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

The last part of 1 Sam 6:20-1 Sam 7:1 tells us that Ark was left in a town known as Kirjath Jearim. The story ended when Samuel begin judging Israel, and revival of the faith of Israel.

Facts : Kirjath Jearim Is A Gibeonite Town

In The Book Of Joshua, there was a tribe known as Gibeonites, who used deception to conclude a treaty of the Israelites. These Gibeonites became wood cutters and servants to the Israelites, and Kirjath Jearim is one of their town (Jos 9:17-18)

In fact the Ark stopped by there for 20 years (1 Sam 7:2)

The Israelites felt that they cannot stand before God, so they decided to send it away from them and to the land of the Gibeon.

Facts : People Dying Because Of the Ark

In the Old Testament, there are 2 records of deaths related to Ark Of The Covenant.

1. The Ark killed 50070 People In Beth Shemesh  (1 Sam 6:1-19) 
           a. As The Result, the Ark was left in Kirjath Jearim (Gibeonite Town) for 20 years
2. The Ark killed Uzzah  the servant of David (2 Sam 6) 
           a. This time it was left in the house of Obed Edom (a Gittite )

Interestingly, whenever there are deaths in Israel with regards to the Ark, the ark was left in the hands of the non Israelites, and ironically there is no death in the house of the gentiles.

Facts : The High Culture Of The Philistines and Its Effect On Israelites

In Part 2, we have shared that the Israelites at that time were face with a superior culture of the Philistines. The Philistines were more advance than Israel in every way, they have achieved Iron Age, and they are a agriculture nation while quite a number of Israelites are still shepherds.

The Philistines worship Baal and Asheroth and they believe that when this 2 gods copulate, then there will be fertility in the land and crops can grow well.

Hence the Israelites tend to look upwards to the more affluent and advance world of the Philistines. As The Philistines trust that their gods were the ones behind this affluence and prosperity

The Israelites often find themselves worship God and at the same time being drawn to that culture. Hence they do not follow God whole heartedly.

Yet when they are oppressed by the culture that they look up to, and then they hope that Yahweh their God will protect them from the Philistines. Hence you often find worship for Baal and Ashtoreth along side with worship of God

Lesson : The Real Reason Why God Is Not With Israel

Actually, the real reason why God delivered Israel  into the hands of the Philistines, is because of the unfaithfulness of Israel. Prophet Samuel prayed for the Israelites and exhorts them saying

“If you return to the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths from among you, and prepare your hearts for the Lord, and serve Him only; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.” –Samuel (1 Sam 7:3)

The Israelites were worshiping both the gods of the Philistines as well as Yahweh, hence God was displease with their unfaithfulness.

It is only when the Ark of God was sent to Kirjath Jearim for 20 years that is when Israel started their lament and repent before God.

This is when Samuel offered up a burnt offering to God and God forgave them.

Lesson : The Battle Of Mizpah

When the Philistines heard that Israel is gathered at Mizpah, they amassed an army to war against them in Mizpah. The people of Israel were afraid, so they asked Samuel to continue praying for them

While Samuel was doing the burnt offering, the Philistines Army grew closer to Israel, but that is also the time when the grace of God is shown. The Lord thundered and the enemy was in disarray, and they were finally defeated.

This marks the period of peace in Israel once again, and the work of the last judge Samuel started.

Lesson : Seeing The Will Of God In Suffering

Indeed, the event from 1 Sam 4 are sad in the history of Israel, they were defeated in battle and had the ark of the covenant captured. But yet, if we were to look at the stories in details, we can see the beautiful will of God behind the misfortune. And God was using the sad events to bring Israel close r to him.

As a recap this is what we have learnt so far. The capture of the ark of God is indeed a sad event, but God made use of the event for good.

1. It taught the Israelites to place their faith in God and not the Ark
2. It taught the Philistines that the God of Israel is indeed God
3. It taught the Levites to reconsider their faith
4. It brought revival to the faith of the Israelites.

No body likes to suffer, but sometimes we have to admit that certain suffering is necessary so that we will be better. This is why we are willing to undergo operations and take bitter medicines. For we know that only by going through the suffering, we could be well once again.,

Similarly God do made use of unhappy events and sad events to chastise us and to bring us back to him. It is also a sign that God loves us As a conclusion let us read this proverb

 My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,
    Nor detest His correction;
     For whom the Lord loves He corrects,
    Just as a father the son in whom he delights.”  Prov 3:11-12

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