January 14, 2000

1 Samuel 6

Vv. 1-9

1) V. 1, seven months.

A) For seven months, they put off recognizing the God of Israel for as long as they could. Then they finally submitted, but, strangely enough, not to worship God, but to appease him, so he would leave them alone.

How like human nature. People recognize the Lord just enough to appease them, so he will not destroy them to badly. See 2 Kings 17 – they served God just enough to keep the lions away.

B) Or they thought the plague would stop, so they keep it. People put off dealing with sins, hoping the "plague" will stop, and they can continue their life style.

C) They were unwilling to relinquish their prize, the ark of God. They sought every means to keep it, but in vain.

Sinners prize a particular sin, so they seek every means possible to keep it. Some are so determined to hang onto that sin that they are willing to die in that sin, even when they know what the answer is.

D) Seven months the Philistines were punished for presence the ark, and seven months Israel was punished for absence of the ark.

There is no remedy for either until the ark is in its proper place.

E) For seven months, Israel was without the emblem of His divine presence. Such a long time for one to be without the sense of his gracious presence and light of his countenance.

2) V. 2, called for the priests and the diviners... This is sad — they have seen and they know the power of Israel's God, yet when the hard times come, they seek the wisdom of this world. This reminds me of God's people who, when times are difficult, seek the world's wisdom to deal with their problems, e.g., worldly counselors of all kinds.

Note that they did not want to know how to serve this God who subdues false gods and subdues his enemies in ways they could not resist; they did not want to know about repentance and faith in Israel's God, as many pagans in the past had done when they saw the power of God, e.g., Rahab and the Gibeonites. Rather, they wanted to know how to get rid of him – "Tell us how to get rid of the ark of the LORD." We should add here, "So we can continue to worship our false, powerless gods, and pursue our own fallen desires."

I cannot count the number of people I have met who flee to pagan counselors to find answers, and pay those counselors big bucks rather than seek out a good Bible church and pastor for answers. Even Christians get caught in the trap of seeking the world's answers for their difficulties rather than the Lord God.

1) V. 2, the priests and diviners knew the truth of the matter, yet they did not tell the people to repent.

I am suspicious that these men did not want the people to repent, because they would lose their power.


I remember a visit I made in MD. It was with a Catholic man who had worked for the rail road. I was trying to witness to him about salvation. And no matter how I tried or what terms I used, I could not talk him out of his profession. I asked him to explain to me what he had done.

He told me he had been caught in a coupler between two cars. They would not uncouple the cars because they said he would die when they did. So they called a priest to administer the Last Rites. According to this man, the Last Rites consisted of clearly explaining the gospel of Christ to the person. And the man had as clear of an understanding of the gospel as I did, and I could not shake him from what he now believed about Christ.

My point being that the priests of the Church of Rome evidently know the truth about Christ and salvation, but they keep the people in darkness. When the people know the truth about Christ, they are set free from the bondage of false doctrines:

John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
John 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Throughout the Old Testament, the prophets of God had some very strong words to say against the religious leaders who know the truth yet refuse to tell the people. The reason they do not tell the people the truth is in order to retain their power over the people. One of the stronger passages is found in the Book of Ezekiel 34:

This passage is a prophecy against the shepherds of Israel. And Christ explains what the prophecies meant:

Matthew 23:13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.
Luke 11:52 Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.

Those Old Testament passages were against the religious leaders of Israel. We are told several times that they knew the truth about Christ, yet they refused to accept the truth themselves and they refused to let the people accept the truth, BECAUSE THEY WOULD LOSE THEIR POWER OVER THE PEOPLE if they let the truth be know.

According to the prophecies, God Himself judged the wicked shepherds when He destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD.

However, that destruction did not solve the problem with the wicked shepherds. They exist in abundance today – men who know the truth of Scripture, but they will not tell the truth because the truth would undermine their power. And the Church of Rome is not the only guilty party — I have mentioned several times about pastors who tell me that they realize a passage does not teach what they have said it teachers, but they will not change their teaching because it might undermine their people's confidence in them. In other words, they are fearful of losing their power from over the people.

