After Eli fell back and died upon hearing of his son’s deaths, Eli’s daugher-in-law, Phinehas’ wife, went into labor and delivered their child. The women who stood by her congratulated her on having a son, but she did not answer them. She named the child Ichabod, which means, “The Glory of the Lord has departed.” The Ark of the Covenant had been captured.
Meanwhile, the Philistines took the Ark to Ashdod, and brought it into the house of Dagon and set it by their idol of Dagon. When they came back in the morning, Dagon had fallen on his face. They set the idol back up. When they came back the next morning, it had fallen on its face again, but this time the head and both palms of its hands were broken off on the threshold. Only the torso was left. The Philistines were overwhelmed. At the same time, God’s hand was heavy on the people of Ashdod, and they all had tumors. They decided that the Ark should not stay among them. They decided to take the Ark to Gath, but then Gath was afflicted by tumors as well. Then they sent the Ark of God to Ekron, but the Ekronites cried out for it to be taken away. Then Philistia decided to send the ark to Israel. And God struck Ekron as well.
It is important to see the power of God at work in all of this. Although Israel felt the loss of God’s presence once the Ark was taken, His presence still reigned supreme in Philistia. So, when it does not seem that God is near, know that His presence is still real and strong. No matter what you face, God is still the Lord over the Earth, and He is the God of your enemies as well. While He may not be their Savior, he is their Lord. So, serve the Lord with gladness, and believe, even when it seems the word Ichabod is more real.