1 Samuel 6-7 - Skip Heitzig
Calvary Church is dedicated to doctrine, and we want you to experience the life change that comes from knowing God's word and applying it to your life. So we explain the Bible verse by verse, every chapter, every book. This is Expound.
Tonight, we are in the book of? 1 Samuel, very good. 1 Samuel, turn to chapter 6, where sadly, we broke off sort of in the middle of that chapter. And we want to get back to that.
A word about what we do on Wednesday nights, if you happen to be new. We are a community of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, like many churches are, in the community. We, however, are a little bit distinct in the kind of community. We believe that we are a textual community. What that means is we rally around the belief that God speaks through what God has spoken, that God speaks through his eternal Word-- Old and New Testament.
And so we gather together to find out what he has said. We begin in Genesis. We end in Revelation. We go through every book of the Bible, every verse of the Bible-- of course, not in a single night. But you string enough Wednesday nights together over the years, and we've been able to make it through every verse of scripture a few times. So this might be the fourth time we've done it.
So it's been a good journey. We find ourselves now in 1 Samuel, chapter 6. Can we just have a simple word of prayer? Father, we gather as your church to read together, to be on the same page, literally, in the scriptures. Because all of these things Paul wrote to us were written for our edification, our exhortation, our instruction.
And since they were written for us, since we happen to be now in a section of the scripture that was the scripture for the early church, and for the apostles, we pray that you would give us wisdom, as we go this historical narrative, this history of the nation of Israel, and learn and glean and apply to our lives.
Thank you for each one who has come. Thank you for each one who is joining us online. Thank you for those tuning in on the radio. So many different avenues-- the app-- that we're able to get this message out. And pray that each one would be enriched by your Spirit. We ask it in Jesus' name, Amen.
Now the word revival is a word that, when a Christian hears that word, they think it's a religious renewal. That's how we have used the term. Now, there's other usages of the word revival, in architecture, in art, in medicine, et cetera.
But when Christians hear that, we think back to some of the great revivals in history. Our minds might go back to John Wesley and the Wesleyan revivals, the great Methodist revivals. We might go back to Whitfield's preaching in England, in the UK. We might go back to Charles Finney, and his preaching on the Eastern seaboard of the United States, Rochester, New York, where he, threw his preaching one year, saw 30,000 people make commitments to Christ-- true revival.
Or we go in more modern times to the preaching of Billy Sunday, Billy Graham, even the Jesus movement. I think I've seen a taste of legitimate revival. But the strict definition of revival is to bring something back to consciousness. It can speak of reviving something that is defunct, dead, inactive, unused, and restoring it to usefulness.
The idea of revival in a medical term means the patient's nearly dead. And something has to be done to breathe life back into that pore fella. He needs a revival. One of the greatest revivals in Jewish history happened under a young prophet by the name of Samuel. And we're going to start to read how that happened here in this section. It's a great period of their history.
Now it's a sad, period. I told you that the setting of this book takes place during the time of the judges. And so this is a shoulder period, from the era of the judges to the monarchy under King Saul, David, and Solomon. And the one that bridged that gap was Samuel, who also judged Israel.
He was one of the judges. He was a prophet. But he's regarded as the last judge, like in the book of Judges. He is called that, even here. We'll read that tonight, I believe. So he judged Israel.
And if you remember that sin cycle-- we talked about in Judges. We even mentioned it a couple of weeks ago, how there was this pattern that was repeated over and over and over again with the nation of Israel. They were walking with God. They got tired of God. They wandered away from God. They rebelled against God. So the Lord allowed the enemy to overtake them, oppress them.
Then when they were, oppressed, they cried out to God. God delivered them through a judge. Now, they walked with him again. Time went on. They forgot the Lord. They rebelled against the Lord. God let the oppressor come in. And there's cycle after cycle after cycle of that in the book of Judges.
To be honest with you, I used to read the book of Judges and wonder how a group of people could be so idiotic, so lamebrained, not able to learn a spiritual lesson. It's like, you guys, cop a clue. I mean, just learn from recent history, and you won't do this. And they kept doing it. And I wondered why. How could that be?
Then I studied church history. And I observed, in church history, the same pattern. You see it in generations, one generation following the Lord, the next generation walking a different direction, defining themselves differently. If mom and dad worshipped the Lord, I won't. If my parents were atheists, I'm going to be a Christian. There seems to be that rebellion to a previous generation that is partly an impetus.
But not only did I study church history. I began paying more careful attention to my own life. And I realized that the same tendency to form that same pattern exists in this heart, that there is something seductive and attractive in the temptations of the enemy. It was that way ever since the Garden of Eden.