I have tried to be a faithful shepherd, and tell the truth from the Word of God as the Lord's Spirit has laid it on my heart. However, it seems that people have left over that very thing. It seems to me that many do not want the truth, so they find groups where the truth is not emphasized.

1 Samuel 6:2, the Philistine priests and diviners knew the truth of the God of Israel, but they did not tell the Philistines to make peace with that Israel's God.

What shall we do to the ark... They knew what to do, send it back; they did not know how to do it. Every man knows what to do, Worship God. But we must have the word of God to tell us how to do it.

3) V. 3, If ye send away the ark of the God of Israel, don't send it empty. Even the pagans knew they had sinned against Israel's God, and they needed to make an offering to him. However, sin against Dagon held no such results, so "Let's serve Dagon."

Note: A secular counselor has no moral authority to tell his client to repent and be converted. So he tells them how to find "peace" apart from repentance and faith.

Send it not empty... Even the pagan Philistines knew better than try to serve Israel's God empty handed. This is a lesson that many Christians have not learned as they refuse to even tithe on the increase God has given them.

4) They also recognized that healing was from the Lord God, and their problems was from the heavy hand of God's judgment.

Note that God's hand is here against the Philistines for their sin. And thus we see that the pagans are just as accountable to Israel's God as was and is Israel.

Note that the pagans confess there is a true God, who punishes sin justly. (Geneva.) But even at that, they want nothing to do with him.

5) V. 3, return him a trespass offering, not a sin offering. The pagans knew they had erred in taking the ark of the Living God, but they did not see it as a terrible sin, requiring an offering for their sin.

How like fallen man—when pressed, he will admit that he has erred or had a "moral failure," but he resists with all that is within him from naming that "failure."

I get so sick people, public figures especially, who get caught in their evil ways say, "I made a mistake," or "I had moral failure." That is like having a tire failure, a tire blow out on the highway. "I was driving down the road, minding my own business, and my tire blew out. Actually, it was a manufacture defect—they were Firestone tires, so it really was not my fault." Very few people will name their sins, and come out and say, "I did wrong; I made a wrong choice, and the fault is mine." (They might say, "I made a wrong choice in choosing Firestone tires, but it is the tire's fault." (See CALVARY CHAPEL paper.)

Only the Spirit of God can make him see his sinful condition, and his need for a Saviour.

6) The pagans knew they justly deserved the hand of God against them. They did recognize Israel's God as the God of gods, but they still did not want him as their God. The devils also believe, and tremble. (James 2:19.)

A) Even the pagans knew that the true God could not be approached without an offering. They knew there could be no forgiveness of sin without a sacrifice.

B) They knew they had to make an offering, but they made the wrong one. They vainly imagined that such an offering could cover their sin. Many people today believe that various sacrifices and offerings will cover their sins, when only the sacrifice of Christ can cover sin.


James 2:19, The devils also believe, and tremble.
James 4:17, Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

The gifts of gold could not buy them peace with God and eternal life. Their problems stopped when they sent the ark back, but their actions did not secure for them life and peace.

Hebrews 9:22, FROM THE TIME OF the first man until the time of the last, without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin.

I must convess that I knew these things about the Lord God and His word, but I was not saved. Knowing what the wages of sin are, and knowing the facts about Christ and His payment does not save, for even the devils know that. Only faith in His work will save a person.

6) V. 4, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines.

A) They also recognized Israel's God as King of kings and Lord of lords, even over the Philistine lords.
B) God is no respecter of persons, for one plague was on you all, and on your lords.

Five golden mice. The Philistine's land had been decimated by mice. I have seen films of the mice in Australia, and they were like waves of the ocean as they rolled over everything, striping all life from the land.

Note: God used bugs to conquer Egypt, and now he uses mice to conquer the Philistines. No wall nor man made defense can stop God when he decides to move. Israel's God will subdue his enemies, and he is not bound by human thinking for how to obtain the victory. He is the Lord of hosts — that is, a God of war against sin and sinners.

