This content is part of a series.Faith and Magic (2 of 52)
Series: Discipleship Part 2
Christopher B. Harbin
1 Samuel 6:1-12
Faith and magic are intertwined in the minds of many. We consider religion and spirituality from a perspective that runs counter to Biblical faith. We associate superstition with faith and fail to grasp that God calls us to a relationship of dependence, rather than obedience to magical rites. God is far above any human ability to manipulate. While on one level we readily acknowledge that, on another we often attempt to follow prescribed formulas specifically to control God, directing God to perform our will over any other. That is the provenance of magic. Faith, on the contrary, calls us to submission and dependence. Why is it so hard for us not to confuse the two?
Israel struggled with concepts of magic in its thinking about Yahweh. They tried to break out of the mold of using rite and ritual to manipulate God, but they routinely fell into the trap to succumbing to magical thinking anyway.
In the finals days of Eli before Samuel became the judge and prophet over Israel, the people were enmeshed in a struggle against the Philistines. They determined that they needed to take the Ark of the covenant with Yahweh out of the tabernacle and into battle with them. Following along the understanding of Hollywood's movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark, they figured that carrying the ark with them would grant them a sure victory against their enemies. The looked at the ark as a talisman, a good luck charm, a tool for manipulating God's will and power. They failed to actually seek God's will in the process.
As they marched into battle, the Philistines were aware of the ark's presence. They knew the history of the people's victory in Egypt, over Og, Bashan, Jericho, and others. In response, they doubled their efforts to defeat Israel, considering that was their only hope for any kind of victory. In the process, they took possession of the ark away from Israel. They gained the ...
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