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Chapter Six (ESV)
19 And he struck some of the men of Beth-shemesh, because they looked upon the ark of the Lord. He struck seventy men of them, and the people mourned because the Lord had struck the people with a great blow. 20 Then the men of Beth-shemesh said, “Who is able to stand before the Lord, this holy God? And to whom shall he go up away from us?” 21 So they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kiriath-jearim, saying, “The Philistines have returned the ark of the Lord. Come down and take it up to you.”
- The elders in Ch 4 treated the Ark with superstition that led them to bring the Ark into battle against the Philistines and treating it as an object with magical power. God had intended for his people to treat the Ark with great honour and respect because the Ark has been closely linked with the manifestation of God’s presence among his people. However, in this chapter, the people of Beth Shemesh (Levites and priests among them) though they didn’t seem to hold the superstitious attitude of the Ark, were terribly judged by God for their irreverent curiosity in looking into the Ark.
- Call to memory, when in the last year, have I treated God and his things with neglect and disrespect? Was there any consequences? How did I feel? How was the issue resolved?
Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be — you get a fresh start, your slate’s wiped clean.
Count yourself lucky — God holds nothing against you and you’re holding nothing back from him.
When I kept it all inside, my bones turned to powder, my words became daylong groans.
The pressure never let up; all the juices of my life dried up.
Then I let it all out; I said, “I’ll make a clean breast of my failures to God.”
Suddenly the pressure was gone — my guilt dissolved, my sin disappeared. (Ps 32, MSG)