His Glory, Our Concern - Truth For Life - March 25

She bowed and gave birth, for her pains came upon her. And about the time of her death … she named the child Ichabod, saying, “The glory has departed from Israel!” because the ark of God had been captured and because of her father-in-law and her husband.

1 Samuel 4:19-21

Do you ever see somebody in passing, perhaps on a bus or in a store, and find yourself struck by the thought that there’s a whole life wrapped up in that person—hopes, dreams, sadnesses, regrets? Phinehas’s wife—we don’t even know her name—is someone who may cause us to wonder, “What had her life been?”

Presumably, there would have been great joy and celebration at this woman’s wedding. After all, she was marrying a priest! As time went by, however, she likely became aware of her husband’s double standards: he fulfilled his priestly duties, but he also abused his role to sleep with other women, which was a matter of public knowledge (1 Samuel 2:22).

Now, heavily pregnant with his child, “she heard the news” (1 Samuel 4:19) that the Philistines had slain her husband and captured the ark of the Lord (v 11). Typically, you would think that the death of a spouse would head the list of concerns, with every other consideration in the world receding in comparison. But this was not the case for Phinehas’s wife. For this woman, the spiritual implications of the ark of God being captured far outweighed even the most distressing temporal concerns. Even the news that she had borne a son did not rally her. And so she named her child Ichabod, which simply means “no glory” or “Where is the glory?”

In all her pain, disappointment, and loss, somehow, deep inside, Phinehas’s wife had laid hold of something that even those closest to her had not grasped. She knew that God’s glory mattered more than Eli’s name, mattered more than Shiloh, and mattered more than victory in battle. As Dale Ralph Davis writes, “She taught more theology in her death than Phinehas had done in his whole life.”[1]

This woman must have lived in the presence of God. When her husband let her down and she was aware of the discrepancy between his public profession and his private reality, she must have run to the Lord, her “very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). Otherwise, concern over His glory would not have been her response.

What about you? Is God’s glory and presence your greatest concern? Does the advance of His cause and honor of His name matter more to you than anything? This way lies real freedom, for it means you always look forward to life in the very presence of God—that city where there is no temple, “for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light” (Revelation 21:22-23). In the details of your day, in the trials of life, and at the moment of your death, turn to God as your refuge and strong tower (Proverbs 18:10). Only then will you discover or remember that God’s glory truly is our greatest hope and joy.

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Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg, published by The Good Book Company, thegoodbook.com. Used by Truth For Life with permission. Copyright © 2021, The Good Book Company.


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