I am still in disbelief that it is July already and I will be teaching in less than a month! I accepted a teaching position at a Christian private school in my city, and I start in August and I am ecstatic! I will be teaching social studies in middle school and part of the course will be focusing on Israel and Judah! It is safe to say that this blog will actually help me be prepared – just another verification that God works through this blog. I don’t know if it helps of affects others, but I know it has strengthened my relationship with God and I am just so happy to share! Onward to more of 1 Samuel!
I am going to attach a picture of the Ark of the Covenant, or a replica of the Ark! It was truly a masterpiece and it is just mind blowing that it was created thousands of years ago, and with such great artistic quality. At this time in 1 Samuel, the Philistines were the greatest opponents of the Israelites. The Israelites felt helpless when they were going up against the Philistines, because they were so strong. The Israelites kept losing to the Philistines and they were desperate (they did not have faith in God’s support), so they brought the Ark to the campground of where they were fighting the Philistines, hoping God would protect them even more. They believed having the Ark in their presence meant God was actually with them – even though He always was! In spite of the Ark being present and the serge of morale in the Israelite camp, the Philistines still attacked them. Israel lost, even with the Ark present, and the Philistines actually took the Ark. Both of Eli’s sons were killed (as was prophesized by Samuel in chapter 3). A man came to Eli to share the news of the Ark being stolen and his sons dying, and once Eli heard the news, he died himself. Eli was 98 years old when he died and judged Israel for 40 years. The wife of one of Eli’s son (Phinehas) even passed away that day while giving birth once she heard the news of the death of her husband and her father-in-law. The son’s name that was born was named Ichabod which means “The glory has departed from Israel!” That tells you the state that Israel was in at the time – this child’s name is the epitome of the state of Israel at the time.
Back with the Philistines, they were trying to figure out what to do with this massive Ark that they had taken from the Israelites. They determined the best thing to do was place it next to the idol of the false god they worshipped named Dagon. Twice the Philistines woke up in the morning to find the Dagon statue lying face down, as if bowing to the Ark (God). The thing was that the Philistines knew that no one had been around to move the statue of Dagon – so it was shocking and nerve-wracking to them. The second time that they had found Dagon, he had actually had its limbs taken off and it was just the trunk of the statue – I am not sure what Dagon looked like aka what the statue looked like. Then all of Ashdod received boils and swellings and the Philistines then acknowledged that it was God going up against them. They moved the Ark to Gath and the same boils and swellings occurred within this city. So they then moved it to Ekron and the people in Ekron had of course heard about Gath and Ashdod, so they did not want the Ark anywhere near them! People died within Ekron, and the ones that did not received those boils or tumors like the previous cities.
So the “priests” of the Philistines decided that it was in the best interest to get rid of the Ark, since there had been so many deaths and boil cases. They would allow the Ark to return but empty (the Ark was full of treasures). The Philistines would then give a guilt offering and then allow the Ark to move on its own, as it was “let go” by its carriers. If the Ark returned to the Israelites then the Philistines would know that God was against them through those deaths, boils, and tumors. If the Ark did not return, then it was just all coincidence (y’all it is never a coincidence – it is God’s Will). The Ark made it back to Beth-shemeth and the Israelites rejoiced! Those that did see the Ark return, which based on Exodus – no man was allow to touch or would be struck down – were struck down by God. They still had to follow the laws of God – no matter their excitement!