Praise the Lord, Grace & Peace great people of our “Great God”…JESUS
As a watchman on the gate, I view and discern many things in this walk. I often hear people say that the CHURCH has lost its power! But in essence the CHURCH will never cease to render power because it is built upon the solid rock Jesus Christ. Hence many members of the body of Christ have lost their power, because they perpetually choose to walk in the things that do not exemplify the power nor the glory of God. It is a fact that we are where we choose to dwell! Hence for this Golden Nugget I would like to provoke you with the thought …”Please Leave ICADBOD and meet ME at EBENEZER” My premise scriptures to provoke further gospel provocation are as follows:
1Sa 4:20-22 And about the time of her death the women that stood by her said unto her, Fear not; for thou hast born a son. But she answered not, neither did she regard it. And she named the child Ichabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel: because the ark of God was taken, and because of her father in law and her husband. And she said, The glory is departed from Israel: for the ark of God is taken.
1Sa 7:12 Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us.
As a contextual reference point in the scriptures etymologically “Icadbod” means the glory has departed, and “Ebenezer” means up to this time the Lord helped us.
When we began to evaluate 1 Sam. chapter 3 there is a prediction that the house of Eli shall have a terrible fall. 1 Sam. 3:2 “And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see; and ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep; that the Lord called Samuel.” In other words, Eli’s house is passing away, and Gods has designated another priest by the name of Samuel to fulfill this office.
Eli was a priest of the Lord, but he failed to walk watchfully as a watchman on the gate! He failed to keep the spiritual order that was deemed necessary according to the testimonies of God. He failed to restrain his demonic influenced sons from practicing sin before the people of Israel! Hence we see his dismal end. 1 Sam. 3:11-13 “And the Lord said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel at which both the ears of every one that hears it shall tingle. In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end. For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.”
My brothers and sisters, the scriptures are always affirmed “Whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap.” How true this is for all descendants of the first Adam who walk in his failure! And this also holds true for all those who walk in the Last Adam (Jesus Christ) who will reap good things according to what they have sowed.
This should not be a rocket science, If we indulge in thinking wrong perpetually, we will adapt to habits that will render a erroneous lifestyle, and hence we will reap the bitter fruits sooner or later. This is why we must be watchful and careful to sow to the Holy Spirit so that we may reap life everlasting! GOLDEN NUGGET!
Our foundational truth is based on the facts that; Christ is our life, and Christ is our righteousness, because he is the very essence of our peace with God..Glory! Many may lose the zeal of it, but this foundation established by God is indestructible, and before one can ever understand and appreciate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, one has to experience his perfect justification through faith in God’s Word, by knowing that Christ was made our perfect atonement!
My brothers and sisters please note in 1 Sam 4:2 there is an humiliating picture of Israel’s failing condition in connection with the declining house of Eli. “Now Israel went out against the Philistines to battle, and pitched beside Ebenezer: and the Philistines pitched in Aphek. And the Philistines put themselves in array against Israel: and when they joined battle, Israel was smitten before the Philistines: and they slew of the army in the field about four thousand men.” Notice what the Lord conveyed in Deu 28:25 if they did not walk in obedience to the Lord! “The LORD shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them: and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth.“ For this is why they were weak and powerless!
Saints please observe the nature and ground of Israel’s confidence, during the time when they lost the battle: “And when the people were come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, Wherefore has the Lord smitten us to-day before the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of Shiloh to us, that, when it comes among us, it may save us out of the hand of our enemies.” There was not a word about the Lord. They were so removed from God that they could not reference Him as the source of their strength; they did not reference Him as their shield and buckler, nor Jehovah- Nissi. They trusted in a form of glory, the Ark; for the Glory of the Lord had already departed from them.
Just like us today, how often have we neglected God, and the power in true worship, hoping to save ourselves by some superstitious use of a perceived holy thing (having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof ) that is not only unavailing, but is blasphemous! We must understand that during these hours of peril, we must render a genuine return to the Lord with the spirit of repentance, in order for God to value our cry, and tend to our need! GOLDEN NUGGET!
Ironically Israel vainly imagined that the Ark would give them the victory; so they entered the battle with a false hope and a superficial joy! For the Ark was accompanied by those who did not possess a real anointing, i.e. Hophni and Phinehas. For these two walked in Icadbod before he was born. Two priest who were wicked, evil, who had desecrated the tabernacle of the Most High God! They had the nerve to lead this effort! “And when the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth rang again.” Israel perceived triumph was as baseless as it was unbecoming; because it was an empty display. Their shout of triumph harmonized intentionally with their low moral condition in the sight of God; and such is it today among us, for many who are pretentious rise to various high levels in Christendom, who may have questionable lifestyles, while they proclaim the Name of the Lord! GOLDEN NUGGET!
