Wondering what God told Samuel in chapter 3? Check it out:
11 And the LORD said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle. 12 At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end. 13 For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons made themselves contemptible, and he failed to restrain them. 14 Therefore, I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’ ” 1 Samuel 3 (NIV)
So in chapter 4, we see God carrying out his judgment upon Israel. You see, back in chapter 2 Samuel’s sons dishonored God and took advantage of their position in leadership and stealing from God and taking advantage of women at the temple. Look at the devastation their disobedience caused:
Now the Israelites went out to fight against the Philistines. The Israelites camped at Ebenezer, and the Philistines at Aphek. 2 The Philistines deployed their forces to meet Israel, and as the battle spread, Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who killed about four thousand of them on the battlefield.
And, later in the chapter:
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.
Eli’s sons were killed. The ark of God captured by the enemy.
What a sobering reminder of the consequences of disobedience to God’s commands.
Lord, keep me from temptation to do things my own way today. I long to follow You with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.