Hello all! Yesterday we did “Samuel hears God” found HERE. Today’s story is from 1 Samuel 4-7.
The Israelites were living in the promised land (the land God had promised to them). They had a tabernacle (like a church) where they would worship God. Inside the tabernacle, there was a big curtain and behind the big curtain was the Holy of Holies–the special place where God’s Spirit lived and where the chief priest only went one time a year to be with God. There was a box in this special place called an ark. (Not a boat, like Noah’s ark–this was a box). It was called the ark of the covenant. A covenant is like a promise. God had made a promise to always be with His people and to always love them. (He promises us that too!)
This box had a lot of special rules. Only the Levites (the people in charge of the church) could touch it and only in a special way. It was supposed to stay in the tabernacle and stay covered behind the big curtain. If they had to move it, it was supposed to be covered with three blankets so the people couldn’t see it. (The Bible says we can’t look at God because He is so bright and amazing!) God even told Moses EXACTLY how it was supposed to be built. Inside the box they put the rules God gave Moses for the people to obey, they also put Aaron’s staff (his special stick) and they put some manna (that special bread God gave His people). God’s Spirit, His power was over the box. God was very specific in how He wanted it to look and how the people should treat it. They should be very careful and very worshipful. (Because it wasn’t “just” a box–it was God’s Spirit and power.)
Samuel was a grown up now and Eli the priest was now a grandpa. He had two boys who were grown ups too. One day, the Israelites went to fight the Philistines and they decided to take the ark of the covenant with them so they could win. (They did not ask God is they could). They fought and fought…but they lost and the Philistines TOOK the ark with them!
Eli’s two sons died during the fight and when Eli heard they died AND that the special box was gone, he fell over in his chair, bonked his head and he died too.
The Philistines took the special box (the ark) to one of their cities and put it next to one of their pretend gods. The next day, they found the pretend god statue face down on the ground in front of the ark (like it was worshipping the REAL God). They put the statue back up and the next day they found it again on the ground, like it was worshipping God, but this time the statue’s head and hands were broken off. The people in that city were scared and then they got very very sick and they decided to move the ark. “That God must not like us having His ark, we should move it!”
So they moved it to a different Philistine city. And all the people in THAT city got sick. They moved it AGAIN and those people got sick too! So they decided maybe they should just send it back to Israel!
They put the ark on a special truck and had two cows pull it. The cows brought the ark back to Israel. When it got to Israel, the Levites (the people in charge of the church who were allowed to touch the ark) carefully took it off the truck. Some of the Israelites didn’t obey God’s rules though and they peeked into the box and then they died.
Then they took the ark to a man’s house. His name was Abinadab. Abinadab loved and obeyed God. His son was put in charge of watching the ark and taking care of it. And it stayed at his house a looooong time. It SHOULD have gone back to the tabernacle…but it didn’t for a long long time.
The people did not take care of God’s special box. They did not respect God’s power or His instructions. The people in this story did not ask God if they could take the box from the tabernacle, the Philistines didn’t care about moving the box away from God’s people…the Israelites didn’t obey God and they looked inside…everyone thought God’s power was something THEY could move around. But no one is bigger, stronger, or smarter than God.
God is WONDERFUL and PERFECT and POWERFUL, He can be everywhere at all times and He is bigger than everything and He loves us and takes care of us….isn’t that amazing?! That’s why we worship Him! We love Him and pray to Him, we trust only Him…but the people in this story did not. They thought they could do whatever they wanted with God’s things…instead of respecting God and asking HIM what they should do.
God tells us what He wants us to know in the Bible–we can read His words and know what He wants. When God tells us to do something (or to not do something) we should always obey because we know God’s way is the BEST way.
For our craft today, we drew the ark of the covenant. (Instructions from Exodus 25). This is my 5 year olds’ interpretation of what it looked like.
Thanks for joining us again. Love to you all!