1 Samuel 4 – What is God Doing?

1 Samuel 4 – What is God Doing?

This Sunday we will be continuing our sermon series in the book of 1 Samuel, looking at chapter 7. Since we will not be preaching sermons on chapters 4-6, this week, we’ve asked a few church members to post some brief studies on these chapters for your benefit. “All Scripture is breathed out by God, and profitable” (2 Tim. 3:16)!

Today, Pablo Tabilo shares some thoughts on 1 Samuel 4:


What God has said in the previous chapters has now happened. An event so unexpected in the history of Israel that it made their ears tingle (1 Samuel 3:11) – God’s glory has left the Israelites in a scene of rightful judgment. In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes (Judges 21:25). God’s message to Samuel was delivered and the first thing that happens is a war against the Philistines. Israel looses 4,000 men and wonders, “why has the Lord defeated us today?” (v. 3). Their solution to their loss is, “let’s just bring God to fight!” (paraphrase). Convinced that God would bring victory, they shouted with might when the ark came into the camp (v.5). BUT their plan does not go as they expected. Instead, they lost 30,000 men AND the ark. God’s judgment against their defiance is revealed and Eli dies when hearing of God’s departure. The chapter closes with the birth of a son in the darkest hour — he is named Ichabod, a name that signifies that God’s glory had departed from Israel (4:22).

We can see ourselves in this story. When we forget from where God has taken us and we find ourselves living our life doing what we think is right in our own eyes, sometimes life hits hard and, just like the Israelites, we also wonder, “what is God doing?” We know that He is sovereign, so how is this happening? Instead of listening or looking to God for an answer, we come up with our own ideas to solve the problem. We try to conform God to our will, as opposed to conforming to His. The result: surprise at utter defeat (4,000 to 30,000 men!). God has a way to make our ears tingle.

Is this not a great offense to God – to forget Him, not fear Him, and put him in a box put him out when we need Him? In so doing, we dishonor him before all nations.

1 Samuel 2:25 “If a man sins against the LORD, who can intercede for him?”

In our darkest hour, a Son was born, whose name was Emmanuel. When we were lost, Christ came. As we wander off, Jesus rescues us again and again.

Why then do we live like we have no King?

Why then do we keep believing we can carry God in a box and use Him as if He were a good-luck charm?

Should not our answer to life’s unforeseen hits be to go to God and listen?

Repentance is available today. The rightful wrath of God was poured on Christ for our behalf.

Jesus is the King, we must go to Him for what is right, through His Word and the Holy Spirit.

Because of God’s grace, our story does not end with God’s departure but with His victory, but many  around us do not have this hope. We need to abandon the hope that comes from our own doing, embrace the hope found only Christ, and share THAT with the nations.