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The Return of the Ark: How to Get God Back into Our Lives (8 of 34)
Series: Bible Oases: Spiritual Refreshment From Unlikely Places
I Samuel 7:2
Four chapters in the first book of Samuel express the history of the Hebrew nation. They begin with the name Ichabod, which was given to an infant son and meant "The Lord hath departed"; they end with the name Ebenezer, given when Israel seemed to have been reborn and God returned to dwell with His family. Together these chapters (1 Sam. 5-8) provide one of the most entrancing accounts in the Old Testament.
A Disturbing Regression ... Reproachable
The children of Israel were desolate; their confidence had been shattered, their happiness ruined. They had been defeated in battle by the Philistines, and it was incomprehensible. "And when the people were come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, Wherefore hath the Lord smitten us to day before the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of Shiloh unto us, that, when it cometh among us, it may save us out of the hand of our enemies ...And when the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth rang again" (1 Sam. 4:3-5).
Unfortunately the enthusiasm manifested by the Hebrews was false. The ark of the covenant was only a sacred symbol of the presence of Jehovah, but it almost became an idol. It was to be regretted that the warriors of the nation had more confidence in the ark than they had in the one it represented. The Jews were proud that God resided in their midst but were content that He should be secluded in the tabernacle at Shiloh. Jehovah was a desirable asset as long as He did not interfere with their likes and dislikes. They expected much from Him but gave little in return. When trouble overwhelmed the nation, they asked, "Wherefore hath the Lord smitten us today before the Philistines?" They saw no fault in themselves and in that respect resemble oth ...
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