Thursday, October 13, 2005
Ichabod: The Glory Has Left
Although this may be the case I will try my best to put this passage in perspective. The first question would be, “Why Ichabod?” Ichabod is the name of a child who is born at the end of chapter 4. Ichabod’s mother is Phinehas, one of Eli’s wicked sons, wife. It is at the end of chapter 4 that we find out that both Phinehas and Hophni have been killed. This should really come as no surprise. After all, God told Samuel that Eli’s family will be judged and the death of his two sons will be a sign of this. So the question still remains, “Why Ichabod?” We also find out that the Ark of the Covenant, which represents God and the Glory of God to the Israelites, was taken in to battle with the Philistines. To make a long story short, the ark was taken captive by the Philistines. Thus Ichabod, meaning literally NO GLORY, was born. Scripture tells us that “The Glory has departed Israel…”
Do you understand the breadth of that statement? It means that God or YHWH was taken captive! YHWH did not win the battle! As scripture says, the mighty God “…who struck the Egyptians (yes event the Egyptians) with all kinds of plagues in the wilderness…” was taken captive. God lost.
Think about that. Let the notion of that sink in.
This story of the Ark mirrors another famous Biblical story in which God loses. It is the story of Christ. I know what you’re thinking, “But Jesus didn’t lose. He had to die on the cross in order to be risen from the dead.” I agree with you. However, try as best as you can to put yourself in the position of the Israelites and even in the position of the disciples. None of them know the outcome. None of them know that the Glory will soon return. They are completely ‘in the dark.’
I had an opportunity to experience a very unique service while I was at the Emergent Conference in Nashville. The service was called Tenebret. (Forgive me if the spelling is wrong.) This particular service celebrated Holy Saturday. Meaning, it celebrates the day that Christ was dead or better put, the day that the Glory was gone. At the beginning there were many candles lit. As the service went along the candles were blown out. The light of God was leaving. All of the candles were blown out, save one. The remaining candle was called the prophecy candle. Trust me it wasn’t very bright. There was not much light to see by.
Your piece gave me something to think about today. I see it like this. The vessel (ark of the covenant) was taken into captivity, but God did not lose. He never loses. He isn't capable of "losing". Today's parallel is that we are the vessel, the place where God dwells in the person of His Holy Spirit, like the ark of the covenant was in Israel's day. It is very possible, even likely, that on occasion we are "captured" by Satan and his minions, and dragged into a sinful situation. A situation (trap or snare) that we fall into. But that doesn't mean that God has lost. He doesn't live in a box. It means that the vessel was stolen away for a time.
We sin. God grieves because of our sin, but we are forever held in the palm of His hand, and though it may appear to an outside observer that the vessel has been lost in the battle, we are assured that the war will be won because we are forever kept in His love, if we have truly accepted him as the Savior and LORD of our life.
Today, God continues to watch over his chosen people Israel. Though they are in unbelief and do not recognize Jesus for who he is, He has most certainly not lost. That single candle of prophecy still burns for Israel. They will believe. They will return to God of their fathers. The Glory of the LORD will again be evident in the land of promise.