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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#1087. Why did the Lord bring defeat on us? (27/6/24)

Welcome to our summer series when our devotionals will be based on different texts of scripture that I’ve recently found inspirational. Today, we reflect on 1 Samuel 4:3. 

To watch this devotional follow the link below:

‘When the soldiers returned to camp, the elders of Israel asked, ‘Why did the Lord bring defeat on us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the Lord’s covenant from Shiloh, so that he may go with us and save us from the hand of our enemies.”’ (1 Samuel 4:3)

When things go wrong in our lives it’s common to ask why God allowed this? What have I done to offend God? Is God really with me? In this event, Israel are defeated by the Philistines in battle and they are bewildered. If we are God’s people, how could God’s enemies win? 

I want us to notice that God’s people do not actually ask God about their defeated condition. Rather, they ask each other! Committees that are not committed to seeking God are a disaster. We must all beware of the danger of planning committees that are set up to deal with church problems and decline that are not committed to praying and listening to God. 

Their response if presumptuous. They presume that if they simply take the ark into the battle they would win. The ark represented God’s presence among them and so surely this should do the trick. However, God will not lead an ungodly people to victory. God’s people were in sin and compromise. They were dishonouring God in their worship and now they want Him to overlook all that and lead them to victory. 

What the people don’t realise is that God is using the Philistines to discipline them and fulfil His prophetic word to cleanse them (See 1 Samuel 2:27-36). God is very interested in our faithfulness to Him. He is not content to leave us in our sin and compromise. We may find the way that God works bewildering at times. We may wonder why our churches are in the condition they are in. We may wonder why we may have to go through great difficulty. This is a big subject, but let’s rest in the truth that God is ‘Working all things together for good’ for us - He is working for our growth in all things. Added to this, when things are difficult, let’s not presume on God, let’s pray and seek Him regarding our hardships. 



1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News. 

2. Icebreaker

How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you? 

3. Worship together

Let’s begin our time together by lifting our eyes and hearts to worship our great God. Perhaps you have readings and songs that you would like to use together. Let’s be open to the gifts that the Spirit wants to give in order to encourage one another.

4. Study and pray together

Our message on Sunday was entitled, Don’t Settle for Second Best; the theme, from Exodus, was on how we are to prize the presence of God and not settle for second best in our lives. 

Please read Exodus 33:1-3, 15-16; 34:19 and discuss: 

  • What would you say is the main message and application of these readings?

  • Did God speak to you about anything specifically from Sunday’s message?

  • Why was Moses so keen that God’s presence rather than an ‘angel’ (messenger of God) go with them? 

  • In what ways can we ‘practice the presence of God’ in our lives? 

  • Take a moment  to watch the devotional on this message together by following the link below:

  • SIV - They needed God’s presence; why will the theme of today’s devotional ensure that we also are effective in God’s mission? 

  • SIV - Do we have any stories of how we have ‘Served, Invested, and inVited’ recently?

  • SIV - Spend some time together talking and praying about who and how you are seeking to bring your community to Jesus. 

  • Let’s pray together that, this week, we will have opportunities to SIV; and pray for anything else that's come out of our time in God’s Word.

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