There's just something about disobedience that looks so good. And the Bible even says sin is pleasurable for a season. It's a blast. If sin wasn't fun, nobody would do it. The reason people do it is because it's a blast. It's fun. It's fulfilling, momentarily.
But then it leaves you emptier than before, craving more. The practice has to be indulged in more. And a person finds themselves in a deep hole eventually. So I used to wonder about the book of Judges, that era. Then I looked at church history. Then I looked at Skip Heitzig, and I didn't have to go any further than that. I think I understand that proclivity in all of us.
Well, let's talk about how this revival happened. It happened because of a pandemic, so to speak, at least an epidemic. We know what happened, that the children of Israel got the Ark of the Covenant. Brought it into their camp, sort of as an amulet, a good luck charm. The Philistines stole it. Took it to their cities. There were five enclaves of the Philistine establishment.
As long as they kept the Ark among them, they faced difficulties. Their God Dagon fell face down in front of the Ark, worshipping, looking like it's worshipping. Then they raised it up again. Then it fell down again, hands broken off, head broken up.
Then, the worst thing happened. God started afflicting them with sores. And we explored a little bit of that last week, maybe a little too graphically, but I think responsibly, from a textual point of view, that it could have been, in part, a bubonic plague kind of an eruption, that rats carried this disease. The fleas then bit the humans, like the bubonic plague, and they got sores.
But the interesting thing is, the text of Scripture seems to indicate that these sores were providentially place by God. And it's as if God was spanking them to get their attention. And finally, the Philistines had enough of these afflictions, these bleeding, ulcerating sores-- some translations say hemorrhoids. And they said, get rid of the Ark.
Now, when all of this happens and the Ark comes back, that's going to be the seed for the revival that will break out eventually in Israel. Israel has not had an Ark for several months. In fact, in chapter 6, verse 1, it says the Ark of the Lord was in the country of the Philistine for seven months. Even though they're experiencing pain, even though they are experiencing these hemorrhoids, and no Preparation H in those days, they still held on to this thing for seven months. It was a trophy to them.
And apparently, it was a prideful thing. Because the priests, the leaders of the Philistines, have to remind the rest of the people why they need to send it back and not keep it any longer. Down in verse 5 of chapter 6-- I just read over these verses abruptly last week.
Therefore, you shall make, images of your hemorrhoids, and images of your rats that ravaged the land. And you shall give glory to the God of Israel. Perhaps he will lighten his hand from you, and from your gods, and from your land. Why, then, do you Harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts?
When he did mighty things among them, did they not let-- the they did not-- did they not let the people go, that they might depart? Here's what I find interesting about this. The Philistines, who weren't even from that neck of the woods-- they were from the Aegean Sea region, by way of Crete. They had immigrated far away-- are citing an event, the Exodus of Egypt, that happened 400 years before.
But it's as if it's still fresh in their memory banks. They're not Israelites. They're enemies of Israel. But even the enemy, even the pagan worshippers of Dagon-- emblazoned in their memory was what happened in the Exodus of Egypt 400 years before. And I say that's interesting because I just want you to understand that these pagan people look at an event that was only told them or recorded in the Bible. But they refer to it as a literal event, not some figurative story that got passed down, inflated to scare God's people into obedience, what you hear liberal so-called scholars say today.
These pagans said, nope, really happened. And it wasn't good for the Egyptians. We better get this Ark back quickly. So they're wise. They're looking back at history, and they're learning from history. They're looking back at what happened and said, you know, we need to learn from this. This is why we are doing what we're doing on Wednesday night. Same thing. We're looking back at history, to remember history and learn from history. Look at the good examples, bad examples, to learn and not repeat the mistakes, but take to heart those things that are applicable.
So, verse 7, now therefore here's their solution. Make a new cart. Take two milk cows which have never been yoked, and hitch the cows to the cart, and take their calves home, away from them.
Then take the Ark of the Lord. Set it on the cart. Put the articles of gold, which you are returning to him as a trespass offering, in a chest by its side. Then send it away and let it go. And watch. If it goes up the road to its own territory, to Beit Shemesh-- I'll explain what Beit Shemesh is in just a moment. Then he has done us this great evil. But if not, then we know that it is not his hand that struck us. It was by chance that it happened to us.
The Philistine advisors wanted to see for sure if this Ark of the Covenant, what happened to it, you know, the hemorrhoids and the Dagon incident, was really a punishment from Yahweh, the God of Israel, or if it was just by chance, a coincidence that it happened.
So it's pretty ingenious, actually. They said get two cows, two milk cows. These gals have had young. They have calves. They're nursing their calves. So when you let two milk cows who are nursing their calves go, their natural instinct is not going to go 10 miles down the road to Beit Shemesh, Israeli territory, but to go find their kids. That's what they do. They look for their offspring.
