Summary: Part 4a of our 1 Samuel Series

Real People- Real problems

Part 4

“Knowing God”

I Samuel chapter 4

In the western movie “Young Guns”

There is one scene that always makes me laugh just a little

In the scene I am talking about

Billy and the boys are running from the law and they find themselves in a little cantina somewhere in New Mexico

At the bar talking to a pretty senorita is a man

A bounty hunter

A fancy man – I like to call him’

A blow hard

And he is bragging to the young lady about how he is going to capture or kill Billy the kid and collect the bounty that is on his head

Billy begins asking him questions about how to recognize himself if he were to see him

And the man goes off on a long tale about how Billy is a tall good looking young man

Who dresses like a dandy

Is left handed and loves to whistle sad ballads

None of which are true

The scene ends badly for the man

But it is a great illustration of the problem that we are going to address today

You see that Texas Bounty hunter

Knew about Billy the kid

But he did not really know Billy the kid

And because what the thought he knew was not true

He did not recognize him when he was right in front of him

Today we will continue with our sermon series titled Real People- Real problems

The problem that we will see over the next few weeks is that of knowing God

I mean really knowing God

Not just knowing about God

Not just viewing God from our misguided idea of who he is or who he should be

The real people in this miniseries are Samuel who we have already met

Eli and his sons Hophni and Phinnneas

The Israelites

And the Philistines

Each has a different view of God

Each thought they knew God- Notice I said thought

When in fact they knew about God- or better ---thought they knew about God

Much of what they thought was wrong

And as a result they treated God in a way that showed their view of God

Our Text for today is just too big to read

So I am going to paraphrase it a bit

But encourage you to read it in your own quiet time

It is a great story

It comes from 1 Samuel

Chapter 4

In Today’s lesson

The Israelites under the Leadership of Eli and his wicked sons

Are at war with the Philistines

Please bear with me as I am going to cowboyise this story a bit

They had been getting the snot beat out of them by their enemies

So they had a great idea- hey watch this

Hold my beer comes to mind here

Let’s carry the Ark of the Covenant into battle with us

Bad Idea

And to make matters worse the priests

Hophni and Pninneous who should have known better ---but went along with it

No mention is made of prayer or searching the scripture or seeking the guidance of God or even his priests

This brings us to

Wrong thinking number one in this series

Thinking of God as a lucky charm or a force they could control

Selfishly focusing on the things of God instead of God

Because the people had acted on their own

Once again

They got the snot whopped out of them

And the sons of Eli were both killed as was prophesied by Samuel after he said Speak Lord, your servant is listening

Let me read just a small portion of today’ text

1 Samuel


At that time Israel was at war with the Philistines. The Israelite army was camped near Ebenezer, and the Philistines were at Aphek. 2 The Philistines attacked and defeated the army of Israel, killing 4,000 men. 3 After the battle was over, the troops retreated to their camp, and the elders of Israel asked, “Why did the LORD allow us to be defeated by the Philistines?” Then they said, “Let’s bring the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD from Shiloh. If we carry it into battle with us, it[a] will save us from our enemies.”

You see

The Israelites

Had a wrong view of God

They had fallen away in idol worship and even now worshipped the Ark instead of God

They had completely disregarded the Holiness of God

Eli and his sons had corrupted the whole religious system by stealing and bullying the people

Everyone was just doing they pleased

And all of them were blaming God for a less than desirable outcome

Don’t we often do this as well?

Do what we want- without regard for God or his word

And then

Get punished for our sin

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