Scripture: 1 Samuel 6:1-2

When the Ark of the Lord had been in the Philistine territory for seven months, the Philistines summoned the priests and the diviners and pleaded, “What should we do with the Ark of the Lord? Tell us how we can send it back to its place.”

Key Ideas

Context gives meaning to the time frame “seven months.”

The priest Eli and his sons displeased God. So, God promised to bring upon them a specific judgment (1 Samuel 2:30-34). God said of His judgment “that everyone who hears about it will shudder” (1 Samuel 3:11).

Later, God reminded Eli through Samuel of the impending judgment (1 Samuel 3:11-14).

Israel went to battle with the Philistines and experienced defeat twice as part of God’s judgment on Eli. The cost was high. Thirty-four thousand Israelite soldiers died; The Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant; and, Eli’s two sons died (1 Samuel 4:1-11).

The “anxious” Eli died when he heard about the defeat, the Ark, and his sons. His pregnant daughter-in-law gave birth suddenly when she heard; then, she died also. Dying, she named her newborn son “Ichabod.” His name meant “the glory has departed” (1 Samuel 4:17-22).

During the seven months after their victorious battle, the Philistines moved the Ark among three cities: Ashdod, Gath and Ekron (1 Samuel 5).

During those seven months, God attacked each city while the Ark rested there, afflicting the people with miraculous terror, confusion, and tumors. Many died.

During those seven months, God’s afflictions affected everyone, from the youngest to the oldest (1 Samuel 6:9). No one escaped pain.

The Philistines thought they had defeated Israel and captured God. But, God used them for His purpose; then, He fought them Himself. He won with devastating effect. Yet, they waited and suffered seven months before surrendering to God and returning the Ark.

Evil and wicked people can be tenacious in their resistance to God.

Wicked people, at times, keep resisting God, despite personally experiencing terrible consequences.

Application

What does resisting God cost me and those close to me?

What kind of treachery and pain does God have to inflict upon me before I respond and obey?

Where am I holding onto wickedness in my life, despite God’s attendant afflictions?

When God makes clear His desires, do I immediately obey or resist for a while?

How does my tenacious grasp on wickedness cause pain in me and around me?

Why am I waiting to respond to God? What are my reasons?

The Takeaway

Why wait to respond to God? Obey, today.

SN5187

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