It would be against their nature to take this cart back to Israel. So that was the plan. That was the suggestion. So a few things could happen. Put it on the cart, and then just watch.
Number one, if those cowards return home to their babies, you know this was not a judgment from the God of Israel. Number two, if they just wander around out in the fields-- they're not really going anywhere directly, but are just sort of wandering around, well, it's probably just a coincidence, just happened by chance.
But if you take these two milk cows who've never been yoked-- so you have an unequal yoke. You fasten the yoke to them-- you set them on the road. If they go in a straight line 10 miles to the nearest border town, Beit Shemesh, this really was the Lord. And it's a good thing. We're getting rid of the Ark of God, and giving gold rats and gold hemorrhoids to boot.
So that was their plan. Then the men did so. They took two milk cows, hitched them to the cart, and shut up their calves at home. And they set the Ark of the Lord on the cart, and the chest with the gold rats and the images of the tumors.
Then the cows headed straight for the road to Beit Shemesh. And they went along the highway, loing as they went. Loing means mooing. So the cart's attached to them. And you-- can you picture it? Can you see him going down straight road? Moo! It was a moo-ving experience to watch that. I mean, holy cow! There they were!
When a milk cow is separated from her young, she begins to moo. If it's a high pitched moo-- now, I'm not an expert at the moo language. I've just done a little bit of research. If it's a higher pitched, it means there's danger, and they're warning their young, or they're agitated and really need to get back to their young. If it's a lower moo, it's because they feel like they are near their young. It's a good sound. It's a comforting sound.
So they're walking straight down the road, loing, mooing, as they are carrying the cart. Now, Beit Shemesh is a border town, as I mentioned. It's on the border of Judah and the Philistine territory. Beit Shemesh is the area where Samson hung around. And it's in an area-- still today, tour guides call it Philistine country.
So often, when we take a tour to Israel, we'll take one day, and spend that day in Philistine country, or at least one morning. Well, we'll go to Beit Shemesh. We'll go to the Valley of Elah, where David killed Goliath, and some of these areas where Samson was, so you can kind of see the lay of the land.
But Beit Shemesh is a Hebrew word that means place of the sun. Beit is Hebrew for place or house. And so just like Beit-lehem, Bethlehem, is the House of Bread, Beit Shemesh is house of the sun. So they're taking the Ark to the House of the Rising Sun, 15 miles West of Jerusalem.
Now the people-- versus 13-- now the people of Beit Shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley, which means that the time of the year was exactly this time of the year. Late May, early June is when the wheat harvest takes place in the Middle East. So it was this time of the year.
They're out in the fields. And they lifted their eyes, and they saw the Ark. And they rejoiced to see it. Now, mark that. They're so stoked. They're so happy. The Ark come back home. By the end of this little story, they'll also want the Ark gone from their midst.
They'll realize that you can't toy with God's holiness. The Philistines found that out. The children of Israel are also going to find that out. You don't mess with it. There's very unique specifications of how this thing is to be transported, and how you're to handle it. So they're rejoicing right now. But it won't stay that way.
Then the cart came into the field of Joshua, of Beit Shemesh, and stood there. A large stone was there. So they split the wood of the cart and offered the cows as a burnt offering to the Lord. Interesting how this cart, these cows just stop, next to a rock, raised up out of the ground like a shelf. Just stopped right next to it, like I'm at the place. I've got my GPS right. This is where you're to put the Ark, and these gold items as well.
So that was done. They split the wood. They offered the burnt offering to the Lord. Now, let me just throw something out at you. I do see a spiritual parallel between the cows of the Philistines at Beit Shemesh and missionaries who leave our country and go overseas. Now, you're thinking, Skip, your much learning has made you mad. That's quite a stretch. But let me explain.
It is against the nature of milk cows to leave their young, leave their comfort, and go to a foreign territory. And when the cows got there, the people rejoiced. Here's the parallel. I have met people who, like these cows, go against nature, leave the comfort of home, leave the pull of their family, the please and cryings of extended family-- don't go to the other side of the world.
But the Lord put some drive within them. I've got to take the gospel to that culture. And when they get to that culture, the people of that culture who receive Christ rejoice. Though it's hard, and though it's against nature, when the Lord puts that in you, you're not fulfilled till you do it.
I was talking to one of our members of our fellowship a couple of weeks back. He was a pastor in town. He now comes here, he and his wife. And their son is a missionary in Belgium, which is a beautiful place to be called by God. And he said, my son is moving his family to Niger, which is one of the most poverty stricken countries and most dangerous countries in the world.
