his glory results in failure.

3. When We Fail

In Profiles in Courage, John F. Kennedy wrote about George W. Norris of Nebraska, who began his career as a country teacher on the plains of Nebraska. He became a small-town lawyer, then a local prosecuting attorney and judge. In 1903, he entered the U.S. House of Representatives and was later elected to the Senate. Norris was a Republican who took up unpopular causes and fought uphill battles. Near the end of his career, Norris told a friend, “It happens very often that one tries to do something and fails. He feels discouraged, and yet he may discover years afterward that the very effort he made was the reason why somebody else took it up and succeeded. I really believe that whatever use I have been to progressive civilization has been accomplished in the things I failed to do rather than in the things I actually did do.” Sometimes our failures even become stepping stones of success for others. Eli's failure can inspire us to retain the Glory of God!

4. Next -- The Solution to Ichabod

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