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This week our lesson was titled "The God Of Israel Cannot Be Captured" from 1 Samuel 4-6. Use the teaching points below to help guide your family worship time this week.
After the Philistines defeat Israel in a battle, the elders of Israel wonder why this defeat happened. Unfortunately, they fail to ask God. Had they asked God, through his prophet they would have learned that they lost the battle because they are not following God.
When Israel brings the ark to the battleground, they show that they do not understand the ways of God. They do not think about their lack of faithfulness, their disobedience, or their lack of repentance. Their trust is in the objects and rituals of their religion not in God. They think a decorated wooden box can save them. Instead they lose the battle and the ark of God is captured.
Although the ark is captured, God doesn’t allow it to be destroyed. In fact, wherever the Philistines take it, God brings judgment on their people and their false gods. In spite of Israel’s sins, God remains faithful to his people and judges the Philistines.
During the seven months the ark is with the Philistines, they develop a holy fear of God. God gives the Philistine priests wisdom about how to return the ark and lift the curse from their people. In some ways, the Philistines seem to fear God more than the Israelites do! When they set the cows loose pulling the ark on a cart, God leads the cows directly back to the people of Israel. The ark may have been taken from Israel for a while, but it was never out of God’s control.
How does today’s Bible story fit into God’s greater plan of redemption?
Read 1 Samuel 7:1–11.
Samuel’s offering of a lamb (1 Samuel 7:9) was a picture of Jesus, the Lamb of God, who died on the cross to save us from our sins. While Samuel was sacrificing the lamb, the Philistines were marching against Israel to attack. But because Israel confessed their sins and offered up a lamb, God remembered his promises to Israel and turned against the Philistines and defeated them.
Every time we see a lamb sacrificed for sinners in the Bible, it should remind us of God’s plan to send Jesus to die on the cross in our place.