And I said, man, he's leaving Belgium to go there? And then I immediately said, it has to be the Lord. Because you don't leave Belgium and go to Niger, unless it's the Lord. What would compel a person to do that? Put their family at risk, be in a place that's much more difficult? Only the Lord.
So the people rejoiced-- but again, not for long. Verse 15, the Levites took down the Ark of the Lord, and the chest that was with it, in which were the articles of gold, put them on the large stone. The men of Beit Shemesh-- I already read that. Sorry about that. Made sacrifices the same day to the Lord.
So when the five lords of the Philistines had seen it, they returned to Ekron the same day. So they're just scoping it out, spying down to see what indeed happened. Now these are the gold tumors which the Philistines returned as a trespass offering to the Lord-- one for Ashdod, one for Gaza, one for Ashkelon, one for Gath, one for Ekron-- those are the five cities of the Philistines-- and the gold rats, according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five lords, both fortified cities and country villages, even as far as the large stone of Abel, on which they set the Ark of the Lord, which stone remains to this day in the field of Joshua at Beit Shemesh.
Then, He, capital H-- that is God-- struck the men of Beit Shemesh, because they had looked into the Ark of the Lord. Now, I know some of you are immediately thinking back to Raiders of the Lost Ark, right? Because that's how we're culturally primed that way-- much, much more primed by a television show than the story of scripture. But that's where our mind goes. Because you remember the Nazi, right, drinking from the chalice?
He thought it was the chalice of Christ. And he melts and explodes. And the old knight says, he chose poorly! And then Indiana Jones had that turn.
So the art comes in. But the people of Beit Shemesh got curious. Like hey, let's look inside. It says he struck 50,070 men of the people. And the people lamented, because the Lord had struck the people with great slaughter. Now, I do want to just spend a moment and explain that.
The Ark of the Covenant was a box. But it was no ordinary box. I told you before, it was about 45 inches by 27 inches by 27 inches tall. The lid was made out of solid gold. That was called the mercy seat. Atop the mercy seat were two angels, two cherubim, whose wings touched each other. Inside that box was a copy of the law, the Ten Commandments of Moses that he got on Mount Sinai, a jar of manna, Aaron's rod that budded.
It was so specific of how it should be handled that only one tribe could handle it, could touch it, could move it-- the tribe of Levi. And they couldn't pick it up. And they weren't to put it on a cart. They were to put poles within ringlets that were on the side of it, so that the priests would carry it and bear it on their shoulders, until it was at a place where it would rest, where the Tabernacle stood.
And there were specific coverings that were on it. Now, I've pre-marked in Numbers. Let me just read a couple of verses to you, as God instructs Moses about the Ark. In Numbers chapter 4, this is the service of the sons of Kohath in the Tabernacle of Meeting, relating to the most holy things. When the camp prepares to journey, Aaron and his sons shall come. They shall take down the covering veil and cover the Ark of the testimony with it. Then they shall put on it a covering of badger skins and spread over that a cloth entirely of blue, and shall insert its poles.
A little bit further on, in chapter 4, but do this in regard to them, that they may live and not die when they approach the most holy things. Aaron and his sons shall go in and appoint each of them to his service and his task. But they shall not go in to watch while the holy things are being covered, lest they die.
It wasn't to be trifled with. You couldn't just like, hey, let's go ark watching today. Because if you went Ark watching, they would dig a hole and bury you later that day. Even the priest-- the legend has it, the story has it-- the priest, when he would go in once a year and sprinkle blood on the mercy seat, wore bells on the bottom of his garment, so that people outside could hear those bells ringing as the robes were moving while the high priest was doing his thing.
And as long as the bells were ringing, everything's OK. But if the thing stopped-- if all of a sudden, the bells stopped ringing, the people on the outside go uh-oh. Well, let's just wait a minute. Maybe he's just standing there, praying. That's just wait. Wait it out. Nope, no noise. No noise. No noise. I think he kicked the bucket. I think he's dead.
So they would have tied a rope on his ankle. And so they couldn't go inside and look at the Ark. So they had to pull the rope from the outside, the priest on the inside, pull him out. Because he's dead.
So the Ark comes to Beit Shemesh. And some of these guys, going I've always wanted to see inside the Ark, you know, like Raiders of the Lost Ark. They didn't say that.
So it says he struck 50,070 men of the people. And the people lamented, because the Lord struck the people with a great slaughter. Now, here's what I want you to know. Not all translations say 50,070. Some Hebrew manuscripts just say 70. And there's a-- as you would imagine, like any scripture-- a debate. Is it 50,070, or is it 70? And those that say it's 50,070 say that's because it talks about, in verse 19, at the end, he struck the people with a great slaughter. So it can't be 70. Has to be 50,070, because great slaughter.
