1 Samuel 4:12-22
After the Philistines captured the Ark, a Benjaminite ran back to Shiloh to bring the news. Eli, the chief priest, was waiting outside the town concerned for the Ark. The messenger entered the city and told all, the city cried out in sadness. Eli wanted to know what was going on so the messenger came and told him. When Eli heard that not only were his sons dead but the Ark was lost, he fell off his bench, broke his neck and died!
Phinehas’ wife was expecting a baby and when she heard that her husband was dead and the Ark was gone, she gave birth to a son. She named him Ichabod, which means “where is the glory?” Now I could understand a name that meant “sadness” or “pain” but “where is the glory?” Why did she choose that? Because, although I’m sure she was sad about the deaths, she knew that the Ark being captured represented God’s presence leaving His people. She, like Eli, understood that losing someone you love is sad, but having God leave you is the worst thing ever! The only reason the Philistines were able to take the Ark was because God let them. God was showing his people that because they had turned their backs on Him, He wasn’t protecting them anymore. Phinehas’ wife showed she understood this by naming her son “Ichabod,” thus acknowledging God’s glory left them.
We need to understand that, while many things are sad, nothing is worse than being separated from God. Our sin separates us from God and we need to ask His forgiveness of those sins so that we are never permanently separated from God.
You will need a pile of blocks (any kind will do) and something to represent God (cross, lamp, lion, anything will work). Put “God” across from your child and start building a wall of sins between them. Talk about how every lie and mean word adds to the wall. Show your child that God isn’t going away but sins are keeping us from him. Talk about when we ask God to forgive us, He can then take away the wall and we can get to Him because of what Jesus did for us. Talk about how if we never ask Him to take down the wall, when we die we have to go to hell instead of crossing over to God in heaven. Offer to pray with your child about their sins.