1 Samuel 4* The Israelites overcome by the Philistines. (1-9) The arktaken. (10,11) The death of Eli. (12-18) The birth of Ichabod.(19-22)1-9 Israel is smitten before the Philistines. Sin, the accursedthing, was in the camp, and gave their enemies all the advantagethey could wish for. They own the hand of God in their trouble;but, instead of submitting, they speak angrily, as not aware ofany just provocation they had given him. The foolishness of manperverts his way, and then his heart frets against the Lord, #Pr19:3|, and finds fault with him. They supposed that they couldoblige God to appear for them, by bringing the ark into theircamp. Those who have gone back in the life of religion,sometimes discover great fondness for the outward observances ofit, as if those would save them; and as if the ark, God'sthrone, in the camp, would bring them to heaven, though theworld and the flesh are on the throne in the heart. 10,11 The taking of the ark was a great judgment upon Israel,and a certain token of God's displeasure. Let none think toshelter themselves from the wrath of God, under the cloak ofoutward profession. 12-18 The defeat of the army was very grievous to Eli as ajudge; the tidings of the death of his two sons, to whom he hadbeen so indulgent, and who, as he had reason to fear, diedimpenitent, touched him as a father; yet there was a greaterconcern on his spirit. And when the messenger concluded hisstory with, "The ark of God is taken," he is struck to theheart, and died immediately. A man may die miserably, yet notdie eternally; may come to an untimely end, yet the end bepeace. 19-22 The wife of Phinehas seems to have been a person ofpiety. Her dying regret was for the loss of the ark, and thedeparture of the glory from Israel. What is any earthly joy toher that feels herself dying? No joy but that which is spiritualand divine, will stand in any stead then; death is too serious athing to admit the relish of any earthly joy. What is it to onethat is lamenting the loss of the ark? What pleasure can we takein our creature comforts and enjoyments, if we want God's wordand ordinances; especially if we want the comfort of hisgracious presence, and the light of his countenance? If God go,the glory goes, and all good goes. Woe unto us if he depart! Butthough the glory is withdrawn from one sinful nation, city, orvillage after another, yet it shall never depart altogether, butshines forth in one place when eclipsed in another.
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