Faith Baptist Church | Wichita Falls

God In A Box

EVERY CHRISTIAN IS EITHER MOVING CLOSER TO OR DRIFTING AWAY FROM GOD! Either intentionally moving toward deeper relationship with God, “propelled” by the Holy Spirit, or drifting away from Him. The entire NT book of Hebrews warns us against drifting. I Samuel shows us Eli and his sons, who drift further and further from God, in contrast to Samuel and his parents, who are pursuing relationship and God’s word, responding by faith and obedience. In I Samuel 4 we see the devastating consequences for both Eli and his sons of drifting into apostasy, as well as the consequences for the nation Israel.

God In A Box

1 Samuel 4:1-22

Pew Bible Page 144

Textual Study

Verses 1-11: Defeat of Israel

The “Philistines” (Hebrew pelesheth meaning migrants) would remain enemies of Israel even up to the Roman Empire, who after defeating the Jewish uprising of AD 70 renamed the area ____________________________ (Latin for Philistine) in honor of the Philistine occupants.

The Ark of the Covenant was the visible sign of the holy ________________ of ____________ whose throne is in heaven.  Jeremiah 3:16-17

After an initial defeat, the elders of Israel decided to take the Ark into their battle, trusting in the Ark of the Lord rather than the word of the Lord.

They were massacred and the warriors “fled to their tents,” meaning not simply to retreat but to abandon _____________________ service altogether.

Verses 12-18: Death of Eli

A messenger, with torn clothes and dirt on his head, ran nearly 20 miles to Shiloh.   His actions were a sign of deep grief.

The syntax, subjects, clauses and objects in these verses create suspense and expectation in      the reader’s mind.

Israel is defeated, Eli’s sons are killed, and the Ark is taken by the Philistines.  This news about __________  ___________ caused Eli to fall backward off his seat, break his neck, and die. 

Verses 19-22: Birth of Ichabod

Hearing this news, Eli’s daughter-in-law died giving birth to a son she named Ichabod, meaning

 “_______________ is ______________?”.  It is easy to see the contrast between his birth and that of Samuel through Hannah.

God is not confined to a box or man’s religious affiliations.   He will demonstrate His glory in the land of Philistia.


We must guard against slowly __________________________ from the relationship begun with salvation by trust and obedience.

We must guard against boxing God inside His ____________ and focus on His relationship, His ____________, and our faith and _______________________.

Read More