Summary: God cannot be conned to give you what you want.

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The urban dictionary classifies a hacker as: as someone who strictly pursues creature comforts through completely legal means that while frustrating to others; allow him to live his best life.

We are all hackers looking for shortcuts or ways to do things which are less stressful and more comfortable.

<need some examples of life hacks>

STRAWS - Holding Gold Chains during travel, creare vacuum plastic bags, make a whistle, pit a strawberry,

Life is hard enough so finding the fastest way to, or through, the obstacles of life seems like an appropriate subject in this covid reality we have found ourselves in.

So over the last few weeks, we have been sharing simple shortcuts to help you live your best life. We offered hacks on scripture, relationship, parenting, purpose. And this week another simple but not easy shortcut to God.

To talk about today’s shortcut, let’s turn to the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel chapter 4. While you are pulling it up on your electronic device, let me give you a little background.

First Samuel records the establishment of Israel's monarchy, about 1050 b.c. Samuel led Israel for many years in the combined roles of prophet, priest, and judge. After the people demanded a king like those of the other nations (ch. 8), God directed Samuel to anoint Saul as Israel's first king. When Saul turned from God, David was anointed by Samuel to succeed him. After David killed the giant Goliath, he was brought to Saul's court, eventually becoming the leader of Saul's armies. Saul's subsequent violent jealousy forced David to flee. The book closes with Saul's death in battle, and looks forward to David's reign. (ESV COMMENTARY)

We pick up the story today after Hannah, who was once barren, has given birth to a son and dedicated him to the Lord. His name was Samuel. The dedication meant Samuel was given in faith to the local priest, Eli to raise. Eli had two unfaithful sons who were active in the family business - local priests. However, they weren’t really called. They used God and his people for their own benefit. Eli knew the truth but enabled them by not calling them into account. They had all the prestige and none of the anointing. This would prove to be a problem when the leaders asked their advice about going to war with the larger Philistine nation. They knew the stories of victory and tradition but failed the relationship part.

The boys had advised the leaders to go to war. The first day did not go well. Verse 3 tells it all.

3 When the soldiers returned to camp, the elders of Israel asked, “Why did the Lord bring defeat on us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the Lord’s covenant from Shiloh, so that he may go with us and save us from the hand of our enemies.”

The ark of the covenant ( a powerful symbol of God’s presence) was the suggestion. They could not lose after all after, who can lose with God on your side. You can’t fail the logic. But knowing about God is different than having a relationship with God. So the boys go to war with an ancient relic that stopped the water flowing in the Jordan river, the box whose presence was there when the walls fell at Jericho, comes on to the scene. Let’s pick up the story in verse 10.

10 So the Philistines fought, and the Israelites were defeated and every man fled to his tent. The slaughter was very great; Israel lost thirty thousand foot soldiers. 11 The ark of God was captured, and Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, died.

12 That same day a Benjamite ran from the battle line ….

Sons are dead and ark of the covenant

18 When he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell backward off his chair by the side of the gate. His neck was broken and he died, for he was an old man, and he was heavy. He had led[b] Israel forty years.

19 His daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant and near the time of delivery. When she heard the news that the ark of God had been captured and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she went into labor and gave birth, but was overcome by her labor pains. 20 As she was dying, the women attending her said, “Don’t despair; you have given birth to a son.” But she did not respond or pay any attention. 21 She named the boy Ichabod, saying, “The Glory has departed from Israel”—because of the capture of the ark of God and the deaths of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 She said, “The Glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.”

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