Summary: This messages used the name Ichabod as a term for those who are lost; those who do not have the glory of God. And, it uses Immanuel to represent the condition of salvation for those who live in fellowship with Jesus, God with us.
Immanuel or Ichabod
Please stand with me as we go over our current memory Scripture:
“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the Law of the LORD, and on His Law he meditates day and night.”
And our memory Scripture “refresher” verse is:
“May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it.”
Today we will once again be reading from John 1:1-14
Just the sound of that name is ominous.
The name is found in 1 Samuel 4. In this chapter Eli is 98 years old and his sons are now the priests at Shiloh where the Ark of the Covenant is kept in the Tent of Meeting.
Eli’s sons are wicked but the Lord is raising up Samuel as a priest, a judge and a prophet of the Lord Most High.
Israel is at war with the Philistines and in a battle the army of Israel is routed with 4,000 dead.
The men of Israel wonder why they were defeated and they get the bright idea of taking the Ark of the Covenant into battle with them, like it is some kind of good-luck charm.
Anyway, the Philistines are alarmed at this development but they pledge to fight vigorously anyway and they totally defeat the Israelites killing another 30,000.
This is not only a great loss of men but Eli’s sons are among the dead and the Ark of the Covenant is captured as well.
The news of the loss of the Ark of the Covenant ends up causing the prophet Eli to fall over backward and break his neck and die.
And the resulting stress causes one of Eli’s step-daughters to go into labor from which she also dies. But before she dies she names her son, Ichabod meaning the glory of Israel has departed.
However, the glory of Israel did not actually leave with the loss of the Ark of the Covenant but it happened whenever Israel would turn their back on the Maker of the Covenant, Yahweh, the Lord God of Israel.
There were many times of extreme spiritual darkness in Israel, many times of Ichabod when the glory of the Lord was departed from His chosen people.
In this message we will be referring to the “Ichabod condition” as those who do not know or have rejected the glory of God.
But, Isaiah’s prophecy in Isaiah 9:2 promised a time when:
“The people walking in darkness have seen a Great Light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a Light has dawned.”
Let’s take a look at John 1:1-14 and see what and Who this Light is.
(Prayer for help)
John 1:4-5, 7, 9
“In [Jesus, the Word] was life, and that life was the Light of all mankind. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
“[John] came as a witness to testify concerning that Light, so that through Him all might believe. [John] was not the Light; he came only as a witness to the Light.
“The true Light that gives [spiritual] light to everyone was coming into the world.”
This is the fulfillment of the prophecy found in Isaiah 9:2.
We live in a world of spiritual darkness and spiritual light.
Spiritual darkness is “Ichabod” where there is no glory of the Lord.
Spiritual light is salvation through faith in Jesus Christ which always seeks to honor and glorify the Lord.
These are polar opposites.
I am not saying that there was never any spiritual light before Jesus came into the world. There certainly was. Read the Old Testament.
There were times when the actual glory of Yahweh would be so intense over the Tabernacle or over the Temple that the priests could not enter to perform their duties.
There were times when the nation of Israel was faithful to Yahweh the God of Israel and the glory of the Lord was shown by His care for them through provision and protection.
These were times of spiritual light. These were times when the surrounding nations lived in fear of the God of Israel.
But, more often than not, the kings of Israel would live in disobedience to their God by serving other gods or by being filled with pride and arrogance, thinking they did not need the Lord.
And, in these times when the king was living in rebellion to the Lord many of the people of Israel would follow their lead.