By Roy Burner (Minister of the Gospel)
Departure of glory was the notion which prompted a child to be named Ichabod (meaning inglorious). There was a sequence of events leading up to that name. When any nation flirts with God's Word; despite warnings for having done so, it can bring the question of why the abiding presence of God is no longer experienced as before!
Abraham Lincoln addressed such in saying: We have forgotten God! We have forgotten the gracious hand that preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us!
There was a time of division in a nation that had withdrawn from the very source of its birth as "One Nation Under God." No longer looking to the source of its strength! Abraham Lincoln stated: We have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these things were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.
Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made use. The World is experiencing chaos and destruction today; has the departure of glory, formerly highly regarded, allowed such a nation to fall into the mold of what President Lincoln stated: An inability to recognize one's true source of strength and deliverance?
Scripture reveals the beginning of the sequences of events that prompted a child to be named Ichabod: Now Eli (the High Priest of Israel) was very old, and heard all that his sons did to all Israel: And how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation (1 Samuel 2:22).
A Bible commentary noted: Eli, a man in his 90's at the time, was revealing his incapacity to discharge his office; which gave his sons (priests) opportunity of being wicked without reproof. His sons, besides what the law allowed, demanded raw flesh to roast before being offered to the Lord; defying God's instructions of sacrifice, with other impieties as well.
A man of God came to Eli, and said to him, thus saith the Lord: Wherefore kick you at my sacrifice and at my offering, which I have committed in my habitation; and honor your sons above me, to make themselves fat with the chief (or best) of all the offerings of Israel my people (1 Samuel 2:29)?
Behold, the days come, that I will cut off your arm (or strength), and arm of your father's house, that there shall not be an old man in your house (1 Samuel 2:31). And this shall be a sign to you, that shall come upon your two sons, in one day shall they die both of them (1 Samuel 2:34). This prophetic denunciation declared that the family of Eli, High Priest status, would be removed.
Departure of glory, once held, should be a devastation to any soul who has experienced such! I have always been amazed at Eli's response; when the prophet Samuel told Eli the consequences of rejecting God's warning.
Scripture reveals: And Samuel told him everything, and hid nothing from him. And he (or Eli) said, It is the Lord; let him do what seems him good (1 Samuel 3:18). Later the fulfillment of God's warning would be swift in that Eli, and his two sons, would die in the same day cutting off the priesthood of that family as foretold! Had Eli taken heed to God's warning; rather than mere acceptance; and his sons not played the harlot, things would have been vastly different!
Has the departure of glory been noticeable to former godly nations? Have nations that once adhered to God's Word now allowed a divorcement from His Word, by allowing ungodliness to exist; supportive of such through laws and rulings instituted to enhance and accommodate? Has pollution come into the picture as entertainment of ungodly ways become more focused on than the Word of God which condemns such?
Has once godly leadership become feeble as that of Eli, rather than standing firm in resolve towards the enhancement of God's Word? Has the fleshly side of man become more prominent than spiritual? Has the departure of glory, once held, become noticeable; or is it invisible because a new generation of believers that has not been instructed of the godly ways of the past, or have rejected such?
Scripture reveals how a new foundation was laid towards the rebuilding of the temple in the prophet Ezra's day: And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites with cymbals, to praise the Lord, after the ordinance of David king of Israel (Ezra 3:10).
But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house (the temple of Solomon), when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy: so that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people: for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard far off (Ezra 3:12-13).
A Bible commentary noted: It had been 50 years since the first temple had been destroyed and many of the older men (ancient men) who had seen the earlier buildings wept now because of the sorrowful contrast in size and splendor.
The prophet Haggai addressed this in saying: Who is left among you that saw this house (or temple) in her first glory? And how do you see it now? Is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing (Haggai 2:3)? Departure of glory of the first temple was noted: Although the builders of the second temple prayed for the shekinah glory to return, there is no record that it ever did.
Scripture reveals: And his (or Eli's) daughter-in-law, Phinehas' wife, was with child, near to be delivered: and when she heard the tidings that the ark of God was taken, and that her father-in-law and husband were dead, she bowed herself and travailed (or gave birth); for her pains came upon her (1 Samuel 4:19).
A Bible commentary noted: Early birth could have been attributed to the stressful news brought to her concerning the taking of the ark of God by the Philistines, the death of her father-in-law; who fell over backward breaking his neck after hearing the news of the taking of the ark and the death of his two sons in battle; one of which was her husband. Upon hearing that news she immediately went into labor.
Scripture reveals: And about the time of her death, the women that stood by her said, Fear not; for you have borne a son. But she answered not, neither did she regard (or pay attention) to it (1 Samuel 4:20). The news that she had brought forth a man child would normally have been a matter of great joy but the departure of glory; the taking of the ark, outweighed any other news at that moment.
The ark of God represented God's presence being with Israel. When the Philistines slew about 4,000 men of Israel in battle, the Israelites sent to Shiloh, to bring the ark of God, that its presence may save the day with the two sons of Eli being present with the ark.
Still the battle was lost, Eli's two sons slain, the ark of God taken, and there fell of Israel 30,000 footmen. Scripture reveals: God delivered his strength (the Ark) into captivity, and his glory into the enemy's hand (Psalm 78:61). Had Israel not forsaken God, the presence of the Ark would have shown His strength; rather than departure of glory becoming a reality!
Scripture reveals: And she (Phinehas' wife), named the child Ichabod (meaning inglorious), saying, The glory is departed from Israel: because the ark of God is taken, and because of her father-in-law (the High Priest of Israel) and her husband (1 Samuel 4:21).
A Bible commentary noted: Some render "where is the glory?" But it signifies no glory (departure of glory), for with her husband being dead she named the child Ichabod (or inglorious). Saying, the glory is departed from Israel, meant: The God of glory, or the glorious Lord, had departed from Israel; the ark, the symbol of His presence, taken from them, and carried away by the enemy. Phinehas' wife named her child Ichabod solely because ark of God was taken
It must have been a devastating sight as the Israelites watched the ark of God being taken away by its enemy! They had placed their hope, and dependence, on its presence, to turn the tide of the battle, but with their irreverence towards God, forsaking His Word, instead they received His judgment. Israel would not have lost the battle, a departure of glory, had they remained true to God!
Will once godly nations not see such a happening; if they continue walking away from God and His Word? Ungodliness is being flaunted before the eyes of all in this electronic age we live in. The morality of the past has dipped to a low that exceeds Sodom and Gomorrah. The ungodly openly flaunting their ungodliness with pride; showing disdain towards any who oppose their ways!
When any nation, or individual, flirts with God there is a price to pay; unless repentance comes into the forefront. As promised judgment fell on Eli's household, and Israel of old (a departure of glory), it is also promised towards the ungodly who feel they have a free reign to disregard what is condemned in God's Word. Scripture reveals: For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold (or suppress) the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18)
Whereby the world that was (in Noah's day), being overflowed with water perished: but the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against (or until) the day of judgment and perdition (or destruction of ungodly men (1 Peter 3:7).
Departure of glory will be readily identified in that day; for there will be no glory in the sinfulness of man, God's Word being flaunted, and open rebellion readily displayed!
Scripture reveals: That the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in all holy conversation (or conduct) and godliness (2 Peter 3:10-11).
A promise to a believer in Christ: Nevertheless we, according to his promise look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness (2 Peter 3:13). Therefore, seeing you know these things beforehand, beware lest you also, being led away from the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:17-18).
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