Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord here from Shiloh, that it may come among us and save us from the power of our enemies. - 1 Samuel 4:3 ESV
In preparation for a series on the life of David at our church, I was studying 1 and 2 Samuel, and a story in 1 Samuel caught my eye. The Israelites went out to battle their long-time enemy, the Philistines. They lost the first skirmish, and about 4,000 soldiers were killed. When the Israelites returned to camp that night, they were very discouraged. What was their solution? Did they cry out to God in prayer? Did they seek God’s guidance? No! They sent for the ark of the covenant. Look at what they said in verse 4:3, “Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord here from Shiloh, that it may come among us and save us from the power of our enemies.”
In other words, “Why did we lose? Go get the ark! Maybe that’ll help!” The ark of the covenant was a gold-covered wooden box that God had told the Israelites to make; it contained the Ten Commandments. No doubt the ark was special and filled with deep meaning. But it was just a religious symbol, pointing to God.
Did the ark help? How did the next battle go? Verses 10-11 tell us: “So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and they fled, every man to his home. And there was a very great slaughter, for thirty thousand foot soldiers of Israel fell. And the ark of God was captured.” This story is a sober warning for us.
In times of trouble, do we turn to other things instead of turning to God? Do we read more? Go to church more? Give more? Do we turn to our money or friends? Or do we turn to our God in desperate prayer? We need to trust in God. I’m striving to trust Him.
The Rock Church
One-Year Bible Reading
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