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What's Your Pressure Posture?

1 Samuel 4:12-22
Pastor J.B.

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Hi GAMErs,

1 Samuel 4:18 (NIV)
18 When he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell backward off his chair by the side of the gate. His neck was broken and he died, for he was an old man and heavy. He had led Israel forty years.

On verses 14-18:  When I read about how Eli responded to the disheartening news he received (v14-18), I can't help but compare it to yesterday's passage and the way the Philistines responded to the disheartening news they received (v6-11). 

Both Eli and the Philistines faced similar situations:

- they both heard an uproar (the Philistines in v6, Eli in v14). 

- they both asked what all the commotion was about (the Philistines in v6, Eli in v14)

- they both received bad news (the Philistines in v6 learned that they were under attack by Israel, Eli in v14 learned that Israel had lost to the Philistines, his sons were killed and the ark of God was captured).

Yet their responses were totally different.  Eli fell backward while the Philistines pushed forward.

When Eli heard the bad news, he fell backward in fear, broke his neck and died.

When the Philistines heard the bad news, at first they too panicked.  They even said, "We're in trouble! Nothing like this has happened before.  Woe to us!" (v7-8).  But after that initial panic, the Philistines gathered themselves together and said, "Be strong, Philistines! Be men, or you will be subject to the Hebrews, as they have been to you. Be men, and fight!"   Instead of letting the pressure defeat them, the Philistines saw the pressure they faced as a call to be strong and courageous. They went on to score a decisive victory against the Israelites (v10-11)

What can we learn from this?  We all have what I call a "pressure posture".  In other words, whenever we are under pressure or receive bad news, we all naturally tend to respond in one of two ways: in fear like Eli or with faith like the Philistines. 

What is your pressure posture? 

We have a choice: we can either let the pressure break our necks like Eli, or let the pressure lead us to breakthrough like the Philistines. 

Are you facing a pressure-filled situation today?  When you receive bad news or when you are under great pressure, don't fall back in fear like Eli and let the pressure kill you.  Instead, like the Philistines, see the pressure as a call to be strong and courageous. Let the pressure push you forward and cause you to fight harder than you've ever fought before.

1 Samuel 4:13, 19, 21, 22 (NIV)
13 ...there was Eli sitting on his chair by the side of the road, watching, because his heart feared for the ark of God...
19 His daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant and near the time of delivery. When she heard the news that the ark of God had been captured and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she went into labor and gave birth, but was overcome by her labor pains...
21 She named the boy Ichabod, saying, "The glory has departed from Israel"--because of the capture of the ark of God and the deaths of her father-in-law and her husband.
22 She said, "The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured."

On verses 12-13, 19-22:  Notice that both the ark of God and Eli's sons had gone into battle with the Israelites against the Philistines.  Yet Eli's concern was more for the ark of God than it was for his sons Phinehas and Hophni.  The same could even be said of Phinehas' wife, who seemed more disheartened by the capture of the ark than the death of her husband, brother-in-law and father-in-law (v22).

Perhaps it's because both Eli and his daughter-in-law knew that Phinehas had acted wickedly and deserved to die, but the ark of God was a symbol of national significance and represented the presence of God.  Both Eli and Eli's daughter-in-law feared losing God's presence even more than they feared losing their son or husband. 

Indeed, the worst thing we could ever lose is God's presence.  But praise God for Jesus Christ, whose death and resurrection gave us permanent, eternal access to God's presence, and whose His promise for us is that He will never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6).  He will remain faithful, even when we are faithless.

Holy Spirit, change my pressure posture from one of fear to one of faith.  Whenever I face pressure or stress, whenever I receive bad news, may my pressure posture be one of going forward rather than falling backward.  Thank You that no matter how difficult things can get, You are always with me, faithful to the end.  In Jesus' name, AMEN.

In your prayer time today

1. Take time to worship God, be still in His presence and draw near to Him.  I encourage you to praise Him and pray to Him out loud today.

2. Ask the Holy Spirit for a breakthrough this coming week.  Just like the Philistines experienced a breakthrough from living in fear to living with courage, invite Holy Spirit to fill you.  Ask Him to work in whatever area of your life that requires a breakthrough.  Ask Him to reveal Himself to you as you worship in His presence. 

A song you can listen to:CLICK HERE
"Good, Good Father"

I've heard a thousand stories of what they think You're like
But I've heard the tender whispers of love in the dead of night
And You tell me that You're pleased
And that I'm never alone

You're a good, good father
It's who You are, it's who You are, it's who You are
And I'm loved by You
It's who I am, it's who I am, it's who I am

I've seen many searching for answers far and wide
But I know we're all searching
For answers only You provide
'Cause you know just what we need
Before we say a word

You are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways to us

Oh, it's love so undeniable
I, I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable
I, I can hardly think
As you call me deeper still
As you call me deeper still
As you call me deeper still
Into love, love, love

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