THE SERVANT GENERAL
1 Samuel 4:1-11
The Israelites were told by God to take the land, and they
engaged in multiple battles in order to do so. The people
of God today are told to retake the land being occupied by
the enemy, and we need to engage in multiple spiritual battles
to do so.
we are to take the land, we need to become holy warriors,
that is, soldiers engaged in the war who are holy instruments
of a holy God. If we are holy warriors, then we have the victory.
If not, we can and will be defeated.
is what happened to Israel in one of its battles with the
Philistines. “After a fierce struggle Israel was defeated
by the Philistines” (1 Sm 4:2b). The elders of Israel
could not understand why they were defeated. So they tried
again, this time bringing the ark of the covenant. The presence
of the ark energized the Israelites and struck fear in the
hearts of the Philistines. But again, “the Philistines
fought and Israel was defeated” (1 Sm 4:10a). In fact,
“the ark of God was captured” (1 Sm 4:11a).
did this happen? Prior to this, we read about the wickedness
of the sons of Eli the priest. Now in this battle “the
two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, accompanied the ark
of God.” (1 Sm 4:4b). So the army of Israel was led
by unholy warriors. The consequence of that was defeat.
In Psalm 44, Israel also laments that they had past victories
and defeated their enemies, “but now you have rejected
and disgraced us; you do not march out with our armies. You
make us retreat before the foe” (Ps 44:10-11a). Again,
the Israelites did not know why they suffered defeats. They
claimed to be faithful to God. “All this has come upon
us, though we have not forgotten you, nor been disloyal to
your covenant.” (Ps 44:18).
this not also be the case with us at times? We love and serve
God, we try to do His will, we live as covenanted members
of MFC, but we suffer reverses in the Christian life and ministry.
We wonder where is the victory. Well, we must examine well
if we indeed truly are holy warriors. Yes we try to live out
our covenant in MFC. Yes we give of ourselves and our resources
with which to do our mission. But to what extent? How much
are we growing in holiness? Since we are to be holy as God
is holy, we are still a long way off, and we need to strive
might we fall short, but not recognize that we are missing
We do not pray without ceasing. We are not 24/7 for Jesus.
We do not immerse ourselves in the word of God. So how can
we fully know what is God’s will, by which we can
build our house on rock
We do not give our tithe and so are thieves.
We have strife and animosities with our brethren within
We fail in full appreciation of what it means to be a servant
do not speak prophetically.
is continuing sin in our lives, including unconfessed works
of the flesh such as hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts
of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions
So whenever we suffer defeat in spiritual war, we need to
examine ourselves. The goal is to be holy, to be founded on
the Rock that is Christ. We need to be convicted of our sin.
We need to be like the leper, who “came to (Jesus) and
kneeling down begged him and said, ‘If you wish, you
can make me clean.’” (Mk 1:40). And know this:
Jesus does want us to be clean, to be holy.
There is one more aspect why we are not as victorious in this
spiritual war as God intends us to be. MFC is an evangelistic
and missionary community. We exist to evangelize. In fact,
the Church of which we are a part is a missionary Church.
We are in the army of Mary, but many who should be soldiers
are not fully engaged in the war. There are those who are
just coasting along. The spirit of evangelization has not
seeped into their very being.Paul had said woe to him if he
does not preach the gospel. It is the same with us. We are
called to be evangelizers, and if we do not live out this
call, if we are not zealous for this call, then we will experience
woes, including defeat in battles.
Consider the leper who was cured by Jesus. Jesus told him,
“See that you tell no one anything” (Mk 1:44a).
This was because his time had not yet come. So did the leper
obey? No! How could he contain the miraculous news of what
had happened to him just to himself? So what did he do? “The
man went away and began to publicize the whole matter.”
(Mk 1:45a). He was told not to tell others, but he did so.
As to us, we are told to tell others, but we do not do so.
And so our army suffers defeats and have great difficulty
in taking the land.
if we evangelize as holy warriors? Then Jesus will be known
and loved. Just as then, asit should be today, “people
kept coming to him from everywhere.” (Mk 1:45d).