7) V. 5, ye shall give glory unto the God of Israel. How like the fallen nature — we believe that to sacrifice is better than to obey:

1 Samuel 15:22 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

There is big bucks for those church leaders who promise God will come to the aid of the people if the people will sacrifice (five golden emerods, and five golden mice). It seems that people would rather sacrifice money and time than obey God and depart from evil. (See 1 Sam. 4:10, 11. Also, Ps. 34:14, 37:27, Pro. 3:7, 13:19, 16:6, 17.) How many times have we heard these TV preachers preach hard against sin, especially if they depend on their TV income to pay all their bills? There are a few who are supported by their churches who will come down hard against sin, e.g., James Kennedy. But I have noticed the charismatic speakers emphasize some kind of mystical faith that is exhibited by how much money you send to them.

Glorifying God is not some kind of feeling, and it consists of far more than words. Man glorifies God by obeying every word that proceeds out of God's mouth. (1 Cor. 6:20, 1 Pet. 2:12.) Again, I see charismatic TV personalities, and it appears that the speakers tell the people that glorifying God consists of raising one's hands to heaven, and saying good phrases.

Certainly, we are to glorify God with one mouth, and there is a sacrifice of praise given with our lips (He. 13:15), but the glory he wants is our obedient actions. (Rom. 15:6.) By reducing glorifying God to simply words and a few actions and emotions, the crowds come, and the money rolls in. However, we will see later in I Samuel, the problems King Saul got into by sacrifice without obedience to the word of God. (15:22.)

8) From off your gods. Even recognizing the hand of the true God, they fail to worship him correctly.

The pagans may well admit that there is only one God, and that one God controls all events in heaven and earth. But they will hotly discuss how to approach that one God. Of course, Christianity is very "exclusive," allowing only one way to that one God, Christ. Though others may think they are worshiping the one true God, if they are not going through Christ, they are worshiping one of many gods:

John 8:54 Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom e say, that he is your God: 55 Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying.

9) 1 Samuel 6:6, Wherefore then do ye harden your hearts...? This is a strange message coming from counselors who denied the authority of Israel's God from over them. But it was good advice. There seems to have been some agreement about giving back such a trophy of war as the ark of God.

Illustration: The number 2 radio talk show host after Rush Lumbaugh is Dr. Laura (January 18, 2000). She claims to be a Jew, meaning that she denies Israel's God, the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet more often than not, she gives good, sound advice to her callers, which primarily consists of just good common sense.

In other words, one does not have to be a follower of the Lord Jesus to give good advice. However, Psalms 2 tells us not to seek the counsel of the ungodly, and the ungodly must be defined as those who reject Christ as the final answer. Denial of Christ makes one a false prophet or false teacher, regardless of how they present themselves otherwise. (Isa. 53:5, 2 Pet. 2:1.)

A) God blesses his people when they do not seek the counsel of the ungodly, ungodly defined as those who reject the authority of Israel's God, the Lord Jesus Christ (Ps. 1:1, cf. Isa. 8:19).

B) Denial of the Lord Jesus Christ, who was wounded for the transgression of his people (Isa. 53:5), makes one a false prophet, or a false teacher (2 Pet. 2:1).

See sub file, angels in the mailing file for what was removed from here.

C) As the Egyptians. Though the events with Egypt were about 400 years old here, the speak of it is though it were a recent event. (This is an honest use of history.) Though they knew, they still would not turn.

Hebrews 3:7 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, 8 Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: 9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. 13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. (See vv. 7-19.)

D) We should learn from the experiences of others, particularly against hardness of heart against the Lord's promptings. These things are written for our admonition.

a) the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart, just as he did the Philistines. (Ex. 4:21, &c.)
b) God sends the strong delusion, so people will believe a lie. (2 Thes. 2:11.)
c) We cannot soften our hearts, but we can harden them, and the consequences will be fatal. (CHS)

Vv. 7, 8, a new cart, &c. The Philistines did not know how the ark was to be moved, so they did the best they could. Though unlawful, the ignorance of the Philistines made this indignity excusable. (JFB) Though ignorance will not suffice in the final judgment, ignorance now causes God to overlook many things. This warning is issued by the Lord:

Mark 4:24 And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given.
Luke 8:18 Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.

King David knew better, but he tried to move the ark like this, and it cost a man his life. On the other hand, the Philistines were able to move it. The heathen can do a lot of things that God's people cannot. The heathens escape the death penalty because they do not know the word of God. (See message, Stripes 1/2/2000, with Salvian's quote on the end.) A born again child of God will meet an early death in the Devil's slaughterhouse if he insists on serving Dagon, adultery, &c., (1 Cor. 5), where the sentence is not passed upon the heathen.

