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The tragedy of the absence of God


Chidi Okoroafor

Key Verse: “1 Samuel 4:3b, “Then they said, “Let’s bring the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord from Shiloh. If we carry it into battle with us, it [a] will save us from our enemies.”

The battle between Israel and the Philistines is a good example of the tragedy of God’s absence. 1 Samuel Chapter 4 recorded two battles fought between Israel and the Philistines.

In the first battle, Israel lost to the Philistines, and 4,000 Israeli soldiers were killed. The elders of Israel were terrified by the defeat and they made inquiries about this great defeat. They thought it could be as a result of the fact that they didn’t go to the battlefield with the Ark that caused their defeat. They suggested the bringing of the Ark of Covenant to accompany them in the second battle against the Philistines, so that they could win the war.

They sent men to Shiloh to bring back the Ark of covenant. The Ark was brought back into the camp of Israel. When the people of Israel saw the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord coming into the camp, they shouted with great joy, so much so that the ground shook. The Philistines panicked when they learned that the Ark of God had entered into the Hebrew camp, but they decided to fight as never before for their lives.

In this second battle, the Philistines fought desperately, and Israel was defeated again. The slaughter was great; 30,000 Israelite soldiers died that day. The survivors turned and fled to their tents. The Ark of God was captured and taken away by the Philistines, and Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were killed.

One may be tempted to ask, of what value was the Ark since the Israelites were defeated again? Remember, they shouted for joy in enthusiasm that they will win the war but the contrary happened. One would naturally expect Israel to win the war since the Ark went with them. Instead, even with the Ark, the tragedies that befell them were much more than that which befell them without the ark. For example, without the Ark, they lost 4,000 soldiers and with the ark they lost 30,000 soldiers.

Then what was wrong? The answer is they went with an empty box without the presence of God. God was not there with the Ark and that was why the Philistines thrashed Israel so mercilessly.

The great noise of excitement was empty noise because God was not with them. There is nothing as magnificent or glorious as a child of God carrying the presence of God with them wherever they go. The secret of success, victory and unusual exploits, is in the fact that God’s presence is always with you.

You have lost so many battles and have been utterly defeated by the devil because you are not carrying the presence of God. The absence of God in any individual life, family, institution, government, etc. can lead to disaster. You may have been dispossessed of your inheritance because of the absence of God in your life just like the Philistines carted away the Ark of Covenant.

The Tragedies of the absence of God were:
The Israelites were defeated by the Philistines
The Israeli Soldiers were killed in their greatest numbers totaling 34,000.
The Ark was captured and carted away by the Philistines.
It led to the death of Eli, the priest and his two children, Hophni and Phinehas
It brought about the exit of God’s glory in Israel.
It is a calamity and a tragedy, when a Christian does not carry the presence of God. Moses knew the dangers of living a Christian life without the presence of God that was why he asked the Lord, “That Your Presence shall go with me”.
God’s manifest presence is the key to your undeniable breakthrough. It is impossible to operate in the supernatural without divine presence. In the presence of God, there is fullness of joy, but out of His presence, there is frustration, defeat, discouragement, sorrow, fear, sickness, sin, etc.
God is more interested in your relationship with Him than attending church services regularly. It is my prayer that we shall bring God back to our individual lives, homes, institutions, schools, governments and churches.

Today’s Nugget: Beware of tragedy of the absence of God.
Prayer: Revive Your Presence in my life.
Prayer line: Send text only to 09078154261.
Dr. Chidi Okoroafor, General Superintendent, Assemblies of God, Nigeria

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