In the opening chapters of 1 Samuel, we’re still in the trajectory of Judges where things are getting worse and worse, specifically illustrated by Eli and his sons, who are leading Israel toward a disregard for God and his law. At the same time, God is at work raising up a new judge/priest/prophet named Samuel. But the story takes a shocking turn in chapter 4 – a battle ensues between the Philistines and the Israelites, and the ark of God is captured. Chapter 4 ends with a gripping question – “Where is the glory?” God’s glory has departed from Israel and it appears that he has given up on his people. All hope is lost! But in chapters 5 and 6, God starts showing up.
Through his showdown with Dagon and the Philistines, God reclaims his own glory with no help from anyone else. He is a God who makes himself vulnerable in order to bring deliverance. We’ll bring this theme forward to Calvary, where God stepped into vulnerability to the point where we would look at the cross and ask “Where is the glory?” But in the darkness of the tomb, God was working toward deliverance.
Dave’s Main Points
- The Best of Times, the Worst of Times
- A Shocking Turn of Events
- The God of the Night
- What comes to mind when you hear the phrase, ‘the presence of The Lord?’
- What comes to mind when you hear the phrase ‘the glory of The Lord?’
- What are your methods for controlling God?
- Share a time in your spiritual journey in which you have wondered, ‘Where is God?’
- What questions creep into your mind when it seems that God is not there?
- Sometimes God doesn’t want to just save us, but he wants to save us from ourselves.
- Do you agree with the statement that sometimes God’s absence is his most gracious gift?
- Spend some time linking the glory of God with the heaviness of God.
- Read the essay The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis
- If you journal, recount the times in which God has acted in the night
- Listen to Deliver Us on Behold The Lamb of God CD by Andrew Peterson