I’m pretty sure I’d think having God with me would be the one thing I would desperately need. But would I later think I’d prefer something else?
I thought about this when I read about the Israelites, while losing a war with the Philistines, taking the precious Ark of the Covenant into the battlefield.
I’ve read the stories from Joshua’s day about the wonders surrounding the Ark of the Covenant, such as the time the priests’ feet approached the Jordan River carrying the gold box and the waters rolled back so the massive group of Israelites could cross.
Well, there was a problem. They had been worshiping foreign gods and Ashtaroth idols. Perhaps as I sometimes do, thinking it doesn’t matter that the meditations of my heart and the words of my mouth don’t honor the Lord, they thought idols were a permissible way to soothe a sinful conscience.
The prophet Eli’s wicked sons, Hophni and Phinehas seemed to be the ringleaders. But wasn’t it a good thing to turn to the true God now? If I sin, couldn’t I connect with the Heavenly Father again and have His blessing?
Well, the shout of the joyful Israeli solidiers greeted the ark echoing to the Philistines’ lines.
Philistine commanders issued an alarm. “God has come into their camp! Fight as you never have.”
The Philistines captured the ark. Thirty-thousand Israeli men died that day and the rest ran to their tents. Phinehas and Hophni took mortal wounds. The shock caused Eli’s and his pregnant daughter-in-law’s deaths, and as she drew her last breath she whispered, “Name my son ‘Ichabod.’”
Ichabod means “the glory is departed.”
After weeks of God’s judgment among them with the ark in their camp, the Philistines sent the ark back to Israel with cows that had calves in the barn. If the cows took the ark back to Israel, they would know it was a miracle.
Their full udders swinging, the cows pulled the ark straight home.
With Eli dead, Samuel the prophet became the leading spiritual authority in Israel (See 1 Samuel 7), called the nation to repentance and to destroy their idols. God saw the tears and heard, and in love forgave. The Philistines didn’t invade Israel again through Samuel’s lifetime.
Lord, may I remember this lesson and not easily walk away from your presence. Help me remember, too, that if I sin, I have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, and sin can be forgiven (1 John 2:1-11).
Yet, I shouldn’t go anywhere without your presence.
http://buff.ly/TLkr0a; Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult http://buff.ly/XeqTvH