June 7th: 1 Samuel 4:1(b)- 5:12 Proverbs 7
Two nations learn hard lessons about the power of God’s presence. God chose to manifest His glory and holiness to Israel through the ark. Yet Israel and her leaders assume the ark is theirs to wield for whatever purposes they have in mind. Also we already know that Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas openly desecrate God’s tabernacle, and thus disregard God on a regular basis. Those two sons demonstrate incredible gall in believing just taking God’s ark into battle, without God’s command or consent, will assure them victory. They pay dearly for their spiritual blindness as does Israel (1 Samuel 4:10-11). Yet the Philistines also learn they would have been better off to have defeated Israel and to have left YHWH’s ark alone. After placing the ark in two different philistine towns, the third town the Philistines try to place the ark, a city called Ekron, wants nothing to do with Israel’s ark. They have already seen the calamity of playing fast and loose with God’s holy presence. It is amazing how over time we devalue great gifts, like Israel did with the ark of God, and forget the role it is supposed to play in our lives. Consider that some Christians (e.g. John Huss and William Tyndale) have died to ensure that the common person could read the Bible. Now so many Christians view the gift of God’s word lightly. The repercussions of ignoring the purpose of scripture might not be instantaneous death, but it certainly will mean a loss of knowing Life and how to live.