Eli’s Infidels

In 1 Samuel 4 the Israelites are at war with the invading Philistines. During the campaign Israel loses the battle and returns for the ark of the covenant. Eli, the priest sends the ark with his sons into battle. He stays behind and sits, awaiting news. When he hears that the battle was lost, his two children were killed and the Ark of the Covenant was captured, he falls off his chair and dies.

I wonder at this story and then think of our contemporary struggles with culture and see the very same history repeated. We are battling the infidel, the unbelieving that is, on many levels of culture in our communities. Our Christian heritage is being attacked by new well-armed giants all the time. But what should be our response? Do we regroup and try to use God to overpower the enemy, wield Him like the Israelites did the ark? The problem is that Eli’s two sons and the Israelites didn’t really know God, they didn’t pray, they just thought of him as a glorious rabbit’s foot. And their leader, Eli, just sat and watched.

Our fight against agnosticism in this world will not be won if those who know the Lord, those who are leaders are not spending their time leading and teaching the next generation to venerate the Lord God. We will send them to their death, our culture will be captured and our surprise of it all will kill us. Christianity needs leaders who train their children in the way they should go more than rail against a society that has gone its own way. Christianity must not sit on the sidelines, and ponder the loss of this country to unbelief. This passage is a warning to the old guard to train our next generation in true faith in God The issue here is the Philistine’s unbelief, the Israel’s ignorant belief and, and Eli’s disbelief. May we not allow our country’s unbelief to overrun our children’s poorly discipled and naive belief as we watch in disbelief. Let us equip our children to battle the ever present infidels.

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