April 9, 2017. Stubborn
1 Samuel 4-8
After everything the Israelites have been through and seen with their own eyes, you would think they would always trust and follow the Lord. But the Israelites are a stubborn people. They forget about God when things are good, but then when they get into some trouble, they go running back to God to save them.
In chapter 4 we see them in battle against the Philistines, and loosing. So what do they do, they run back to Shiloh and grab the ark of the covenant of God hoping it will win the battle for them, but watch what happens:
10 So the Philistines fought, and the Israelites were defeated and every man fled to his tent. The slaughter was very great; Israel lost thirty thousand foot soldiers. 11 The ark of God was captured, and Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, died.
Everything that the Lord told Samuel, back in chapter 3, would happen did happen. Now Eli was worried about the ark being out of Shiloh, and he had every right to be, but when he found out that it was captured he literally fell off of his chair and broke his neck and died.
Through chapters 5 and 6 the ark gets passed around after causing tumors to erupt in the people of the city it was being kept in. Finally at the end of chapter 6 the Philistines have had enough of the ark and no longer want it, so they tie two cows to it and basically say “if the cows go to Beth Shemesh then it really was God doing this to us, and if not it was just a freak accident we all got tumors.”
The cows never detour from their path to Beth Shemesh, not once turning to the left or the right (6:12). Guess that answered the Philistines question. The ark is finally back with the Israelites.
Samuel is a blunt man and very well respected among the Israelites, and finally they admit their sin against the Lord in chapter 7.
3 So Samuel said to all the Israelites, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” 4 So the Israelites put away their Baals and Ashtoreths, and served the Lord only.
Then and only then did the Lord help destroy the Philistines.
10 While Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to engage Israel in battle. But that day the Lord thundered with loud thunder against the Philistines and threw them into such a panic that they were routed before the Israelites. 11 The men of Israel rushed out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, slaughtering them along the way to a point below Beth Kar.
Moral of the story, don’t be stubborn and forget who God is and what he can do. He wants to help fight your battles, but you have to keep him in your life for him to do that.