I don't know. 70 people in my hometown dead all of a sudden would be a great slaughter, especially if I knew them, especially if they were relatives of mine. That's a great slaughter. So because some Hebrew manuscripts say 70, and Josephus, the Jewish historian says 70-- and people like Keil and Delitzsch, these great Old Testament scholars-- I have their multiset volume on Old Testament stuff-- say 70, for all these reasons.
It probably was 70 people. You say, well, why the discrepancy? Well, the Hebrew can be translated that out of 50,000 people, 70 died. And probably, there weren't 50,000 people that lived in Beit Shemesh at that time. I mean, just based on what we know about world population in the Old Testament, there may have been that many, possibly, in and around Jerusalem. But Beit Shemesh, no. But all of those surrounding areas? Yeah, there's probably about 50,000 people.
So probably, it's better to see this as out of 50,000, 70 kicked the bucket. Or the Lord struck them with a great slaughter is a better way to put it. And verse 20, the men of Beit Shemesh said, who is able to stand before this holy God? And whom shall it go up from us? Or to whom-- where are we going to send this?
So they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kiryat-Jirim, saying the Philistines have brought back the Ark of the Lord. Come down and take it up with you. Then the men of Kiryat-Jirim came and took the Ark of the Lord, and brought it to the House of Aminadab on the hill and consecrated Eleazar, his son, to keep the Ark of the Lord.
Now, I have a question. Yes, the Lord afflicted the Philistines. We've been through that last week. I'm not going to rehash it. It was uncomfortable. But it would seem as though God afflicted his own people more harshly. Maybe the Philistines looked inside the Ark. We're not told that they did or didn't. But I wouldn't put it past them to do that.
They carried it, not according to scripture. They put it on a cart and transported it, picked it up, put it, you know, where it should go. But it would seem that when it comes to the children of Israel, looking inside this thing, and then just smiting 70 of them dead, that's harsh. Why?
Because they had knowledge that the Philistines didn't have. God held them to a higher account because they were exposed to the revelation of God in their scriptures, their Old Testament, that the Philistines were not. So the greater responsibility lay on God's people, not the pagans, not the Philistines. It's like, OK. The Philistines are uncircumcised Philistines. You guys are God's people. You know better. You know what it says.
So great-- you have the Levites put it on the rock. But you're looking inside of it, when even high priests die? So there's greater light, greater responsibility. Now, later on. It's interesting-- David will move the Ark to Jerusalem, or he'll try. And he'll resort to transporting it, taking his cues not from scripture, but from the Philistines. Puts it on a cart and transports it down the road, instead of on poles, carried by Levites. That's the first time.
As it's going down the road, the cart starts to get uneven ground. They think it's going to tip. So one of the guys, just by instinct, right-- he's in deferential almost worship of the Ark-- puts his hand out to steady the Ark. His name was Uzan Uzah steadied the Ark. Put his hand out. As soon as he put his hand out to steady the Ark, God struck him dead.
David stopped. Left it in the House of Obed-Edom for three months. Came back three months later. Had the priests carry it. They walked six steps. David sacrificed an animal, walked six more steps, stopped, sacrificed an animal. Now, it's going up at a snail's pace-- real slow, real slow, because of what had happened with Uzah, steadyig the Ark.
And remember, if you remember that part of scripture, that David was angry with God for this. He was bitter. He was angry for a lot-- took him three months to get over it, until finally, he says, I've got to move this thing into Jerusalem. This is the Lord's city.
So the Ark here is now at Kiryat-Jirim. It is that the House of Aminadab, on a hill, probably kept inside. And they consecrated Eleazar, his son, to keep the Ark. So one of the priests is going to keep the Ark of the Lord in this house. So it was that the Ark remained at Kiryat-Jirim a long time. It was there 20 years. And all the House of Israel lamented after the Lord.
It says that the Ark of the Lord was there 20 years. More like, well-- here's what the text means by that. It was there 20 years before Samuel began his public ministry to the land. Because in actual fact, the Ark of the Lord stays in Kiryat-Jirim about 100 years, between 70 and 100 years, until we get to 2 Samuel chapter 6.
That's when David says, after all of his battles, when he's finally the king of all of Israel, that they decide-- he decides-- we've got to move the Ark of the Lord from Kiryat-Jirim to Jerusalem. So it was there a long time.
Now suddenly, in chapter 7, 20 years goes by, from chapter 6 to chapter 7. Samuel is not a little kid in the Tabernacle. He's grown up, and he's a circuit preacher. He goes, and he encourages the people of Israel, in Judah, in a little ring of towns, and goes, you know, preaches, and then comes back to Ramah, as we're going to see during that 20 year period.
