The “Raider’s of the Lost Ark” doesn’t hold a candle to the action that truly surrounded The Ark of the Covenant (A of C) as spelled out in 1 Samuel 4-7!

The Israelites are confused about their defeat in a battle with the Philistines, so they decide that for the next round, they will take the Ark of the Covenant with them for good measure.

This plan did not work out so well since the Philistines captured the A of C as they killed more Israelites, including Eli’s two rebellious sons!

The Philistines make the poor choice to put the A of C in the temple of their god, Dagon.

No surprise here that the next morning, the statue of Dagon has fallen over and his head and hands broken and laying on the threshold!

The Philistines start getting tumors and in their terror, move the A of C to another town only to experience death and the same plague of tumors there!

The spiritual leaders of the Philistines were consulted and it was decided to return the A of C back to the Israelites, with a guilt offering of five gold rats (representing the towns the Philistine rulers oversaw) as well as gold tumors (representing the five leaders affliction).

This all seems humorous to me, but these people were dead serious!

The bad news is that in all of their excitement to have the A of C returned, some of the Israelites looked inside of it (this was breaking the instructions for how it should be handled) and seventy of them were put to death.

The Israelites ask Samuel to cry out to God on their behalf. They repent once again of having various other idols in their presence. There is an offering and God deals with the Philistines.

We could sum this story up in one title: “Don’t Mess With the Ark of the Covenant!” But the bigger picture and message is that God is a very holy God.

He is loving, forgiving and merciful, but when He lays down specifics, He does so for a reason.

We cannot approach God on our terms, embracing the ‘feel good’ sides of God and ignoring that He is also a Holy God.

The character of God continues to be displayed as both merciful and holy. He extends forgiveness and grace but also requires holiness and obedience.

“His greatness no one can fathom.” Psalm 145:3

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