Scripture Reading: I Samuel 4:1-11
“And when the troops came into the camp, the elders of Israel said, ‘Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord here from Shiloh, that it may come among us and save us from the power of our enemies.'” (I Samuel 4:3)
Israel was at war with the Philistines. The Philistines were defeating the sons of Israel and the people were confused, “Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines?” They concluded that if they brought the ark of the covenant from Shiloh into their camp, the Lord would deliver them. So, they brought the ark into the camp with Hophni and Phinehas, Eli’s sons, accompanying it.
When the ark of the covenant arrived, the sons of Israel shouted. The Philistines were concerned when they heard the ark had been brought into the camp of the Israelites. They thought some gods would defeat them. But they mustered up courage — “Take courage, and be men, O Philistines, lest you become slaves to the Hebrews as they have been to you, be men and fight” (v. 9).
The Philistines fought bravely and defeated Israel. Over 30,000 soldiers from Israel died that day. The Philistines captured the ark of the covenant and the two sons of Eli, Hophi and Phinehas, died (v. 11).
What were the sons of Israel trusting in? The answer is obvious — “Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord here from Shiloh, that IT may come among us and save us from the power of our enemies.” They did not trust the Lord, but they put their faith in the ark. They believed that the ark would save them! They had misdirected trust — they trusted in the ark and not solely in the Lord Himself.
The ark of the covenant was very special to the people. When used properly it symbolized the presence of God. It was never meant to be the object of faith; only the Lord Himself is the object of our faith. It is easy for us to have misdirected trust, that is, to trust in anything other than the Lord Himself. When we trust in other things more than we trust in the Lord, we are guilty of idolatry.
Who (or what) are you really trusting in today? Who is the object of your faith? Let’s redirect our faith to its rightful object — Jesus Christ alone!
Lord Jesus, forgive me when I trust in other things more than I trust in You. I know that You alone can save me. I also know that I am prone to trust in my own efforts, intellect, and strength rather than trusting in You completely. I trust in my job, my possessions, and many other things when my faith is misdirected. Let my trust be in You and only You, my Savior and King.
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