以便以謝

〈撒母耳記上〉 7:12     撒母耳將一塊石頭立在米斯巴和善的中間,給石頭起名叫以便以謝,說:「到如今耶和華都幫助我們。」

閱讀經文:〈撒母耳記上〉 7:1-17

在〈士師記〉裡的最後一個士師是參孫,接下來的士師是以利,再來是撒母耳,撒母耳是最後的一位士師。參孫生前和非利士人單打獨鬥了廿年,做了以色列人的士師廿年。但是參孫死後,以色列人依然去拜迦南人的偶像。我們不知道以利做四十年士師(撒上4:18)時有何作為,只知道他放縱兩個兒子行惡,搶奪神的祭物,又和會幕前伺候的婦人苟合。有這樣的祭司,百姓也不想去會幕獻祭了,怎能敬拜神呢?因此情況就像〈士師記〉裡說的:「那時以色列中沒有王,各人任意而行。」當以色列人任意而行時,神就把他們交在仇敵手中,而此時的仇敵還是非利士人。

參孫死後,雖然非利士人元氣大傷,但是最怕的參孫已經死了,他們當然更加肆無忌憚了。因此在以利的時代,非利士人成為當時壓制以色列人的仇敵。經過約櫃一事,非利士人有點顧忌了,但還是虎視眈眈,想要找機會修理以色列人。約櫃留在基列耶琳的時間有廿年之久(英文是it was there twenty years. And all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord.)「過了二十年,以色列全家都傾向耶和華」,這句話會讓人誤會以為以色列人都歸向神,不拜偶像了,那麼撒母耳又何必叫他們除掉外邦的神?在新譯本裡譯為:「有二十年之久,以色列全家都痛悔尋求耶和華。」

這時撒母耳長大了,以利和他的兒子都死了,以色列全境的人都知道神揀選了撒母耳為先知、大祭司和士師。士師中同時擁有這三種身份的只有撒母耳。撒母耳開始執行任務,對以色列全家說,若想一心歸順耶和華,就要除掉外邦的神,包括巴力和亞斯她錄,如此神才會救他們脫離非利士人的手。現在世界上有很多人主張萬宗歸一,意即所有的宗教都是一樣的,所以一起敬拜就可以了。但是撒母耳說了一個很重要的原則,要歸向耶和華神,必須「一心歸順」,不可以三心兩意,又拜這個又拜那個,好像妻妾成群。

The God Who Searches for You

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Genesis 31:33-44.  Let’s go!

Genesis 31:33-34 (NIV)
33  So Laban went into Jacob’s tent and into Leah’s tent and into the tent of the two maidservants, but he found nothing. After he came out of Leah’s tent, he entered Rachel’s tent.
34  Now Rachel had taken the household gods and put them inside her camel’s saddle and was sitting on them. Laban searched through everything in the tent but found nothing.

On verses 33-34:  Laban painstakingly searches in the tents of his daughters and their maidservants for his household gods but is unable to find them.  Little did Laban know that his daughter Rachel, who had stolen the household gods, was hiding them inside her camel’s saddle and sitting on them.

What can we learn from this?  Here we find Laban frantically searching for his household gods and unable to find them.  But earlier the one true God was searching for Laban and found him, speaking to Laban in a dream (see v24).  That’s a major difference between the God of the Bible and the gods of many other faiths.  With many other faiths, philosophies and religions in the world, it’s about human beings searching for God.  But in the Bible, God searching for human beings.