The other day while riding my bike along the river edge, I noticed this chair. There were no houses near by, someone had to bring this chair and purposely set it here by the river bank.
I noticed that the word chair is mentioned only 4 time in the bible. Interestingly 3 of the 4 times the chair belonged to a priest named Eli. He is sitting on a chiar when Hannah the mother of Samuel cries out to God that he would give her a child. Eli sees her lips moving and assumes she is drunk. Hannah makes a vow to God that if He will give her a son, she will dedicate him to the Lord's service for his life.
Which she does follow through and do. Little Samuel goes off to live at the Lord's house at a very young age. Probably around 3-5 years old depending on how long it took for his mother to ween him.
Chairs are mentioned two more times with Eli sitting in it. Both are part of the story of how he hears that his sons have died in battle and the arc of the Lord has been captured by the Philistine bad guys. He is very old, 98 and when he receives the news he falls backwards in the chair breaks his neck and dies. It was a bad day. His daughter in law goes into labor at the news and dies. With her dying breath she names the poor child Ichabod, which means “The glory has departed from Israel”. You can read the story in 1 Samuel 4:12-21.
The other mention of the word chair is about a couple who makes room in their home for the traveling prophet to have a place to stay.
2 Kings 4:9-11 (NIV1984) 9 She said to her husband, “I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God. 10 Let’s make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us.”11 One day when Elisha came, he went up to his room and lay down there.
God blesses her for her kindness to Elijah. The prophet wonders what he might do to re-pay the kindness. She and her husband are already fairly well off and have no pressing material needs. They do however long for a child. God grants them that child.
God does not forget the kindness that we show his servants.
Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.”
Interestingly two of the verses about chairs go along with stories of two barren women who wanted a child and who were seeking God. The other two a woman names her new born Ichabod. Its too late for me to come up with some profound thought regarding those similarities. Perhaps God will show you something and you'll leave a comment. I am going to leave my chair at my desk and go to bed.
Dear Lord, I pray you will help us find those quiet moments during this day to enjoy your presence. Be with us in the not so quiet moments as well. Help us to become aware of your presence with us as we journey through this day. Help us to show your love, grace and hospitality to others.