Many, Lord my God,
are the wonders you have done,
the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
they would be too many to declare.
Psalm 40 is personal. It is profound. It is written by King David, a man after God’s own heart. It speaks to me today and truly captures my present circumstance:
I desire to do your will, my God;
your law is within my heart.
I will make this into something that involves wood and a scrollsaw to serve as a reminder each and every day. It is my #1 desire, to do the will of God. Lord speak to me each day, open my ears to hear each whisper.
The reading in Chapter 3 begins in an interesting way, “In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.” I certainly can relate in my impatient, microwave mentality as I constantly pray for the Lord to provide a vision!
The Lord calls Samuel in an audible voice, though it takes Eli a few times to figure that out. The imagery is poetic.
The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:10
The Lord tells Samuel he will “carry out” his vengeance on Eli’s family, namely the incredulous Hophni and Phinehas, for their scandalous behavior. Eli encourages Samuel to tell him what the Lord said, not to hold back. He could probably sense Samuel’s reluctance, so he pried it out of him. Eli knew. Sad.
The Ark Captured
The Israelites were camped at Ebenezer and set to fight the Philistines. When defeat entered their camp, the elders called for the Ark to assure them of victory. The Philistines were scared, but rallied behind the call to action, “Be strong, Philistines! Be men, or you will be subject to the Hebrews, as they have been to you. Be men, and fight!” (1 Samuel 4:9) They were and they did, including running off with the Ark.
During the battle 30,000 foot soldiers died plus Hophni and Phinehas. But the day was not yet done. A messenger ran back to tell Eli the horrible news.
When he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell backward off his chair by the side of the gate. His neck was broken and he died, for he was an old man, and he was heavy. He had led Israel forty years. 1 Samuel 4:18
The Philistines took the Ark and place by their god Dagon. The next morning, Dagon was face-planted, so they put Dagon back upright only to find it face-planted and without head and hands. The wizards of the Philistines quickly figured out having the Ark in the same place was a bad idea. They moved it from Ashod to Gath to Ekron. Everywhere they moved it there was trouble so they devised a plan to return the Ark.
The Ark Returned
Basically, the Philistines hitched up “two cows that have calved and have never been yoked” (1 Samuel 6:7) and put them on autopilot set for an Israelite village along with some gold and stuff to appease the Israelite’s God (in their minds). So the Ark was returned. Unfortunately, some curious Israelites looked inside the Ark and died for their transgressions, some 70 people.
Eli and much of his family is dead; now Samuel begins his loyal leadership.