1 Samuel 6 is about 2 cows. And the ark.

The story is about 2 cows that haul the ark of God back to Israel from the Philistines on a wooden cart. When the Philistines captured the ark in 1 Samuel 5, they thought they had won a victory over the God of Israel. Instead, when the ark resided in Philistia the Lord brought them chaos, panic, tumors, and death. As a result, they decide to give the ark back to Israel. 

When Israel receives the ark they begin to examine and inspect it. They are curious about the ark. They want to look at the ark.

But they knew that was forbidden. They knew the first thing they should have done was cover the ark and put it in the tabernacle. God instructed his people in the writings of Moses about how they should handle and transport the ark. However, God's people rejected his word and decided to inspect the ark like it was a new car. Consequently, the chapter ends with God killing 70 men for violating his words and the people of Israel mourning the loss of these men.

What does this story with the cows and the ark teach us?

It teaches you the importance of following the Word of God when we worship God. The Triune God does not want his people to add unbiblical traditions, cold formality, cultural trends, or personal convenience to worship. This truth was at the heart of the Reformation five centuries ago. The Roman Catholic Church added many unnecessary and unbiblical elements to worship and were not following the Word of God. As a result, many people only knew the law of God and did not know the gospel.

They knew what God demanded of them, but they did not know what God had accomplished for them at the cross.

As you think about the story from 1 Samuel 6 and the anniversary of the Reformation, remember the importance of reading, understanding, and obeying the Word of God as you worship him. God receives the most glory when you are obeying his Word in worship instead of adding to it.


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