That’s right, the men and women of this world will always attach significance to high pretensions. They like them, and, generally speaking, some us render high accolades to those who walk in them, yet on the other hand we despise those that walk in self abasement.
Notice this portion of scripture please…”And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, What means the noise of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews? And they understood that the ark of the Lord was come into the camp. And the Philistines were afraid; for they said, God is come into the camp,” They naturally thought that the shout of triumph was based on a reality: they did not know or see what was going on behind the scene; they knew nothing about Israel’s priesthood being defiled, how the Lord despised their sacrifices, nor how the temple of God had been desecrated! The Philistines beheld the outward symbol, and imagined that power accompanied it; hence they feared.How little did they know that their fear and Israel’s perceived triumph made it a even battlefield. “Be strong,” said they, “and quit yourselves like men, O ye Philistines, that ye be not servants to the Hebrews, as they have been to you: quit yourselves like men, and fight.”
Here was the resource of the Philistines power, themselves…”quit yourselves like men.” Israel could not do this without the anointing and presence of the Lord. For without God, they were weaker than other men; Israel’s only hope was in God; and if God was not there, it was merely a conflict between man and man, hence the Israelite’s were no match for a Philistine, and it was documented as such… “The Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten.” The outcome could not of happen any other way, because God was not with them. The symbol of God glory, the Ark, was taken; their so called shout of triumph was exchanged for a piercing cry of sorrow; the portion allotted to them was defeat and shame; and the aged Eli, whom we may regard as the representative of the existing weak system of things, fell with that system, and was buried in its ruins.
My brothers and sisters I want you to recognized that in 1 Sam. chapters 5 and 6 the name Ichabod during that period of time was written upon the nation of Israel. During this time God ceased to act publicly for Israel, and the ark of His presence was carried from city to city of the uncircumcised Philistines. Wow, the Ark of God among strangers, and Israel for the time being was set aside.
This scripture here strikes me as paradoxical, yet very essential 1 Sam. 5:1 “And the Philistines took the ark of God, and brought it from Eben-ezer to Ashdod. The enemy of Israel takes the Ark from a location that is interpreted etymologically “A PLACE WHERE THE LORD HAS HELPED US” to a place interpreted etymologically “A STRONGHOLD AND FORTRESS” Please note that God was there to help his children and was a strong hold for them also when they obeyed him. Zec. 9:12 Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even today do I declare that I will render double unto thee. Even though Gods glory left His children, He never ceased to be who He was!
Hence; “When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon.” we are presented with the humiliating result of Israel’s unfaithfulness to the Lord, the Ark of the Lord is found lodged in temple of Dagon! What an embarrassment, Israel had failed, they gave up something that was most sacred to an uncircumcised environment! Just like today my brothers and sisters, we leave our most precious places where the Lord wants to perpetually help us, and find ourselves in demonic strong holds contrast to our Lord Jesus Christ! It reminds me of what the apostles Barnabas, and Paul stated in Act 14:15-17 And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.
The Philistines believe that it was more than fitting and insulting to put the sacred Ark of the Lord in the temple of Dagon to be associated with their god. But our God will always be true to Himself because He is the Self Existing One! He is true to His own holiness! Hence Dagon had to bow before Him and lay prostrate! 1 Sam. 5:3-4 “And when they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth before the ark of the Lord. And they took Dagon, and set him in his place again. And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off upon the threshold: only the stump of Dagon was left to him.”
Saints it is so consoling to know that when we leave the place called Ebenezer “A PLACE WHERE THE LORD HAS HELPED US” He still shows Himself in wondrous power and glory. Since Israel would not act in defense of God’s truth, He had to act Himself. The lords of the Philistines had vanquished Israel; but the gods of the Philistines must fall prostrate before that ark, which had history of driving back the waters of Jordan. Please notice the divine triumph. A place of darkness and solitude in the house of Dagon where there was no eye to see, and no ear to hear! God acts in His own defense to represent the truth that Israel chose not to defend. For the word declared in Joh. 1:1-5 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.“ Hence Dagon fell, and in his fall proclaimed the honor of the God of Israel. The darkness during that moment only afforded an opportunity for Gods’ divine glory to shine with brilliancy. Again it proves that man extremity was God’s opportunity. Man’s failure made room for the faithfulness of the Lord. The battle for a season proved that the Philistines were stronger than Israel; but the Lord God was stronger than Dagon. GOLDEN NUGGET!
