Text: 1 Samuel 4:1-10
Memory verse:
”Take away from Me the noise of your songs, For I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments.“
‭‭Amos‬ ‭5‬:‭23‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Sin in the camp can make shouts of joy to be ineffective and powerless.
In our text today, after the Philistines had defeated Israel in battle, leaving behind four thousand dead, the men of Israel retreated to their camp to consult the elders on why they lost. The Israelites had gone into idolatry and sinned against God and they didn’t repent and forsake this sin until about twenty years later when Samuel charged them. ”…So the Israelites got rid of their images of Baal and Ashtoreth and worshiped only the Lord.“ ‭‭(1 Sam‬ ‭7‬:‭3‬-‭4‬‬‬).
In this case, rather than consulting prophet Samuel, whose “word came to all Israel”, they consulted the elders (1 Sam 4:1).
These elders recognized that they were defeated because God was not with them but rather than repenting, removing the idols from their midst and asking for directions from the Lord, they counseled that the Ark be brought from Shiloh (1 Sam 4:3). The sons of Eli who were under God’s judgment also carried the Ark (1 Sam 2:34; 4:4).. The Ark symbolized the presence and power of God. They recognized the symbol more than the actual presence; the object more than the God who was symbolized by the object! Though they knew that victory or defeat depended on God’s presence yet they were not bothered about restoring His presence in their midst, which they had lost through sin but focused on the object, making the Ark like a good luck charm!
They focused on the shadow and missed the greater truth, which the shadow represented.
Thus, the people welcomed the Ark into their camp with great and loud shouts of joy such that the earth shook and the Philistines at two miles away heard it and feared! They shouted at the presence of a box and not at God’s presence! Their shouts became a great noise and unacceptable to God. ”Take away from Me the noise of your songs, For I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments.“ ‭‭(Amos‬ ‭5‬:‭23‬). They attempted to manipulate God to serve their own purpose. Their shouts of joy became the shouts of sorrow as they lost about thirty thousand men, including the two sons of Eli in the battle!
Friends, don’t carry around the Bible and the Cross, the object of His presence, but despise the actual presence! Don’t shout to manipulate God to achieve your goals but have no respect for His presence and His honour! May you not shout in vain, in Jesus’ name.

Prayer points
1. Father, let me never raise the object of Your presence more than Your presence in my life, in Jesus’ name.
2. Father, help me to live in righteousness lest my shout be mere noise to You, in Jesus’ name.

Today’s declarations
1. I don’t attempt to manipulate God to do my bidding through shouts.
2. Loud shouts of joy made in faith, understanding, in righteousness and in His presence brings down God’s power.