Life-Study of 1 & 2 Samuelby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In reading the Bible we need to have a clear view of God's economy and understand everything in the Bible in relation to God's economy. Why did God create the universe? Why did God create man and choose the people of Israel? God did these things for His economy. As we come now to Samuel's relationship with the stale and waning Aaronic priesthood described in 4:17:2, we need to consider the events recorded here in the light of God's economy. It is important for us to see that Israel became degraded because they had no concern for God's economy, for His move on earth, and for His kingdom.
Samuel observed the misfortune of the ark of God under the superstition of the degraded and rotten Aaronic priesthood. As Samuel observed all these things, he must have received a deep impression, and these things became an education to him.
The ark of God was usurped by the elders of the people of Israel, who were degraded from the line of God's economy (4:1-8). The elders usurped the ark in their superstition for their fighting against the Philistines. Because the children of Israel had been defeated by the Philistines, the elders of Israel proposed that the people take the ark of God from the tabernacle in Shiloh into battle with them. The elders said, "Let us take unto us the ark of the covenant of Jehovah from Shiloh that it may be in our midst, and thus save us from the hand of our enemies" (v. 3b). When the ark came into the camp, the people were glad and "all Israel shouted with a great shout" (v. 5). They trusted in the system ordained by God, but they did not trust in God directly. They should have repented to God of their failure and inquired of Him as to what He wanted them to do. Before bringing the ark of God out of the tabernacle, they should have checked with God as Joshua did at Jericho (Josh. 6:2-4). The elders knew the history of Jericho, but because they had become degraded, not having any heart for God's desire or His eternal economy, their situation was absolutely different.
The ark was a type of Christ as the embodiment of God. It also signified Christ as the presence of the Triune God to be with His people for the carrying out of His economy to establish His kingdom on earth. To bring out the ark was just to bring out the presence of God. When the children of Israel began to move with the ark from Mount Sinai, Moses offered a prayer to God, saying, "Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered" (Num. 10:35). The ark took the lead to travel onward. The move of the ark was a picture of God's move on the earth.
In 1 Samuel 4 the elders of Israel were actually usurping God. At that time, God did not intend to move. The children of Israel had no thought of or concern for God's economy, and their bringing out the ark indicated that they were usurping God for their safety, peace, rest, and profit. They were usurping God, even forcing Him, to go out with them.
Today many Christians usurp God by praying for their prosperity, health, or family without any consideration of God's economy. When we ask God for His healing, we must be fully related to His economy. If you are ill, you should not pray for healing in the way of usurping God. On the contrary, from the depths of your spirit you should say, "Lord, I am not here on earth for my health, my prosperity, my children, or my work. I am here for Your economy. Do You still want me to live on earth for Your economy? I have seen Your economy, I realize that You need Nazarites, and I have a heart to be a Nazarite for You. As one who has been born of God and who has the life and nature of God, I ask You what is on Your heart concerning me." If God intends that you continue living on earth for His economy, you will be healed, either through a physician or through some other way. The point here is that, instead of usurping God, we must pray, live, and be persons according to God's heart and for His economy.
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