12 Now a man of Benjamin ran from the battle line and came to Shiloh the same day with his clothes torn and [d]dust on his head. 13 When he came, behold, Eli was sitting on his seat [e]by the road eagerly watching, because his heart was trembling for the ark of God. So the man came to tell it in the city, and all the city cried out. 14 When Eli heard the noise of the outcry, he said, “What does the noise of this commotion mean?” Then the man came hurriedly and told Eli. 15 Now Eli was ninety-eight years old, and his eyes were set so that he could not see. 16 The man said to Eli, “I am the one who came from the battle line. Indeed, I escaped from the battle line today.” And he said, “How did things go, my son?” 17 Then the one who brought the news replied, “Israel has fled before the Philistines and there has also been a great slaughter among the people, and your two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been taken.” 18 When he mentioned the ark of God, [f]Eli fell off the seat backward beside the gate, and his neck was broken and he died, for [g]he was old and heavy. Thus he judged Israel forty years.
19 Now his daughter-in-law, Phinehas’s wife, was pregnant and about to give birth; and when she heard the news that the ark of God was taken and that her father-in-law and her husband had died, she kneeled down and gave birth, for her pains came upon her. 20 And about the time of her death the women who stood by her said to her, “Do not be afraid, for you have given birth to a son.” But she did not answer or pay attention. 21 And she called the boy [h]Ichabod, saying, “The glory has departed from Israel,” because the ark of God was taken and because of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 She said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God was taken.”
To be fair, losing the ark was a big deal, for it was where God said His glory would rest, and it was where God met with the priest each year. Without the ark, they feared God had deserted them.
But it was not God who had done the deserting, but the Israelites. They strayed from His commands, and took His ark to use as a lucky token, and now tragedy had struck in so many ways.
Now, that’s not to say we will always see such immediate response to disobeying God. Unfortunately, many who despise God seem to have everything going for them, at least on the surface. So why this time?
Because God disciplines those He loves, and those who are His children. Plain and simple, if you’re disobeying God and not seeing trouble, you’re on a fast and slippery slope. So be glad when God disciplines you and brings trouble your way to help you grow to be more like Jesus. And of course give thanks in the trouble AND the good times (because those will come too).