And what this chapter reads like, once again is, it reads like a page right out of the Book of Judges. Philistines are still there. 20 years goes by. The Philistines are hassling them, oppressing them. They cry out to God, and God sends them a judge, a deliverer. And that is Samuel. You'll see that.
OK, so it was, the Ark was there a long time, 20 years. Then, verse 3, Samuel spoke to all the House of Israel, saying-- now, I have a question. Where did they take the Ark of the Covenant from originally? What city? Shiloh. It was in Shiloh, right in the middle of the country.
If you looked at a map of the land, Israel, from North to South, Jerusalem's more down South. Shiloh was on that raised ridge by Shechem, Mount Ebal, Mount Garizim, Samaria, that area right in the middle of the land-- Shiloh. That's where it stood. That's where the Tabernacle was. So here's my question. They got the Ark back. Why not send it back to Shiloh?
Here's why I think. And again, this may or may not be important to you. But I'm going to share with you. Because I was reading this morning from my devotions, the book of Jeremiah. I remember, I told you I'm going through the Bible again in 90 days. So I'm reading like 12 chapters this morning of Jeremiah. Jeremiah goes to Jerusalem during the reign of king Jehoiakim.
The Babylonians are pressing from the outside, about ready to swoop down, and take Judah captive. God says, Jeremiah, go to the House of the Lord, the temple, in Jerusalem, and give them a message. And here's the message. Tell them, unless you leave your sins, unless you turn around and come back to God, I'm going to make this house, this temple, like Shiloh. I'm going to destroy it like Shiloh. I'm going to make it desolate and without inhabitant like Shiloh.
So it would seem, from the clue in Jeremiah, that the Philistines, when the children of Israel took the Ark out, the Philistines came in and utterly destroyed Shiloh. It was a city no more. There wasn't a population base. The Tabernacle was gone. All that was left was a vestige of it. And that was the Ark. There was really no place to take it in Shiloh.
So it was probably destroyed. So they don't know where this thing should go. It just sort of stays down in this town, until it will eventually go into Jerusalem, in the Tabernacle. And then eventually, Solomon will build the temple. And that's where it will reside.
I've always loved studying clues on the Ark. Because to this day, there are rumors of the Ark of the Covenant being in a few different places on the Earth. And the question is always an intriguing question. What do you think it would do if the Ark of the Covenant were found today? What kind of a stir would that create?
And there's all sorts of stories that you could spin off that, including what we know eschatologically, of a temple going to be rebuilt. And boy, wouldn't that be an impetus, if you could find the Ark of the Covenant? It could change things dramatically, if that became an archeological find. Anyway, enough said on that. I don't want to detract too much. I just wanted to share that with you.
So the Ark's at Kiryat-Jirim. But I want you to look at verse 2. Because here's where the revival begins. It says all the House of Israel lamented after the Lord. That is the first step to a revival. It's the first step to a revival.
The people are restless. They're restless in their heart. When it says lamented after the Lord, it means they yearned for him. They yearned for him. They longed for him. Probably, they looked back, and they remember that at one time, there was Shiloh. It was standing. The Tabernacle was there. It was-- the Tabernacle was the center of our nation.
There was a centralized place of worship. Things were better. Things were simpler. Oh, how we longed for those days. That's where it began, with a restlessness. Revival always begins by an awareness that something is missing. Something is missing.
I, even look back to episodes in my Christian walk. And there are certain powerful moves of God that I miss. I long for them. And it says, not some of Israel-- but notice the description. All Israel-- it wasn't just a pocket of a few holier than thou folks, religious folks, who just, always thinking about God, talking about God.
It was everybody. It was a collective lamenting for it. That's revival. That's where it begins, when there's this general feeling. Think of 9/11, September 11th, if any of you can remember back that far. Isn't that funny, that we have to say that-- back that far?
But I remember a spiritual sensitivity in this nation. And church that week, every night was jam packed, people standing around because they couldn't find a seat. When you know something is missing, you look for it. You long for it. You do anything to get it.
So there was a lamenting after the Lord. And it affected all of them. It was Leonard Ravenhill who said, evangelism affects the other person. Revival affects you. Everybody was affected. Everybody wanted it. Restlessness.
Here's the second step, reception. Verse 3-- then-- then Samuel spoke to the House of Israel, saying, if you return to the Lord with all your hearts, and put away the foreign gods and Ashtaroths-- those pagan gods and goddesses we told you about-- from among you, and prepare your hearts for the Lord, and serve Him only, he will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.