Did David think he could move the ark on a cart because he saw the Philistines get away with it? How many things to Christians see the devils' crowed get away with, and then they think they can also?

The problem is there is such a large percentage of unsaved masquerading as God's people in the churches that as they seemingly are able to "move God" by their means, e.g., new cart, that true believers see this, and try it also. They then reap the wrath of God against sin.

We are influenced by the methods they use, and because they look exactly, sound and seem just like we are, then we are intimidated by their success to try their means of "moving God." How many modern day Bible believing church methods are unlawfully using the cart to move the ark of God, but because the unsaved are doing it, they get away with those unlawful methods?

1) Churches promote a prayer for salvation. This results in people believing they are now God's people because they prayed the proper formula. And they start moving the ark in unscriptural ways, and build huge followings, yet they have not God's chastening hand because they are not God's people.

Then those watching believe because the professors sincerely act so much like God's people, that they are God's people. So those watching try to "move the ark" as do those they are watching, but it does not work for them.

2) Now, here's a hard lesson brought to my attention yesterday. (4/25/84. Jerry Owens - his wife being dealt with, but not him.)

We believe "whosoever will may come," which is Bible, but a problem:

It is God who gives the will to come. (Ph. 2:13.)
No man can come to the Son except the Father draw him. (Jn. 6:44.)
No man can come to him except it were given unto him by the Father. (Jn. 6:65.)

All through the book of St. John, plus many other places, it is clearly stated that only the drawing of the Holy Spirit can result in a person coming to Christ for genuine salivation.

I saw this in action yesterday with Jerry Owens. I went through he POS with him. He agreed with what I presented. He knew according tot he word of God he was lost, but he really didn't "feel" like he was lost. I had him go ahead and take my hand by Faith to turn from all and to Christ. He did. But I really don't feel he got anything. All the time there are many others turning because God the Holy Spirit is "killing" them, and they have no choice: Lorri O., Linda O., Joe N., Kathy D., Cindy R., and many others, Mrs. Rice, &c., and the peace, joy and excitement is coming out all over them, wanting to do right. These are all still faithfully doing right today, 15 years latter, January 22, 2000, though Mrs. Rice and Linda are the only ones still here. Sherri and Dennis Devitt also "made professions" during that time, but both are now serving the devil. I had serious doubts about them at the time, for there was no brokenness, or conviction of sin.

Compare the two: 1) Jerry made a profession, but was not broken over his condition. I really believe he did not get anything. 2) Those who were broken over their sins got the "whole thing."

I don't believe the young man is saved, but if a church or Christian would really press him, as I used to do, he would soon have all the fruits. A church can be build going door to door, and getting many professions like Jerry's. Being unsaved, they can move the ark, and seem to prosper. But if God's people try it, they will be chastened.

I think we are seeing the results of this kind of "building" churches in the social temper? Is this whey God placed Clinton in leadership? A professor but sure not a possessor.

David's people saw the Philistines, and said, "If they can grow a church with those types of professions, then it must be right."

If they can move the ark on a cart, then it must be right because they look, act and smell right, and they are sincere." But, we must line our methods with the word of God. See Mark 13:20.

Is this what the Lord means in Matthew 20:16, Many are called, but few are chosen?


I called Jerry. He was not chosen (at that time). He answered the call, but was not saved..

Now, I believe as he comes under the preaching of the gospel, I think God the Holy Spirit will deal with him, but what if he goes under the wrong type of preaching?

I need to learn and teach from this, John 15:16, plus many more passages. I must be very cautious of what I present. Be sure we let God give the increase. Let god do the choosing, and the calling. But I don't know who he has called, so I must take the gospel to everyone with my heart right and with much prayer.

I must learn for me not to do the choosing, but let the Lord do that job.

V. 9, he hath done us this great evil..., or if it was chance...

The enemy is continually at our side, assuring us that the same things happens to everyone, and that it just happened to us. In other words, no need to look for the causes of our difficulties as being from the hand of God. There is no need to enquire of the Lord where we have gone astray, and what we should do about it. There is no need to accept personal responsibility for anything, for the same things happen to everyone.

