"Snippets" from David
When the unexpected happens, people commonly seek the answer to “why?” God’s people are no different--especially when they know too little about God. When they are ignorant in their understanding of God, they frequently conclude God protects them from everything.
Consider as an example the occasion in 1 Samuel 4. The army of Israel lost a battle to the army of the Philistines. Israelites concluded they lost because their army did not have the ark of the covenant leading them when they attacked (1 Samuel 4:3). All they needed was the ark, and their enemies would be defeated.
To correct the deficiency, the Israelite army sent people to Shiloh, brought the ark to the army, and brought Hophni and Phineas (priests, Eli’s sons) with the ark. Now they were certain they could not lose! The result: Israel’s army was defeated, and the ark was captured (1 Samuel 4:10, 11). Hophni and Phineas were killed, their father (Eli) died when he heard the news, and Phineas’ pregnant wife went into premature labor and died.
The Philistines were thrilled beyond belief! They were certain they proved the superiority of their gods to the Israelite God. Yet, soon their “very good” victory turned into a disastrous situation (1 Samuel 5). Why? Everywhere the ark went, major calamity went. The situation was so bad that possessing the ark was equated with death!
Finally the Philistines decided to return the ark to Israel in a unique manner [with an offering]. The unusual mode of returning the ark was to confirm they were removing their problems (1 Samuel 6:1-18).
The milk cows left their calves and went directly to Israel’s Beth-shemesh. The problem: Israelites were just as ignorant about the proper treatment of the ark as were the Philistines. The men of Beth-shemesh looked inside the ark, and many Israelites died as a result (1 Samuel 6:21). Israel’s solution was to place the ark in exile for about 20 years. Because of Israel’s ignorance, they deprived the nation of the God’s presence. The same power that destroyed could also bless!
Too often we want to use God for our own purposes. We want Him to be the solution to our problems without being the center of our lives. If He is solving our problems, great! However, if he wishes us to assume responsibility, He is in our way! We had rather place Him in exile and deprive ourselves of His presence than learn how to change our lives so He can live among us.
First, He does not depend on us! We depend on Him! When we are foolish enough to place God in exile, we are the losers!
Second, God is not our “insurance policy!” He is our “way of life.” We do not use Him; we serve Him. We must remember that ignorance cannot build our road of service to God. When we seek to use Him rather than knowledgeably serve Him, we only hurt ourselves.
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