As a recap, the capture of the Ark is broken up from 1 Sam 4-7.

1 Sam 4: 1-11- : The war between Israel and Philistines, the Ark of God was captured
1 Sam 4:12-22 : The Death of Eli and the Birth of Ichabod
1 Sam 5: The Ark of God in Ashod , Gath, Ekron, Plagues and Death followed
1 Sam 6:1-19 : The Ark Of God return to Beth Shemesh, Israelites struck dead
1 Sam 6:20 – 1 sam 7:1 : The Ark in Kirjath Jearim (20 Years)
1 Sam 7:2-17 : Samuel judges, Israel repented, war against Philistines won

Now 1 Sam 6:1-19 talks about the  how after 7 months, the Lords of the Philistines decided not to hold the Ark of the covenant captive within their temple. They returned the Ark to Beth Shemesh. The Israelites were overjoyed in the return of the God, but in their joy, they forgot the commands of God.

They looked at the ark, and God struck 50 070 people in that town.

Sometimes the readers of the old testament will accused God of being a blood thirsty God, but why did God struck the people dead?

Facts : The Methods That The Philistines Used To Return The Ark

The Philistines kept the ark “captive” for 7 months, but the plagues were great. So they decided to set up their own little test  to see if it is indeed God of Israel that struck them.

Interestingly, the diviners reminded the Philistine lords of the story of the 10 plagues that God did in Egypt. Apparently, the stories in Exodus are still fresh in their mind.

So they prepared a offering of gold for God (perhaps in their own custom) and prepared a interesting cart to carry the Ark.  they made it difficult for the Ark to go on its own.

1. No Drivers for the cart
2. Took 2 mother calves who was never yoked before, separate their baby from them
3. Let the Ark go on its own and see if it returns to Beth Shemesh

Yet God lead the ark back to Israel, proving to the Philistines that their sufferings were indeed the work of God

Facts : Law Of Moses concerning the Ark

In the law of Moses, there are specific laws, so over here i decided to summarise them here.

1. No one (including Aaron ) is allowed to enter the holies of the holies to see the ark, in fact they will be killed if they do (Lev 16:2)
           a. In fact, bells were attached to the high priest garment so that they will know if God has struck the high priest dead (Ex 28:33-35)

2. In fact, when the Israelites are moving in the wilderness, there are special rules where the priest need to follow with regards to the ark. (Num 4:5-6)
           a. They have to use the Veil, cover the ark.  
           b. Use a badger skin and blue cloths  
           c. Attached the poles, and carry it.
3. Only once a year, the priest could enter the holies of the holies on the day of atonement. 
            a. He had to enter the place with Incense , cover the mercy seat with smoke from it (Lev 16:12-13)
            b. He had to bring the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat on the east side  (Levi 16:14)
            c. He had to use the blood a goat, and sprinkle it on the seat as well (Lev 16:15)

Facts : Beth Shemesh is a city of Levites

In Jos 21:13-19, The City of Beth Shemesh is given to the sons of Aaron as a city to live. Therefore the City is made up of Levites. These people are ministering as priests in the promise land.

The duties of priest and Levites are as follows
1. Take care of the tabernacle and the articles in it. (Num 18:2-4)
2. Judge over the matters and of the Israelites (Deut 17:9)
3. Read and declare the  Law of God once every seven years (Deut 31:9-11)

Therefore, they should be more than well aware of the points how to treat the ark of the Covenant.

Lesson 1 : Not Respecting The Commands Of God

The Levites are over joyed when they see the ark returning from the lands of the Philistines. They were quick to offer  sacrifices  and every other thing, but they seems to have forgotten the rules that they are not allowed to look onto the ark of the covenant.

Sometimes, everyone tend to forget that we need to love our God with all our hearts with all our soul and our minds. Deut 6:4-5.

We need to remember that, although God is always full of kindness and mercy, slow to anger and quick to forgive (Ps 103:8-9). The modern face of Christianity always focus that God is love, and God is forgiving, they tend to forget the fact that God will one day judge us for what we do (Heb 9:27).

Which is the reason why King Solomon concluded his book of Ecclesiastes saying 

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:

  Fear God and keep His commandments,
  For this is man’s all.
   For God will bring every work into judgment,
  Including every secret thing,
  Whether good or evil.” – Solomon (Ecc 12:13-14)

What is most ironic about the matter, was that the person who did not respect the commands of God are his priests, and from the household of the house of Aaron.

Lesson 2 : Good Intentions Doesn’t Warrant Disobedience

While the priest are overjoyed at the fact that they could offer the Ark,  they were so focused in serving God, that they have forgotten to hallow God.

They feel that it is a good thing to sacrifice to God, which is why they perform the sacrifice on the same day the Ark returned back to Beth Shemesh.

Instead of getting blessings from God, they ended up having a 50070 people struck dead.

Sometimes we tend to forget that God desires his children to obey him more than to make sacrifices. (1 Sam 15:22-23).  Samuel said that to Saul, when Saul out of his good intention decided to keep accursed animals from Amalek and sacrifice them.

At the same time, the priest in 1 Sam 6 focus so much on offering, that they forgot that they should not been looking at the Ark, and they should carry the Ark back to Shiloh.

This reminded us of the story where King David wanted to bring the Ark with him to Jerusalem, but along the way, there was a incident when Uzzah used his hands to support the Ark Of God, apparently the Ark was carried in a oxen. As the result, God struck him dead and David halted his plans to bring the Ark in (2 Sam 6-8) .

David should have followed the instructions of God and to get the sons of Aaron to carry it.

All this incidence tells us that , even though we wanted to serve God, we have to be mindful how we serve God. We must still serve God according to his will.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” – Jesus (Matt 7:21-23) 

Indeed, many Christians followed their heart when it comes to serving God, but have we really considered if our service is acceptable in the eyes of God?

Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” John (1 Jn 2:3-6)

Let us learn to respect and keep Gods commands. In whatever we do.