We’ve got your daily encouragement, written by Lindsey Strickler.
1 Samuel 4:15-19
“15 Now Eli was ninety-eight years old and his eyes were set so that he could not see. 16 And the man said to Eli, “I am he who has come from the battle; I fled from the battle today.” And he said, “How did it go, my son?” 17 He who brought the news answered and said, “Israel has fled before the Philistines, and there has also been a great defeat among the people. Your two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been captured.” 18 As soon as he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell over backward from his seat by the side of the gate, and his neck was broken and he died, for the man was old and heavy. He had judged Israel forty years.
19 Now his daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant, about to give birth. And when she heard the news that the ark of God was captured, and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she bowed and gave birth, for her pains came upon her.“
Eli was a high priest in the 1st book of Samuel and was a judge for Israel for 40 years. The story picks up after all these little things that didn’t glorify God, weren’t addressed by Eli. Eli was God’s leader on earth, it was his job to lead the people of Israel which includes having the courage to address things that are wrong. By allowing all these little things to build up, it resulted in a huge defeat and disaster.
Eli had issues not just in his community, but also in his own house. His sons were some of the most corrupt guys in Israel. Eli was so overweight that he broke his neck when he fell over. It’s super easy to judge him for these things, but how many of us struggle in the same way? Maybe not in the details, but struggle with the same hearts? How many of us struggle to have the courage to address the broken areas of our personal lives? It seems harsh, but how about the sinful areas of our lives?
God wants us to live in freedom. 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 calls us glorify God with our body and spirit. It very clearly distinguishes the two. Thankfully, we don’t have to do this on our own strength and power. God’s given us his Holy Spirit, who also is called The Helper. If you listened to our podcast with Tasia Percevecz this week, we talked about how there is freedom in obedience. Romans 8:6 tells us “… to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” How different would the outcome have been if Eli had taken the time to address things from the inside-out?
Father, please give me the courage to see the areas of my life that need to be addressed but that I’ve been blind to. I’m your creation, you’ve saved me, and you’ve redeemed me, which means these things are not what define me, nor are they where my value lies. However, they are things that are keeping me from experiencing your freedom. Please give me the wisdom to see these areas and spend time confessing them to you. Please guide me in what I should do about them. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Spend some time in prayer this morning. Ask God to make you sensitive the areas of your own life that you need to address with him and confess those things to him.
If you want to learn more about this story with Eli, we recommend listening to the Froning and Friends episode, “Into the Storm // 1 Samuel: Chapter 4.”
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