“The ark of the Lord was in the country of the Philistines seven months. And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners and said, ‘What shall we do with the ark of the Lord?’” (6:1-2). I’m reminded of the “dog catches car” theme; you know, someone who has done or achieved something difficult but doesn’t know what to do next. Years ago, we had a miniature dachshund, Fritz, who loved to ride on the back of the car seat as my dad drove through the orange grove. Once, Fritz grabbed an orange tree limb and out he flew through the open window. So, you get what you want (dog catches car, Fritz bites orange tree limb) but what, then?
The Philistines had captured the ark. They had what they wanted but with it came terrible judgment by way of sickness, which they did not anticipate and did not want. What to do? They sent the ark back to Israel but, even then, “the Philistines drew near to attack Israel. But the Lord thundered with a mighty sound that day against the Philistines and threw them into confusion, and they were defeated before Israel” (7:10). The Philistines provide a good case study for us: we should be careful what we wish for. There’s a Garth Brooks song – “Unanswered Prayers” – in which he sings, “Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers . . . Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.” God knows what we need. Oh, that our desires would always line up with God’s good aims for us!
Seek ye first the kingdom of God
And His righteousness;
And all these things shall be added unto you.
Ask, and it shall be given unto you;
Seek, and you shall find.
Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
Hallelu, Hallelujah! -- Karen Lafferty, 1971 (Matthew 6:33)