June 6, 2022
Today’s reading: 1 Samuel 4:3
It’s not the Ark, It’s God
In 1 Samuel 4:3, we read:
3 And when the people had come 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 from Shiloh to us, that when it comes among us it may save us from the hand of our enemies.”
From the book of Judges, we know the bitter cycle of peace and war in the time of ancient Israel. We know that Yahweh allowed Israel to be subjugated by their enemies whenever they start forgetting about Him and committing sin.
In 1 Samuel 4, 5, and 6, we have seen what happened to the Ark of the Covenant and the foolishness of Israel.
At that time, Israel’s enemy, the Philistines, had successfully subjugated Israel. Thus, we read how Israel tried to win back their freedom and get rid of the Philistines’ rule.
The problem is that they were defeated and four thousand of their men fell. This bitter defeat led the elders of Israel to ask, “Why has the LORD defeated us today before the Philistines?”
Now, if they would be honest with themselves, they should know the correct answer. They have actually rebelled against God and thus, God wasn’t fighting their battles for them!
However, instead of repenting of their sins, what did they do? They brought the Ark of the Covenant with them.
They thought that having the ark is equivalent to having God’s blessing and protection. They failed to realize that they may all have the sacred things in the world, but if God isn’t with them, those things are useless!
To top it all up, the ones who accompanied the Ark of the Covenant were two corrupt priests, Hophni and Phinehas, the son of Eli.
Surely, with all these, the Israelites should have already seen the signs that God isn’t with them.
But, no. They still continued and thus, they were defeated and the Ark was captured by the enemies.
This should teach us a lesson.
A lot of people think that if they have something that represents God, they will be saved or they will receive divine favor.
Some people buy statues of God, bring a cross with them, post pictures of God in their homes, build a shrine in their properties, make amulets, and do other things.
All these physical things are actually nothing and useless. Unlike the Israelites, we must repent, turn back to the Almighty, and start living a life pleasing to Him.
Even the Ark of the Covenant can’t save anyone.
It’s not the Ark. It’s God.
It’s not the creation, but it’s the Creator.
To learn more, please read, “When God seems not to answer to prayer…“
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