Can I jog your memory a little bit? Do you remember back a few chapters, in chapter 3, how it opened up? It says the word of the Lord was rare in those days. There was no widespread revelation. It was rare. God wasn't speaking. Why? Because people weren't listening.
Now, they're listening. Now they're receptive. Now they're lamenting after the Lord. So now that they're receptive, now that their hearts are open, now that their consciousness are pricked, then Samuel spoke. Then he preached the word to them. Because it always takes a restless heart for it to become a receptive heart.
So now, they're receptive. And so now he speaks. Why is their heart so sensitive? Pain. Pain will do that. Inconvenience will do that. Suffering will do that. Remember what CS Lewis said? Pain is God's megaphone to rouse a deaf world. God gets your attention. God got their attention. Now he's speaking to them.
And the first words out of Samuel's mouth is, put away your foreign gods. Turn back to the Lord. So the children of Israel put away the Baals and Ashtaroths and served the Lord only. So the receptive hearts are open. Samuel preaches. Their faith grows, because faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
If you ever visit the town of Glasgow, Scotland, and you walk around the city, you'll see the city crest. It's on some of the old lamps. And there's a beautiful crest. And there's a motto. And only part of the motto remains. They've taken the original motto out.
The original motto, the city motto for the city of Glasgow, was a prayer. Lord, let Glasgow flourish by the preaching of your word and the praising of your name. Can you imagine seeing that on every lamppost, on every public building? Lord, let Glasgow flourish by the preaching of your word and the praising of your name?
Now, time has come and gone, and people believe differently. So the original city motto has been changed. Now, it just says let Glasgow flourish. Lord is dropped. Preaching of your word is dropped. Praising of your name is dropped.
Just let Glasgow flourish. Just innocuous, secular-- best wishes, Glasgow. May you flourish. The original fathers of that town realized Glasgow cannot flourish without the preaching of his word and the praising of his name. Samuel knew that. Let Israel flourish by the preaching of his word and the praising of his name.
I think that's a great motto. That should be Albuquerque's motto.
Lord, let Albuquerque flourish by the preaching of your word and the praising of your name. So, I'll preach his word. I promise, I won't deviate from that. I'll preach his word, his whole word, nothing but the word, so help me God.
And you do it, too. And you praise his name, and fill this city with praise. Let Albuquerque flourish by the preaching of his word and the praising of his name.
Well, Israel was on the way to a revival, because it says they did it. The children of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtaroths, and served the Lord only. That's the third step. After reception, and after restlessness, is repentance. They changed. They put-- they put it away.
Now, you know what repentance means. It means to turn around, right? So the idea is that you're turning away from sin and turning to Christ. And repentance is a key theme throughout scripture-- Old and New Testament. Jesus' first message was repent. John the Baptist's first message was a message of repentance.
So you see. It's not enough to add Jesus to your life. Repentance just doesn't mean yeah, you know, I've just sort of been doing my own thing. And now, I think I need a little Jesus. No, you don't add Jesus. You have to be willing to subtract and add Jesus.
You turn away from something. You remove something. If there's idols in your life, get rid of them. Turn away from them, and then turned to him. That's the repentance. And they did it. There was conviction.
You know, none of us will have revival-- and I want it. I yearn for it, personally, collectively, in the church, in our city, in our state, in our country, around the world. I yearn for it. I pray for it. But there always has to be-- you'll never have it unless people have a deep conviction, you know, that-- a restlessness. Something has to be done-- a desperation, even.
It was AW Tozer, if I get the quote right, who said, until a man is in trouble with his heart, it's likely he won't get out of trouble with his God. That's conviction. I'm in trouble, man. Things aren't right. Things have to change. Things have to be cut off. And now, you'll do something about it. There's a repentance. And until a man has gotten in trouble with his own heart, he won't get out of trouble with his God.
So they did it. And Samuel said, gather all Israel, versus 5, to Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord for you. So they gathered together at Mizpah. Drew water. Poured it out before the Lord. That's a symbol of repentance and devotion.
They fasted that day and said, we have sinned against the Lord. And Samuel judged the children of Israel at Mizpah. He acted as their judge, like the Book of Judges.
Now, when the Philistines heard the children of Israel gathered together at Mizpah, the Lord of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the children of Israel heard of it, they were afraid of the Philistines. So the children of Israel said to Samuel, do not cease to cry out to the Lord our God for us, that he may save us from the hand of the Philistines!
Samuel took a suckling lamb, offered it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. Then Samuel cried out to the Lord for Israel, and the Lord answered him. Now, as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel. But the Lord thundered with a loud thunder upon the Philistines that day, and so confused them that they were overcome before Israel.
