Summary: Understanding the glory of God
Ichabod – Glory of God (6)
Story of Jennifer’s encounter with the Lord’s voice a short time after becoming a Christian. She had stopped drinking when she became a Christian, but would still go to clubs with friends if she was invited. However, one evening, while at a particular club, she heard what seemed like an audible voice saying to her, “Leave! You do not belong here!” She obeyed. Some time later, she was reading her bible and she came across the name of the bar that she had been at. It was “Ichabod’s,” which means, “The Glory of God has departed.”
She wonders to this day what horrible thing would have happened if she hadn’t obeyed. Today, we will learn what it means when the Glory of God has departed. I hope that you will see what happens when the Glory of God is absent from a nation, a church, or your life. And I hope you will do all that you can to ensure that you do not drive God away from your life!
1. First place this appears in scripture:
a. 1 Samuel 4:10-22(NIV) 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. The ark of God was captured, and Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, died. That same day a Benjamite ran from the battle line and went to Shiloh, his clothes torn and dust on his head. When he arrived, there was Eli sitting on his chair by the side of the road, watching, because his heart feared for the ark of God. When the man entered the town and told what had happened, the whole town sent up a cry. Eli heard the outcry and asked, "What is the meaning of this uproar?" The man hurried over to Eli, who was ninety-eight years old and whose eyes were set so that he could not see. He told Eli, "I have just come from the battle line; I fled from it this very day." Eli asked, "What happened, my son?" The man who brought the news replied, "Israel fled before the Philistines, and the army has suffered heavy losses. Also your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been captured." 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 heavy. He had led Israel forty years. 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. 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. 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. She said, "The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured."
i. Retelling of the story:
1. For the devout Jew, one of the most chilling words in the Hebrew vocabulary is the word ICHABOD, which means the “glory has departed.” The first time this word appears it is in the midst of one of the darker periods of Israel’s history.
a. Old Eli was the caretaker of the sanctuary at Shiloh. The Philistines were harassing the Hebrews, making life miserable for them, burning or stealing their crops every harvest.
b. While the Jews were engaged in a skirmish with the Philistines, the two sons of Eli foolishly took the Ark of the Covenant from the Tabernacle and carried it into battle to guarantee victory, they thought.
c. They treated this sign of God’s presence, the Ark, as a good luck charm, as if God were under their control.
d. But the battle is lost, the Philistines take the Ark, and kill Eli’s sons in battle. Eli falls when he hears the news and dies, while His daughter in law goes into shock and gives birth prematurely to a boy who she names Ichabod.
e. What had happened here that was so horrible for the Jews was that the VISIBLE SIGN OF GOD’S PRESENCE had been taken away from them.
f. While the Ark was not the literal glory of God, it represented His presence. So in a very real sense, when the Ark was lost, the 12 tribe alliance had lost their sign of God’s glory.
g. From the time of Moses in the wilderness to this point, God’s presence and God’s glory is what had made this nation unique.