1 Samuel 6* The Philistines consult how to send back the ark. (1-9) Theybring it to Bethshemesh. (10-18) The people smitten for lookinginto the ark. (19-21)1-9 Seven months the Philistines were punished with thepresence of the ark; so long it was a plague to them, becausethey would not send it home sooner. Sinners lengthen out theirown miseries by refusing to part with their sins. The Israelitesmade no effort to recover the ark. Alas! where shall we findconcern for religion prevail above all other matters? In timesof public calamity we fear for ourselves, for our families, andfor our country; but who cares for the ark of God? We arefavoured with the gospel, but it is treated with neglect orcontempt. We need not wonder if it should be taken from us; tomany persons this, though the heavies of calamities, wouldoccasion no grief. There are multitudes whom any professionwould please as well as that of Christianity. But there arethose who value the house, the word, and the ministry of Godabove their richest possessions, who dread the loss of theseblessings more than death. How willing bad men are to shift offtheir convictions, and when they are in trouble, to believe itis a chance that happens; and that the rod has no voice whichthey should hear or heed! 10-18 These two kine knew their owner, their great Owner, whomHophin and Phinehas knew not. God's providence takes notice evenof brute creatures, and serves its own purposes by them. Whenthe reapers saw the ark, they rejoiced; their joy for that wasgreater than the joy of harvest. The return of the ark, and therevival of holy ordinances, after days of restraint and trouble,are matters of great joy. 19-21 It is a great affront to God, for vain men to pry into,and meddle with the secret things which belong not to them, #De29:29; Col 2:18|. Man was ruined by desiring forbiddenknowledge. God will not suffer his ark to be profaned. Be notdeceived, God is not mocked. Those that will not fear hisgoodness, and reverently use the tokens of his grace, shall bemade to feel his justice. The number smitten is expressed in anunusual manner in the original, and it is probable that it means1170. They desire to be rid of the ark. Foolish men run from oneextreme to the other. They should rather have asked, How may wehave peace with God, and recover his favor? #Mic 6:6,7|. Thus,when the word of God works with terror on sinners' consciences,they, instead of taking the blame and shame to themselves,quarrel with the word, and put that from them. Many stifle theirconvictions, and put salvation away from them.
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