1 SAMUEL 4:3 AMP “When the people (soldiers) came into the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the LORD defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD here from Shiloh, so that He may come among us and save us from the hand of our enemies.””
4000 men just had lost their lives in battle, and the people want answers. Their question, “Why did we suffer loss?” It’s understandable, no one has a spare 4000 fighting men laying around. I said it was understandable, but was it reasonable to assume that by taking the Ark of the Covenant from its place and bringing it onto the battleground things would automatically change? The last chapter spoke of the Word of the Lord being RARE. So what changed? Samuel was now a man hearing from God, a position previously held by the High Priest Eli, who was still in office, but on Gods short list for replacement.
Perhaps the people assume now that Samuel is hearing from God, everything is fair game. We don’t read that they consulted with either Eli or Samuel, but somehow the Ark was taken into battle with the assumption that God approved, and would fight for them. The result? Epic FAIL, literally on a biblical scale. 30,002 men died, and they even lost the Ark to the Philistines. WOW, makes my boo-boos/ dumb ideas look like child’s play.
Why do we ever question the love of God when his Book, doesn’t attempt to make His guys (people) look good? They act shamelessly and foolishly and seemingly at every turn do something more asinine than those before them, yet He still patiently Loves and Guides and Cares for them (us).
So how do I flesh this out? How do I take what I just read and apply it to my everyday life?
1. God isn’t a genie in a bottle. I can’t summon Him to my beck and call, and He doesn’t mind making me eat crow when I forget my place. I always used to watch WWE and my favorite wrestler was the Rock, he would always say, “Know your role and shut your mouth!” God has a way of getting people’s attention, and losing men and the Ark got theirs, and mine! How many times have I done exactly just that? In ministry… Too many times to even want to admit.
2. Don’t assume you know anything! I believe that Christians fail at this point over and over, they assume that just because God did such and such, or just because they read that it happened like ________ (fill in the blank) somehow He is obligated to do it again. Moses made that assumption (Speak to the rock, or strike the rock) and it cost him a chance of seeing the Promised Land. There are plenty of instances where Jesus didn’t repeat a miracle, I believe it’s because this very fact. We concentrate on the HOW instead of the WHO.
3. We get casual and familiar with things that are HOLY. The Ark of the Covenant was Gods literal Presence/Glory, the Priests had to be ceremonially cleansed to even enter into the place where it was. God was absent not powerless, He wasn’t speaking, but it was NOT because He didn’t have anything to say, but because the sons of the High Priest were a couple of Dirt Bags and the H.P. knew it and wouldn’t reprimand/correct them. I believe they lost reverence, and a holy fear for the things that are Holy. And it cost all of them their lives.
I don’t know about you, but I have a long way to go, and it’s a good time to pray…
Father God, I thank you for your patience with me, I thank you for the call, the plan, the purpose and the anointing on my life. I pray for every reader as well, Father forgive us if we have treated the Holy with irreverence and casualness. Thank you for the scriptures and for your Spirit and His revelation as the Word comes alive to us, and as we put it to work in our lives. We don’t ever want to be like the men in this story, but forgive us for the times which we have been totally like them. Speak your servants are humbled and listening!