18 April |



/The Ark Returned to Israel/

*6* When the ark of the Lord had been in Philistine territory seven
months, 2 the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners and
said, “What shall we do with the ark of the Lord? Tell us how we
should send it back to its place.”

3 They answered, “If you return the ark of the god of Israel, do not
send it away empty, but by all means send a guilt offering to him.
Then you will be healed, and you will know why his hand has not been
lifted from you.”

4 The Philistines asked, “What guilt offering should we send to

They replied, “Five gold tumors and five gold rats, according to the
number of the Philistine rulers, because the same plague has struck
both you and your rulers. 5 Make models of the tumors and of the rats
that are destroying the country, and pay honor to Israel’s god.
Perhaps he will lift his hand from you and your gods and your land. 6
Why do you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh did? When
he treated them harshly, did they not send the Israelites out so they
could go on their way?

7 “Now then, get a new cart ready, with two cows that have calved
and have never been yoked. Hitch the cows to the cart, but take their
calves away and pen them up. 8 Take the ark of the Lord and put it on
the cart, and in a chest beside it put the gold objects you are
sending back to him as a guilt offering. Send it on its way, 9 but
keep watching it. If it goes up to its own territory, toward Beth
Shemesh, then the Lord has brought this great disaster on us. But if
it does not, then we will know that it was not his hand that struck us
and that it happened to us by chance.”


A fairly straight forward passage with a powerful message almost
hidden amongst the words. Essentially, the passage is about the
Philistines realizing their mistake in holding onto the ark of the
covenant. They want to send it back with a guilt offering, so that
they can be healed and everything can be restored back to normal.

The priests and diviners give them a list of things to make to send
back with the ark. But in the middle comes a profound question:

Verse 6: ‘Why do you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharoah
did? When he treated them harshly, did they not send the Israelites
out so they could go on their way?”

May I rephrase?

‘Why didn’t you learn from the Egyptians mistake?’.

That’s the question this passage poses to us. Why don’t we learn
from the mistakes of others? There are countless people who made
mistakes in the bible and we have their example to learn from. There
are countless situations in the public eye that we could have learned
from. And, there are mistakes made by people we know that we could
have learned from. Yet, often we tend to make the same mistakes they


Let’s stop being foolish. The mistakes of others lie before us to
show us another way of doing life. Let us learn from the many
marriages that have been destroyed because of infidelity. Let us learn
from the many young people who ‘experimented’ only to land
themselves in deep trouble. Let’s learn from those financially
crippled because of foolish decisions.


Father thank you that in your love for us, you offer us wisdom and the
ability to learn from the mistakes and growth of others. Help me to be
wise. Open my eyes to learn from people who have gone before me. Help
me to be humble and to ask for advice when I encounter someone who is
successful. For your glory I ask this, amen.

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