What does it say? The Philistines defeated the Israelites at the Battle of Ebenezer and captured the ark of the covenant. Eli and his sons died as God had foretold.
What does it mean? There was no king in these days, but God led His people through prophets, priests, and elders. The center of Israel during that time was in a town called Shiloh. This was the place where the tabernacle stood and where the ark of the covenant was kept. Although God is everywhere, His presence was seen in a special way just above the ark. When the Philistines seemed to be winning the Battle of Ebenezer, the elders of Israel hatched a plan to bring the ark to the battlefield; but this was not the Lord’s plan, so He didn’t bless it. God allowed Israel to lose the battle and the ark.
How should I respond? Everyone makes plans. This passage teaches us to call upon the Lord in prayer before and during the making of our own plans. What is the next big thing you’re planning? Have you prayed about it? There are three ways you can hear God’s answer. First, make sure your plans are in line with what the Bible teaches. Second, ask Him to give you a sense of peace about the plans. Third, share your plans with godly Christian friends and ask them for guidance. Get into the habit of asking God what His plan is rather than simply asking Him to bless yours.