20 Years of Heartache

1 Samuel 6:1-7:17


The Ark has become a proverbial Hot potato

A) Review – Ch.4 Encamped at Ebenezer – Great idea – Take the ark { Captured


B) Ch. 5 Dagon – The ark has got to go – but problem was wherever they sent it – the people were inflicted with TUMORS –


C) Ch. 6 Leaders Called the priest & Diviners – what do we do?


RD V.1-6 


Their advice: Send it back - The suggestion made by the priest, is, “Don’t send it back empty; you’ve trespassed against the God of Israel. 

A)If you want to be free of these plagues, when you send the ark back, send back a trespassing offering with it;


B) 5 Golden tumors / 5 golden Rats { One for each main city of the lords of the Philistines –

1) Gold = Value / Tumors – the Plague / Rats – their view of themselves before the God of Israel – like Mice - 


C) Note v. 6 Their advice : “don’t harden your hearts towards God, because it will only get worse.  


D) Remember what happened to the Egyptians: they were smitten by ten different plagues. 

1) Every time they hardened their heart against God, it got worse.  So learn from them.” 


E) It is always wise to learn from history.  It is always wise to look back and see how God has worked in the past, learning from the mistakes that others have made.  Thus, the priests are encouraging them, “Don’t be like the Egyptians who harden their hearts.”  

It is interesting that God said this very same thing to His own people in the Psalms.  “Harden not your hearts, as you did in the day of rebellion in the wilderness.”  

A) So the priests are saying, “Hey!  Learn.  Don’t harden your hearts.”


B) Good word for our nation !!! Learn from History – what has happened over time to nations that rebelled against God

1) Why it should be a serious thing – talking with Aaron about Neb – Mighty but humbled …………………..

                                                                   V.7-9   THE TEST


Here, the Philistines are conducting an experiment. They think all the

calamity of the plagues has been from the LORD God of Israel.

A) But they are not 100% sure. So, they devise another test.

The test was simple, and stacked against God.


B) By nature, two milk cows which have never been yoked should not

pull a cart at all, and  they should have resisted their yokes.


C) Additionally, they decided to take their calves home, away

from them.

1) The “maternal instinct” of the cows would have drawn them not towards the land of Israel, but back home to their own calves.


D) SO The Philistines devised a test that “forced” the God of Israel to do something miraculous to demonstrate He had really been the cause of the plagues upon them.

                                                                                RD V.10-12


Then the cows headed straight for the road to Beth Shemesh:

A) They should not have done this. The cows should have been resisting the yoke, because they had never been harnessed before.


B) They should have headed back for their Philistine homes out of concern for their young calves. But they headed straight for Beth Shemesh

C) Not only were they headed straight for the road, they did

not turn aside to the right hand or the left.

1) They didn’t meander around the way; they went straight where they

were supposed to go!


D) What a miracle! Two cows who had never pulled a cart before, either alone or together. No driver leads them, yet they leave home, and march the ten miles or so to a city they had never been to.


E) They leave their own calves behind, and go straight on a certain road, with never a wrong turn, never a stop, never turning aside into the fields to feed themselves, never turning back to feed their own calves.


F) God was able to overpower the instinctive nature of the cows.

           He can overpower our instinctive nature also.

1) See Who we are in Jesus has more power than who we are in Adam.


Note also how the Philistines transported the Ark – A CART – DAVID LATER WOULD FOLLOW THEIR EXAMPLE 2 SAM 6

A) Result – a man would die – David mad – But God had given thorough instructions – Ark carried by Priest – Poles – rings on the side


                                                                                              RD V 13-15


B) Now the fact that they were in the fields Harvesting means it was probably May or June –


C) Bethshemesh was a city that was given to the Levites. 

1) It’s set on a knoll above a beautiful valley that stretched on down to their coastal plains. 


D) It is in the area of Eshtaol where Samson grew up.  This was a glorious, beautiful valley.