Isn't it interesting, that the Philistines decided-- once Israel said, let's gather together and have a revival, the Philistines said, really? We're going to attack you. Don't be surprised when that happens to you. So you go, Lord, I'm making a fresh start. I devote and commit my life to you afresh. The enemy goes, oh really? Remember Jesus, when he was attacked by Satan. And it's a Satan left him until he had-- listen-- an opportune time.
The enemy looks for opportune times. And this seems so perfect, like an opportune time to attack. They're gathering for worship. Let's discourage them. Or, the idea they're so preoccupied in worship, it's a good time to attack. Because likely, we'll win. They're off being religious.
If you remember your history, you remember this happened in 1973 in Israel, on the holiest day of the year, called Yom Kippur. The Jews were in their synagogue. The Jews were at home. They turned off the radio. They turned off communication. It was the holiest day. It was a day of repentance, a day of worship.
So the Egyptians thought, perfect. The Syrians thought, perfect. The Egyptians set an incursion against Israel from the South. The Syrians attacked the Golan Heights from the North. It's called the Yom Kippur War. God gave Israel victory. But like what you're seeing in the Gaza Strip lately, they were attacked by their enemies to be overthrown by their enemies, on the holiest day of the year, knowing that their communications are going to be out, knowing that they're not listening to their commanders, knowing that they're vulnerable. The Philistines did that.
I love that it says the Lord thundered upon them. I'll get back to that in just a second. I want to read to the end of the chapter, so I can at least say we covered this chapter.
And the men of Israel went out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, and drove them back as far as below Beth-Car. And Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, thus far, the Lord has helped us. So the Philistines were subdued, and they did not come anymore into the territory of Israel. And the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel.
The cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron to Gath. And Israel recovered its territory from the hands of the Philistines. Also, there was peace between Israel and the Amorites. So Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. He went from year to year on a circuit to Bethel, center of the country, Gilgal, down by the Jordan River in Jericho, and Mizpah, up in the heights, closer to Jerusalem, and judged Israel in all those places.
But he always returned to Ramah, for his home was there. There, he judged Israel. And there, he built an altar to the Lord. Now, I would love to talk a little bit about Ebenezer, and about some of the other things in this chapter. But I want to close on something, and I'm going to close.
Notice, in verse 10-- you know, we read this, and just read through it. You know, whatever-- thunder happened. It says the Lord thundered with a loud thunder. on the Philistines that day. I don't know exactly what that means. Could have been just a thunderstorm that scared the wits out of them. Josephus, the historian-- it can't be corroborated with any biblical evidence-- says that an earthquake happened. Could be. Could be an earthquake and thunder.
But something scared them, and they were defeated. But I'm pointing this out, because again, you and I just read through this. But go back to chapter 2 of 1 Samuel. And here's this gal, praying out by the Tabernacle. Eli thinks she's drunk, because you know, she's mouthing the words, not saying them out loud.
But then the Lord gives her a son. She's back at the Tabernacle. And she prays. It's a song of joy, a hymn of joy. But I told you that this is only-- this prayer is only second to the Magnificat of Mary in the Gospel of Luke. And it's so powerful, and so amazing. But-- and Hannah didn't probably know this at the time. But she is a prophetess.
Notice, in verse 9 of her little song-- this is way before the events we're reading about, over 20 years. He will guard the feet of his Saints. But the wicked shall be silent in darkness. For by strength no man shall prevail. The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken in pieces. From heaven, he will thunder against them. The Lord will judge the ends of the Earth. He will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his Messiah, anointed, Messiah.
It's a very, very fascinating prediction that I think has ramifications all the way into the future, including something fulfilled by Christ. But isn't it interesting that she spoke this, and it happened in her son's lifetime? Thought you'd want to see that. So, well, we'll close with this. And next week, we'll take chapter 8, Israel wanting a king.
I'll say a few things about the Ebenezer stone as we get into that chapter. Probably just do that chapter. We'll be outside, under the stars, and/or under the clouds, or under the sun, or under the trees. But we'll be under the canopy of God's heaven, sky. And we'll enjoy it. I will, at least.
Father, thank you for this time that we've had together. Lord, thank you that you do help us, even as they attested to by putting up that stone, the stone of help, Ebenezer. You've helped us. And we all have a testimony to look back to, where you have helped us. You have worked for us.
Thank you, Lord, that we can flourish. And I pray that we would flourish as a congregation and as a city, by the preaching of your word. And the praising of your name. It's in the name of Jesus we ask, Amen.
For more resources from Calvary Church and Skip Heitzig, visit calvarynm.church. Thank you for joining us from this teaching in our series, Exposed.