The wicked ascribe all things to chance; Biblical Christians must ascribe all things to the hand of God — "there is nothing done without God's providence and decree." (Geneva)

Daniel 4:35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? (See also Dan. 4:17, 25, 32, 5:21, 8:4, Rom. 11.)

Though all the events of history may not clearly reveal God's hand, we know by faith that it is His hand and His hand alone that is working all events according to His own good pleasure. (Eph. 1:5, 9, Phil. 2:13.)

Vv. 10-18

The Philistines return the ark to Israel in an unusual way — they place it on an undriven cart, puled by two milk cows. The cows took it home despite their calves being tied at home.

Vv. 7-13

They were confident the cows would not go away from their calves, unless supernaturally directed. So they wanted that supernatural sign. However, even with the supernatural sign that it was the hand of God, they still had no heart to turn to Israel's God. The Lord had not given them the needed desire. Not trusting second-hand reports, the lords of the Philistines went out to see for themselves what would take place.

Note: "SHOW US A SIGN, AND WE WILL BELIEVE," was what the religious leaders continually demanded of Christ. (Mat. 12:38, 16:1, Jn. 6:30, &c.) However, though Christ offered abundant proof of his claims, they still could not see the truth — the Father had to allow the onlookers to see the truth:

John 14:8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? 10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake.

The sign Christ offered to those who challenged him was the sign of Jonah:

Luke 11:29 And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. 30 For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation. 31 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. 32 The men of Nineve shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

And it reads to me like it was a sign of his judgment against their sins.

If the leaders had seen the truth, they would not have crucified the Lord:

1 Corinthians 2:8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

So, obviously, they had to be blinded by the hand of God, so they would crucify him. (See Rom. 11:8, &c.)

1 Samuel 6:12, lowing as they went. "Their frequent lowings attested their ardent longing for their young, and at the same time the supernatural influence that controlled their movements in a contrary direction." (JFB)

The cows went contrary to natural instinct. Though Israel made no attempt to recover the ark, not knowing their Master, the cows brought it home, knowing their Master. In other words, "dumb" animals have more sence than do God's people at times:

Isaiah 1:3 The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.

V. 13, The men of Bethshemesh:

A) were reaping their wheat harvest as though nothing were wrong. The ark was gone, and these people had no concern as long as they had a harvest. Their concern was not that God's presence was gone, but that they made a good living:

Haggai 1:4 Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste?

B) God brought the ark to me who were hard at work in the field, rather than to those idling their time away. Hard work has its reward.

C) rejoiced to see the ark, took the cows, and offered the cows as a sacrifice to God. Note that here Israel knew enough to only let the Levites move the ark. It would be interesting to know what happened to the offerings the Philistines sent with the cart. We have no further mention of them after this account.

Note the cows who knew their Master are offered up as a sacrifice to Him, as are those who know the Master are to be offered up as a living sacrifice to Him.

D) did not let their work interfere with their rejoicing in the Lord. They stopped everything to honor the Lord.

Vv. 15, 18 the great stone. No doubt the ark was brought here because of the great stone. The Lord commonly used stones to remind the people of his marvelous works, e.g., Joshua 4.

Vv. 19-21.

A) These men of Bethshemesh were less reverent toward the ark of God than were the Philistines themselves. (JFB) I have met more than a few unsaved people who show more reverence toward the Lord than what Christians do.


Phil Apple took the snow blower to his shop and fixed it. How many of our people offered to do that? The same with Dave Touser – he gladly will do whatever I need him to do, if he can. These men make no profession of the Lord and talk like it, but they show more respect for the church and for me as a pastor than do many Christians.

B) The men of Bethshemesh were curious, so they looked into the ark of God. How many Christians only look into the word of God out of curiosity rather than out of a sincere desire to know God and to follow his word. There is death in such an attitude. It was not give to satisfy curiosity, but to tell men about God and how to please him.

