The Return of the Ark by Sebastien Bourdon  1659
In 1 Samuel, the Ark of The Covenant has been captured by the Philistines.
The reason why God’s people lost in battle and as a result
lost the Ark is a story in itself – 1 Samuel 2-4.
But what happens with the Ark is what has caught my attention in my devotions this morning.
The Philistines capture the Ark and take it to one of their cities.
“God’s hand was heavy upon the people” of that city,
so they move it to another.
It happens again, so they move it to another…
Finally they decide to return it.
But here is how they do it;
1 Samuel 6:7-9
“Now then, get a new cart ready, with two cows that have never been yoked.  Hitch the cows to the cart, but take their calves away and pen them up.  Take the ark of the Lord and put it on the cart, and in a chest beside it put the gold objects you are sending back to him as a guilt offering.  Send it on it’s way, but keep watching it.  If it goes up to its own territory, toward Beth Shemesh, then the Lord has brought this great disaster on us.  But if it does not, then we will know that it was not his hand that struck us and that it happened to us by chance.”
Do you get what they are saying/doing?
After all they have gone through, they just want to test it and see.
So they do everything they can to cause that cart not to return to God’s people.
They put it on a cart hooked to 2 cows that not only have never pulled a cart before,
but have calves that they take away from them.
So what do you think these two cows would naturally do?
I am thinking they would probably hate being attached to this cart,
which is heavy enough without the Ark of the Lord.
And I would bet that they are very unhappy that their babies have been taken away from them.
I can’t imagine that they would get too far down the road
before the Ark was on the ground and the cows were headed back to their babies.
Seems like the Philistines did everything they could to keep control.
Wow!  Can I be like that!
So often I “hand it all over” to the Lord.
So often I ask for Him to take my burdens.
So often I “let go and let God”
and yet I still worry.
I still carry it.
I still try to make the outcome happen the way I would like it to happen.
What happens in this story?
The cows obeyed the creator of the cows.
They returned the Ark to His people,
even if all their instincts were to return home,
to go the path that they wanted to go –
back home to their babies, where all is safe and comfortable.
Why is it so hard for me to obey my creator?
Even when I know with all my heart
that His way of living is the best way?
Even when I know that He not only can,
but desires to take care of me,
to bring my life joy and peace?
Dearest Jesus, you tell us over and over in Scripture
to lay our burdens at your feet, 
to trust you, to learn from you
and even though I desire to do all that, 
knowing that you can and will provide and take care of me,
I often keep one finger on it,
“just in case”.
Oh, Jesus, help me to truly let it go and let you take care of it all.

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