“Ichabod” – The Glory is Departed
The times were hard for the people who called themselves the “Children of God.” Eli was judge of Israel and they had fought a battle near Ebenezer and 4,000 Israelites were killed in the battle. The Ark of the Covenant of the Lord was retrieved from Shiloh and Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas stayed with the ark.
A great shout went up in the camp of Israel. They were motivated by the presence of God and the Philistines were fearful when they heard the sounds of celebration, nevertheless, they refused to bow to the God who crushed the Egyptians. They fought again and 30,000 Israeli infantry died in the battle.
A soldier escaped from the conflict and ran back to share news with Eli. Eli was 98 years old and blind. He sat in a chair as the soldier approached. The news was devastating. Both Hophni and Phinihas had died and the Ark of the Covenant was taken away by the Philistines. The shock of this revelation caused Eli to fall backward from his chair. He struck his head, broke his neck and died on the spot.
Eli’s daughter-in-law, wife of Phinehas, was pregnant with a child as all of this was unfolding. When she heard of her husband’s death and that the Ark of the Covenant was lost she went into labor and delivered a male child. When they brought the child to her she didn’t regard it. She was dying and would have no future with the child. Her last words expressed grief regarding the state of Israel. “The glory is departed from Israel: for the ark of God is taken (1 Sam. 4:22) So, she named her newborn Ichabod which means, ‘the glory is departed.’
As a history teacher I have studied most of the documents written by the founding fathers. It is evident beyond dispute that they intended this country to be founded and to persevere as a Christian, God-fearing country. It is also without dispute that our country is spiraling downward into moral depravity and decay. We cannot continue to enjoy the blessings of God while we turn our back on him. It may not yet be time to replace “In God We Trust” with “Ichabod” on our federal currency but we must accept the reality of our backsliding. The hope is that the departed glory, like the Ark of the Covenant, will one day return in the form of a great revival.
Our fathers would be deeply disturbed to know:
• We’ve taken God out of the classrooms, the courthouse and our public gatherings.
• In 1973, the Supreme Court legalized the murder of unborn infants for any reason.
• The entertainment media mocks Christianity
• Some schools teach our second graders the acceptance of homosexuality and mutual masturbation to our Middle Schoolers
• Religion is prohibited in our educational institutions while pornography is available in our media centers
• Instead of riding to our rescue, the church rides off into the sunset hand in hand with a godless culture.
(the list is nearly infinite)
We are a morally bankrupt country. We are beginning to suffer the consequences of rejecting God. Unfortunately, many of us see a change in leadership as a solution to the problem. But the problem is not so much political as it is spiritual. A new president or a new majority party in Congress won’t reverse the consequences of our turning away from God. The only solution to this spiritual depravity in our culture is for us to call on the name of God, humble ourselves, confess our sin, pray and seek His face. But that’s not all, we will have to turn from our wicked ways and if we do that He will hear from heaven and he will forgive our sin and heal our land. (2 Chron. 7:14)