Monday, May 16, 2011

losers into winners

The cart came into the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh and stopped there. A great stone was there. And they split up the wood of the cart and offered the cows as a burnt offering to the LORD. And the Levites took down the ark of the LORD and the box that was beside it, in which were the golden figures, and set them upon the great stone. And the men of Beth-shemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrificed sacrifices on that day to the LORD.
1 Samuel 6:14-15

The worship celebration is in order because God has brought the ark back to His people. Seven months have gone by since its capture (1 Samuel 6:1). Israel went on with daily activity and farming. The Philistine cities suffered numerous casualties over this time. Five Philistine cities were affected with tumors and a rodent infestation during the time that the ark was in their possession. When they finally devise a way to return the ark to Israel, they can't be more happy to be rid of it!

There is rejoicing in Beth-Shemesh. That border town was the place that received God's blessing back into the possession of God's people. They offered immediate sacrifice to God for the blessing of having the ark back. They left the work in the fields to worship the God Who miraculously restored the ark, and the symbol of their relationship with Him.

There is a humbling moment though. Apparently the celebrations degenerated into disrespect by some people. God solemnizing reminded them of His holy power by striking down a group of men who treated the time with disrespect (1 Samuel 6:19). So even in the midst of this rejoicing, the power of God was reaffirmed. Israel still has to learn that God is to be worshipped and not treated with either superstitious or lack of respect. There is a difference. Superstitious treatment of God is what lost them the ark to begin with. Now a disrespect or casual treatment of it resulted in judgment as well. God wants them to rejoice in His saving grace. That was the purpose of the ark... to celebrate that God took slaves and made them a nation. It celebrated that His sacred word was their great possession. It taught them that relationship with God turned losers into winners.

- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13

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