SATURDAY January 5, 2019
Lamenting after the LORD
Then the men of Kirjath Jearim came and took the ark of the Lord, and brought it into the house of Abinadab on the hill, and consecrated Eleazar his son to keep the ark of the Lord. So it was that the ark remained in Kirjath Jearim a long time; it was there twenty years. And all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord.
1 Samuel 7:1-2
God was displeased with Israel because of their sin of idolatry. When Israel faced the Philistines in battle, instead of repenting and asking the Lord for His help, they used the Ark of the Covenant as a good luck charm. The Ark of God represented the Lord’s presence among His people, but God was not pleased with Israel. They not only lost the battle against the Philistines, but the Ark of the Covenant was taken and remained in the hand of the enemy for seven months (1 Samuel 4-5).
During that time, God struck the Philistines with tumors. They attempted to move the Ark of God to other Philistine cities, but they also suffered great destruction. Rats plagued the land, and many people died. Those who remained continued to suffer from tumors. In the end, the Philistines sought to return the Ark of God to Israel (1 Samuel 5-6:1-12).
The people from Beth Shemesh received the Ark of God with rejoicing. In excitement, some of the men removed the lid and looked inside. They had forgotten to respect the holiness of God. The Lord struck dead 5,070 men from among the people. So a decision was made to send for the priests in Kirjath Jearim, because they knew how to handle the Ark of God correctly. It remained there––twenty years! Israel lamented after the Lord; they had missed out on the blessings of God (1 Samuel 6:13-19).
Think about people who have missed out on the blessings of God because of their sin. Could it be they have forgotten to respect God’s holiness? In His love, God has to chasten them so they can be restored.
Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
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