C) God smote the men of Bethshemesh (i.e., house of the sun) for unlawfully looking into the ark. (Num. 4:15, 20.) But again, he did not kill the Philistines for touching it or looking in it (if they looked). We note again the difference between a heathen and one of the Lord's people is only the Redemptive work of Christ. They can look, act, smell and talk the same. One can carry the ark on a New Cart, and even look in it, and he won't die. Now, God's hand was heavy upon them, and they suffered, but not like Israel. (He 12, if a man is a child of God, God will chastize him as he did these and not the Philistines.)

The other cannot move the ark wrongly or look into it or even touch it without dying. If God's people are not careful, they will look at the ones who look right, &c., and think they can do the same thing. God's people can easily be misled into wrong action by watching others and comparing to others rather than the word of God.

We must have God's wisdom to be able to recognize God's movement over the "right looking" unsaved people. Only the word of God can rightly divide asunder the truth from error. (He. 4;12.)

The Lord smote 50,070 men because they looked into the ark of the Lord. Josephus gives the number slain here as SEVENTY men of the village of Beth-shemesh. (Clarke.)

1) Everyone else is doing it, so why can't we?
The Philistines looked in.
They probably lined up, and everyone looked in. They didn't drop dead on the spot, or no one would have looked in after the first few died, but God's word came to pass. They thought at the time they had got away with looking in. Ecc. 8:11, 12.

D) Note the danger of trying to "gratify a sinful curiosity" into the secret things of the Lord, including prying into the future.

The sin of the men of Beth-shemesh: They looked into the ark of the Lord, # 1Sa 6:19. Every Israelite had heard great talk of the ark, and had been possessed with a profound veneration for it; but they had been told that it was lodged within a veil, and even the high priest himself might not look upon it but once a year, and then through a cloud of incense. Perhaps this made many say (as we are apt to covet that which is forbidden) what a great deal they would give for a sight of it. Some of these Beth-shemites, we may suppose, for that reason, rejoiced to see the ark (#1Sa 6:13) more than for the sake of the public. Yet this did not content them; they might see it, but they would go further, they would take off the covering, which it is likely was nailed or screwed on, and look into it, under pretence of seeing whether the Philistines had not taken the two tables out of it or some way damaged them, but really to gratify a sinful curiosity of their own, which intruded into those things that God had thought fit to conceal from them. Note, It is a great affront to God for vain men to pry into and meddle with the secret things which belong not to them, #De 29:29; Col 2:18. We were all ruined by an ambition of forbidden knowledge. (MH)

E) These men though they knew better regarded the ark of God as not much more than a common chest. How many consider the church building as not much more than a common building, and treat it as such?

2) Who shall stand before the Lord?
Those who are sanctified before the Lord.
Only those who are right with the Lord will stand before the Lord.
The Lord is Holy, Holy, Holy, and requires a holy people.
Who will dwell in his holy hill? See Ps. 15.
A person will stand before the Lord on HIS conditions, not according to the way the person feels or what others say, or what others might be doing.

3) God slew the men who looked in the ark. Rather than blaming the men for looking, they blame God for killing them. HOW LIKE THE FALLEN NATURE – we want to blame everyone and everything, except self, for our problems.

Though the word of God clearly shows us our faults, many want to quarrel with it, and put it away from them. (Jer. 6:10. MH.)

4) V. 21, come ye down and fetch it.

They rejoiced at his coming until they saw he demanded holiness. The smiting of the people, v. 19, should have called them to repentance. Instead, it caused them to fear God, and ask to get him away from him. They were no better than the Philistines.

Rather than meet the Lord's holy conditions, they wanted HIM removed from them. "Get him away from us" was the cry even from God's people.

The natural desire is to free ourselves of the burden of a Holy God.

The ark was taken to Kirjathjearim instead of back to Shiloh, where it remained until David sent for it about 50 years latter. Why did they not take it to Shiloh? Maybe the Philistines had destroyed that city, but we are not told.

Let me reiterate: The men of Bethshemesh viewed the ark as a not much more than a good-luck charm, or talisman, i.e., a trinket or piece of jewelry thought to be a protection against evil. Romanism uses talismans, or small statues of Saint Somebody to protect them on the highway or in elevators, &c.

Many People view the "cross" as a piece of jewelry to protect them against evil. There are those who view the Bible the same way. They do not see these things as representing a Holy God, or they would clean up their act.

See #5 in chapter 7.

January 27, 2000