My brothers and sisters we should always bless the Lord for the full assurance of His faithfulness, for the word states the following; 2 Tim. 2:13 “If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. 2 Tim. 2:19 “The foundation of God stands sure, having this seal, the Lord knows them that are His, and let everyone that names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” Hence, in darkest times He will maintain His truth and raise up witness for Himself, like He did in the house of Dagon. Men and Women may depart from the principles of God, but His principles remain the same: His purity, His power, His heavenly virtue, are in no wise affected by the fickleness and inconsistency of faithless professors, because in the end ABSOLUTE truth will always triumph!
I reiterate, light and darkness cannot dwell together, therefore the Philistines could not make Dagon and the Lord dwell together, this was a blasphemous attempt! “What concord has Christ with Belial?” None! The standard of God can never be lowered so as to accommodate itself to the principles which govern the men of this world. All attempts to hold Jesus Christ in one hand and the world with the other hand is perpetual confusion, yet many make an effort to do such! How many are they in these last and evil days who seem to question how much of the world they can retain, without sacrificing the name and privileges of being a child of God! This is truly a deadly snare of Satan. It is bad enough for men and women to walk in the lawlessness and corruption of their own hearts; but to fuse evil with the holy name of Jesus Christ is the ultimate climax of guilt. GOLDEN NUGGET!
Please note in Jer. 7:3, 8-10 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel …. Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not, and come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?”) I reiterate that these are the characteristics of men and women in these last and evil days, many shall have “a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof.” But Apostle Paul reminds us “From such turn away“!
1 Sam. chapter 7 We began to see Israel’s happy restoration, in connection with the ministry of “the faithful priest Samuel” Israel had been allowed to mourn many days because of the absence of the ark; and during their affections began to go hard after the Lord. Please understand that we all have to go back to the place where God can help us in order to be restored in fellowship. Just like Jacob had to go back to Bethel (House of God) and leave the defilement of Shechem, because he and his family had become entangled in the meshes of idolatry. But he was called to “go up to Bethel” to stir up the dormant energies to quickened his conscience, so that he would be able to perceive the spiritual things of God! Hence he says to his household, “Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments.” Wow!, the very idea of going back to Bethel, where God had appeared to him, where God had HELPED him, and revived his soul! Hence it enabled Jacob to lead others also in fresh power. GOLDEN NUGGET!
And it is such with Jacob’s seed in this chapter. “And Samuel spake to all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return to the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts to the Lord, and serve Him only; and He will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” My brothers and sisters this is solemn admonition even to the professing Church today. We presently live in a day of form without power. Where a spirit of cold and non influential formalism has move upon the face of the Church. However, the attitude assumed by Israel in 1 Sam chapter 7 forms a perfect contrast to the scene in 1 Sam. chapter 4: “And Samuel said, Gather all Israel to Mizpeh, and I will pray for you to the Lord. And they gathered together to Mizpeh, and drew water, and poured it out before the Lord” (which was an expression of their weak, helpless condition) “and fasted on that day, and said there, We have sinned against the Lord.” This was real work, and we can say, God is here now. There is no confidence in a mere symbol or lifeless form; there is no empty pretension or vain assumption, no shout or baseless boasting; all is a deep and solemn reality. Their earnest cry, the water poured out, the fast, and the confession… glory! This shows the mighty change which had taken place in Israel’s moral condition.
They now take themselves to a faithful holy priest Samuel, and through him he intercedes to the Lord Himself. Notice Saints they don’t speak of fetching the ark. No; their words to Samuel are, 1 Sam. 7:8-10 “Cease not to cry to the Lord our God for us, that He will save us out of the hand of the Philistines. And Samuel took a sucking-lamb, and offered it for a burnt-offering wholly to the Lord; and Samuel cried to the Lord for Israel; and the Lord heard him. And as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel: but the LORD thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them; and they were smitten before Israel.“ Exo. 15:3 “The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name” It’s a fact that when His people need Him, and render faith, they can count on Him to be their present help in time of need. Whenever Israel truly turned to the Lord, He was ready to appear on their behalf; but only if could get all the glory!
The Apex is that Israel returned to the positional basis of their power, a place called Ebenezer, that’s right, a place noted Hitherto hath the LORD helped us. 1 Sam. 7:12 “Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us. My brothers and sisters let us keep the main thing the main thing in Jesus Christ, for it we don’t we will find ourselves in a place where the glory of God does not reside. Hence, I beseech you if this is your present spiritual state and situation “Please Leave ICADBOD and meet ME at EBENEZER” Have a “JESUS DAY”