As they were harvesting their wheat, when they looked up, hearing, no doubt, the lowing of these cows. 

A) They looked up and saw this cart: on it was the ark of the covenant. 


B) You could imagine the emotions and reactions of these people when they saw the ark of God coming back to them in this fashion. 

1) They rejoiced to see it. 


C) Note v.15 .  the priests were the ones that took the ark off of the cart. 

1) They broke the cart up, made a fire of the wood, burned the cows as a burnt offering unto the Lord, and had a great celebration.   RD V 16-21


Now it seems that during this time of celebrating some of the men of Israel got Curious – what is in the Ark anyway – Looked – Slaughter

A) Speculation on the # 50,070 – 70 of the 50,000 ?  A lot of people for a small place – only 70,000 in Jerusalem at this time - 


B) The point is they were not showing a respect for God a Reverence for God – Disregard for his holiness

1) Problem today – The Big guy – The man up stairs / A good Buddy


C) Listen we must not forget that the only way that we can even approach God is thru Jesus Christ { His Death - 


God is Holy !!! – One of the most used Descriptions – Holy Holy Holy

A) We need to remember that – Treat Him w/ reverence & respect


B) Paradox – Closeness of a Father – ABBA – But also the respect as God – where is the Balance

1) Only as we remember what it took – for Him to become FATHER


C) See they asked a good question Who is able to stand before this holy LORD God?   They offended God’s HOLINESS

1) Now, they know the LORD is holy, but it doesn’t make them want to be closer to God; it makes them want to distance themselves from God.

D) The PSALMIST asked a similar question  Ps 24:3-4

3 Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,


E) How made clean – thru the blood of Jesus – only way of Access before a Holy God –

                                                                  CH.7 v.1- 2


For 20 long years Israel was snared by sin

A)  After 20 years they FINALLY lamented That is what happens to you and I  Sin FINALLY brings lamenting

                                                                   RD V.3-4



2Co 7:10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.


C) SO we see that very thing happen in 1 Sam. 7


Ba-al was the major male deity of the Canaanites He was the most prominent of their deities He was the son of Dagon

A) He was the god of the intellect and prosperity / He was the god who would bring them success


B) Ashteroth  was the oldest and most prominent of the female              Canaanite deities

1) She was worshipped throughout every other culture in the ancient world

2) “Astarte” in the Greek culture

3) Ishtar in the Babylonian culture'

4) Venus in the Roman culture


C) She was the goddess of sexuality - She was worshipped by means of al sorts of perverted sexual practices

1) These two gods would constantly seduce the Israelites / and they are prominent in our world today:  BEWARE

Today we in the Church can suffer from Intellectual Pride

A) In many ways the most learned – technological age – but the Church is powerless


B) Intellectual Pride has led us to look to our own ingenuity and Devices to reach people instead of the Lord


C) Prosperity here in the States has brought a laziness & powerlessness to the Church


D) And one of the biggest problems in the Church today is Sexual immorality – Pornography and the like


E) Another god was Molech – Sacrifice Children -  Today Abortion

1) Millions every year -  cover sin / convenience - / selfishness


Paul gave insight into these pagan deities – 1 Cor 10:20 Sacrifice to Demons – The idols might be gone – the spiritual entities aren’t

A) New Day – same TACTICS – new Pitch –


B) So Samuel calls the nation back to Purity -   RD v 5- 6


C) So it was a time of spiritual renewal.  A time for the confession of sins. 

1)It seems that spiritual renewal usually begins with the confession of sins. 


D) When you read of some of the great revivals, they sprang out of confession of sin.  The people began to confess, “We have sinned against God!”  


E)A revival was then prompted & sparked as the result of confession of sins. 


