The new Nation of Israel was a moral mess. Its spiritual leadership was the main culprit. They believed God to be in a box which they had carried through the wilderness for many years until they arrived at the Promised Land.
You know as long as you have God in a box you can live however you choose; believe whatever you choose; ask “God” whatever you choose. He must answer to you. Right? That assumption is entirely WRONG. It is not only a lie of evil and Satan; it is absolutely wrong.
“And the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and they fled every man into his tent: and there was a very great slaughter; for there fell of Israel thirty thousand footmen. And the ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain.” 1 Samuel 4:10-11 (KJV)
In the text above Israel has been at war with the Philistines, and is losing the war; they send for the box; the one they have “God” in; believing that if the box (the ark of the covenant) is in their midst, then they cannot help but win the battle and the war.
This is a case of much assumption. Yes! the ark is holy, and it does signify the presence, power and glory of God. It is not, however, a rabbits foot, a magic wand, a wishing well, or an object of worship.
The question could be and should be asked, “Why did God allow the ark of the covenant to be taken, and Israel to be defeated?” There are many answers. I will give two.
- The spiritual leadership of Israel was in default. Hophni and Phineas were being unjust in their dealings with the people and especially the women (1 Samuel 2:12-17, 22), and Eli their father did nothing about it; but tolerated their wicked behavior.
- It would greatly appear they had the wrong view of God. They believed Him to be in their “box”, and that by having the “box” with them they could ask anything, do anything, and have any victory they desired. This proved to be fatally, and unmistakably wrong. The evidence is in the fact that the ark of God was taken, Hophni and Phineas, are dead, and Eli even dies upon hearing the news of the arks being taken (4:18). Ichabod is also born in the defeat.
There is and can be only victory when the children of God are obedient to our Master, and live doing His will. That was the heart and will of Jesus (John 5:19, 30).
God is not at our disposal to ask a petition of Him; no matter how we live our lives; or just in the time of trouble and trials. Those who know Him through faith in His Son Jesus Christ know Him to be faithful, however, we also know that we too are to be faithful as His slaves. He is to be trusted, believed, obeyed; and even when we feel – and let me emphasize “FEEL” – He is not near, or does not hear.
No Christian has power over God. No individual has power over God. When we think we rule; GOD will overrule.
-Tim A. Blankenship