Ep. 077: Ark of God Returned

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Ep. 077: Ark of God Returned

After the Philistines captured the Ark of God, they put it in the temple of their god. The next morning, they found their idol face down in front of the Ark. They set the idol back up, but the next morning it was on the ground again. This time, the head and hands were broken off.
Suddenly the city was overrun with mice, and the people had large tumors covering their bodies. The men said, “This is being caused by the Ark of Israel’s God.” So they moved it to another city.
Immediately, God’s judgment hit that city. They were overrun with mice and the people developed large painful tumors. This caused the people to panic. The men sent the Ark of God to yet another city, but the people there yelled at them. “You’re trying to kill us! We don’t want that Ark in our city!”
They moved the Ark from city to city for seven months. Fear and death followed it wherever it went. Finally the Philistines asked their priests, “How can we send the Ark of the Lord back to Israel?”
They said, “If you send the Ark back to Israel, you must send a guilt offering with it. Then God will remove his hand of judgment, and you’ll be healed. Make five gold images of your tumors and five gold images of the mice that are destroying the land. Give glory to the God of Israel, and he will stop crushing you. But if you become stubborn, you’ll be like Pharaoh when these people left Egypt. He’ll send more plagues upon you until you send the Ark back to Israel.
“Here’s what to do. Prepare a new cart and place the Ark of God on it. Put the gold objects in a box beside it. Select two milk cows that have never been in a yoke, and hitch them to the cart. Take the calves away from the cows and put them in a pen nearby. Then stand back and see what the cows do. If they ignore their calves and go up the road toward Israel, you’ll know it was the Lord who tormented us for seven months. But, if the cows go toward their calves, we’ll know that all of this was just something that happened by chance. It wasn’t God’s judgment.”
The men did exactly as they were instructed. They got two milk cows and separated them from their calves. They hitched the cows to a cart, even though they had never been in a yoke before. They put the Ark on a new cart, along with the five gold images of their tumors and the mice.
When all was ready, they stood back and watched. The cows went straight up the road toward Israel. They stayed on that road with their heads down, lowing as they went. The Philistine rulers walked behind them all the way to the territory of Israel.
The people of Israel were harvesting wheat when they saw the Ark coming toward them. They shouted for joy. As they watched, the cows pulled the cart to a field near a large rock and stopped. The people of Israel put the Ark on the rock. They then used the wood from the cart to offer the cows as a burnt offering to the Lord. When the Philistine rulers saw this, they returned to their country.
There were 70 men from a nearby town who were curious about what was in the Ark of God, so they opened it and looked inside. All 70 men died by the hand of God. This struck fear into the people, but it was the beginning of the nation of Israel turning their hearts back to God.

 

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