April 23
1 Samuel 4:1-11

What a shame!

During the night, the Lord had told Samuel that He was going to do something terrible to the nation of Israel because the people had turned away from Him.

Not long after that, the Philistines gathered for war against the Israelites and defeated them. When the survivors got back to camp the leaders of Israel said, “Why did the Lord let us be defeated? Let us fetch the Covenant Box and carry it into battle with us. Then the Lord will be right there with us and He will save us.”

When the Covenant Box arrived, the Israelites shouted so loudly that the Philistines were afraid. So the Philistines fought even harder than before and defeated the Israelites again, this time killing thousands more and capturing the Covenant Box.

How do people dishonor the name of the Lord?

Have you ever felt embarrassed for God’s Kingdom when Christians do things that are shameful and wrong?

The Israelites had forsaken God. They did not rely on Him or ask Him about important decisions anymore. So when they were faced with the enemy, they fought in their own strength—and lost! God was wanting to show His glory through His people, as He had done in the past. Now the Israelites were doing their own thing. They had taken the holy Covenant Box—which was not supposed to be moved—and put it on the battlefield like a good-luck charm.

Doing something that keeps people from seeing God's power, dishonors His name. Yet God does not need to prove His power and glory to anyone. He also will not change His standard of holiness to save His people from embarrassment or defeat, or to defend His name.

The Lord’s name will always be above all other names. That is why we must be careful not to dishonor His holy name by calling ourselves Christians and living in a way that is no different to that of unbelievers.

Verse for today

Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 2 Peter 2:2