Through the Bible Day by Day
And the men of Kirjathjearim came, and fetched up the ark of the LORD, and brought it into the house of Abinadab in the hill, and sanctified Eleazar his son to keep the ark of the LORD.
RASHNESS PUNISHED; REVERENCE BLESSED
The new cart, with its precious burden, must have come upon the men of Beth-shemesh like an apparition. The Ark was welcomed by them, after its seven months of absence, with great joy. But privilege entails responsibility; and their wanton curiosity and irreverence could not be permitted. Reverence for God Himself demanded the most careful behavior toward the Ark of His Presence, and when this was lacking, swift judgment ensued. See Num_1:50-51; Num_4:5; Num_4:16-30.
It is interesting to notice that when the Israelites were weaned from the Ark, their hearts lamented after the Lord, 1Sa_7:2. We cannot be permanently happy without God. Seasons of apathy and irreligion will sooner or later be succeeded by faith and love, as the frost of winter yields to the touch of spring. In this case, the revival was due to the patient labor of Samuel, and he did splendid service in urging the people to deal drastically with the idols of Canaan, which had cut them off from God as clouds hide the sun.
And Samuel said, Gather all Israel to Mizpeh, and I will pray for you unto the LORD.
LEADING THE NATION IN GOD’S WAYS
We are here taught the successive steps that must be taken if revival is to be granted to either Church or individual.
1. Unity. All Israel was gathered. The divisions and jealousies of preceding years were renounced.
2. Confession. The people poured out their hearts before the Lord.
3. The abandonment of false gods. “They put away the Baalim and Ashtaroth and served the Lord only.”
4. Intercessory prayer. The one condition of revival is to get back to prayer. “Cease not to cry unto the Lord our God for us.”
5. Full surrender, as set forth in Samuel’s burned-offering. Yield thyself to God, and thy Philistine sins, stealing up the valleys, will fall back discomfited, and thou shalt raise thine Ebenezer.
So Israel proved. There was immediate evidence that God had accepted them. Natural phenomena fought on their side. The very spot which had been the scene of defeat became the scene of glorious victory. Compare 1Sa_4:1; 1Sa_7:12. Here is great encouragement for us, for at certain spots in our life-experience we have been defeated; but just in these same spots, when the barriers which have intercepted God’s help are leveled, we shall become more than conquerors.