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Growths and Rats! Thoughts on 1 Samuel 6:1-16

Posted by saintisaac on June 21, 2011 at 1:05 PM

Have you downloaded your copy of the free daily scripture reading plan we provide each month to empower and support you on your spiritual journey. I encourage you to make scripture reading/study a part of your daily routine and watch as the Holy Spirit begins to speak to you through the dynamic tool that is the Bible! Someone once asked, "Which bible is the best for me, King James, New International Version, etc." I once heard a minister answer this question excellently, "The one you can understand." There is a Psalm reading, Old Testament, New Testament & Gospel reading waiting for you today so dig in!

 

Last night, my family took on the messy craft of making pinatas. If you're family hasn't tried this yet, there quite simple! Here's the key to this easy craft.

1) Cut newspaper into long strips.

2) In a bowl, combine two cups of flour with three cups of water.

3) Blow up a balloon, tie off.

4) Dip newspaper strips into the flour mixture and place on balloon.

5) Allow to dry overnight. Once dry, pop the balloon, paint, color, etc.

 

My oldest son, myself and my wife Katy, dove into to project blowing balloons, hands messy, you get the picture. But my youngest son, was scared to touch the flour/water mixture. He didn't want to get his hands dirty. We finally decided on the routine of me dipping the newspaper strips and him placing them on the balloon, but he had to wash hands after every piece! I decided to finish his balloon and give him a break.

 

After reflecting again this morning about my son's hesitancy to get dirty, I made my way to the readings for today and found a very rich and meaningful story in 1 Samuel about the Philistine’s and their messy situation. Quick, grab a bible and turn with me...1 Samuel 6:1-16.

A brief bit of history, the Philistine’s had captured the Ark of God. In those days, God didn't dwell in the hearts of men, rather, in a very elaborate box called an Ark. The Ark carried with it God's presence and therefore His power. After a fierce battle in Chapter 4, the Israelites (God's chosen people) were defeated, and the Philistines captured the Ark of God. Upon hearing that the Ark had been lost, Israel's leader Eli, 1 Samuel 5 v. 18 "fell backward off his chair. He fell beside the gate, broke his neck, and died, because he was old and fat. He had led Israel for forty years."

 

Thinking they had finally snatched the key to ultimate power, the Philistines had another thing coming. Have you ever met someone who only wanted God because of what He could do for them? This is a dangerous state to be in because 'Holy things are meant for Holy people!" When Holy things fall into the hands of unholy people, things get very interesting, very quickly! Stop reading my words now and read 1 Samuel 6:1-16.

We now know the Ark had been with the Philistines just 7 months and they were trying to figure out how to get this thing back to the place or people, from whence, it came. It seems the thing they thought would make them indestructible had began to destroy them from the inside out. Note: Chapter 5 also has a great recount of how the God was proven superior to the Philistine God, Dagon.

Great fear had befallen the Philistine people. We see back in Chapter 5, v. 6 “The Lord was hard on the people of Ashdod and their neighbors. He caused them to suffer and gave them growths on their skin.” My guess is these weren’t a few moles or large pimples; they were ‘great growths,’ deformities. We see in Chapter 6 that there had also been a great rat infestation. The Philistines sought the counsel of their priests and magicians and decided to send the Ark back with a ‘penalty offering.’ Even the Philistines new they must pay a price for the wrong they had done! They must offer a sacrifice to make it right!

They formed golden growths and rats to send along with the Ark back to the Israelites. So they loaded the Ark down with the penalty offering, placed it between two cows and pointed it straight toward Beth Shemesh, the town that served as the destination in Israel’s own land (v. 9).

V. 12 says, “They (the cows) stayed on the road, mooing all the way,” (the cows must have known too, this wasn’t your average freight they were carrying).

The presence of God turned out to be a burden and messy situation for the Philistine’s, but was a tremendous blessing for the Israelites. V. 13 “Now the people of Beth Shemesh were harvesting their wheat in the valley. When they looked up and saw the Ark of the Lord, they were very happy.”

What can we draw from this passage?

1) The unrepentant heart will be tempted to try “God,” to remedy problems and struggles in life, but in the end, His presence will be a great burden and hinderance. Great conviction and pain will come to the person who wants God to be an object of power for them.

2) Many only turn to God in times of need and struggle, when it is convenient for them. Friend, God is no commodity; we can’t pick and choose when we want Him. We must surrender to Him totally and completely in good times and bad! He is a person with which, we have a relationship with, not an object of power.

3) God’s chosen are always made happy by Him. The Philistines represent the unredeemed souls in the earth. Israel, represents His Church, His Bride! The light and pearl of His eye. Have you realized you are one of His chosen people?

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