1 Samuel 6:1-12
6 When the ark of the Lord had been in Philistine territory seven months, 2 the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the Lord? Tell us how we should send it back to its place.” 3 They answered, “If you return the ark of the god of Israel, do not send it back to him without a gift; by all means send a guilt offering to him. Then you will be healed, and you will know why his hand has not been lifted from you.” 4 The Philistines asked, “What guilt offering should we send to him?” They replied, “Five gold tumors and five gold rats, according to the number of the Philistine rulers, because the same plague has struck both you and your rulers. 5 Make models of the tumors and of the rats that are destroying the country, and give glory to Israel’s god. Perhaps he will lift his hand from you and your gods and your land. 6 Why do you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh did? When Israel’s god dealt harshly with them, did they not send the Israelites out so they could go on their way? 7 “Now then, get a new cart ready, with two cows that have calved and have never been yoked. Hitch the cows to the cart, but take their calves away and pen them up. 8 Take the ark of the Lord and put it on the cart, and in a chest beside it put the gold objects you are sending back to him as a guilt offering. Send it on its way, 9 but keep watching it. If it goes up to its own territory, toward Beth Shemesh, then the Lord has brought this great disaster on us. But if it does not, then we will know that it was not his hand that struck us but that it happened to us by chance.” 10 So they did this. They took two such cows and hitched them to the cart and penned up their calves. 11 They placed the ark of the Lord on the cart and along with it the chest containing the gold rats and the models of the tumors. 12 Then the cows went straight up toward Beth Shemesh, keeping on the road and lowing all the way; they did not turn to the right or to the left. The rulers of the Philistines followed them as far as the border of Beth Shemesh.
The Ark of the covenant was spoils of war, captured in battle. The Philistines had it by rights, however it wasn’t right for them to have it. My question is this….what is there in my/your life (hurt/resentment/self righteousness/being right/pride) which you feel is rightfully yours but which brings no peace or joy? In fact, if you are honest this thing is eating away at you, bringing destruction. We need to be prepared to examine what is within us and give back to God anything that we feel justified in hanging on to, but which is slowly destroying us or the relationships around us. It might not be gold tumours and rats, but some things can gnaw away at us just the same. This was not a question of entitlement but rather a question of what was demanded by the Most High God. The philistines had to let the ark go and show God they were sorry, maybe it’s time for us to examine ourselves and do the same.
Heavenly Father show me anything which you need me to let go. Give me the strength Lord to lay down the things I hold on to, but which bring destruction. I pray for healing and peace in my thoughts and in my relationships. In Jesus name Amen
Written by Christine Knight