F) And as an OUTWARD sign of an inward reality of washing hands of idolatry, they poured out water before the Lord

1)  So too Baptism, communion, the lifting of hands, the bowing of knees ALL are expressions of an inward attitude  an OUTWARD display of where we are at

So They are getting RIGHT with the Lord - BUT - Whenever you are getting RIGHT with the Lord, you can         expect a FIGHT from the devil

V 7 Now when the Philistines heard that the children of Israel had gathered together at Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the children of Israel heard of it, they were afraid of the Philistines


A) Right after RESTORATION  you will face a CONFRONTATION

      Right after a BLESSING you will face a BATTLE


B) EXAMPLE: After the Baptism of Jesus ("This is my beloved                 son) Jesus faced the devil......

1) After the transfiguration of Jesus they came down from the mountain and faced a demon.


C) Whenever you have a GREAT day in the Lord, Satan will be           there to fight you

1) Satan NEVER has a good day - Satan NEVER says: "I think I'll back off CCV"  Continually Pray


D) Satan NEVER says: "I think I'll give so and so a break this week"

1) Every day, minute, and hour he seeks to tear you down


E) SO AFTER a blessing, brace for a blasting!!!!


v8 So the children of Israel said to Samuel,"Do not cease to cry out to the LORD our God for us, that He may save us from the hand of the Philistines."

A) So they turned their fears into prayers.  The Bible says, “to cast all your cares on Him; for He cares for you.” 


B) The Bible tells us that we aren’t to be worried.  We are not to be full of care. 

1) How we need to learn to take our fears, our cares, misgivings, and just cast them on the Lord, saying, “Lord, help us!” 


C) So they said to Samuel, ‘Hey, don’t stop praying Samuel.’  RD V 9-12

D) So God joined the battle and just confused them. 

1) The tremendous thunderstorm gave chance for the Israelites to come rushing down from Mizpeh, which is on a higher mount, onto the Philistines. 


E) They began to really wipe them out. 


Now there are two things that I want to note here: Beth Car in v.11 the name means the House of the Lamb –

A) V.9 Samuel began by sacrificing a lamb – interesting picture


B) The day of victory BEGAN with the sacrifice of a lamb and ENDED at the house of the lamb


C) Victory ALWAYS starts with THE Lamb Jesus Christ and comes to        completion in the lamb

1) Our victory started on Calvary and will end in our home in the heavenlies

   All of Heaven sings Worthy is the lamb


D) It STARTS with the sacrificial work of Christ and ENDS with                           us dwelling in the house of the Lord forever


2nd things AFTER the victory, Samuel erected a stone monument

A) ebenezer  = the Stone of help- 


B) 20 yrs before they were defeated here at Ebenezer – Ark dibocal

1) This time they put their trust in the Lord instead of an Ark and God delivered them – they set up this stone for REMEBRANCE


C) Remembering what the Lord did in response to their prayer

1) We need to Erect - Ebenezer stones – Journals – Plants – paintings


D) Painting of a Shepherd -  Encouragement -




The EBENEZER STONE stands as a great encouragement to me

A) I KNOW that the Lord hasn't brought me this far just to dump me


B) IF the Lord has brought me this far, THEN He will take me ALL the way


Ps 138:8 The LORD will work out his plans for my life—for your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever.


Php 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which has begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ:


1Th 5:24 24Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.


C) THIS is the value of raising your EBENEZER STONES

1) He has been faithful to me thus far BECAUSE He is going to bring all of the way to heaven


D) Current staff Changes -  God is Faithful


SO the Ebenezer stone is a reminder of the Faithfulness of God – but The EBENEZER STONE  also keeps us from leaning on the arm of the flesh

A) See The EBENEZER STONE reminds us that we have come this far       BECAUSE of His work


B) Having BEGUN IN THE SPIRIT may we FINISH in the Spirit


Ga 3:3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now      made perfect by the flesh?   


C) Personally - reliance on the Lord


D) Also as a Church - Do we say:  "Thanks for the start Lord, now we'll take it from here"....... "We'll get our finance committees and growth committees"

1) NOTE: The MINUTE we look to man the church will fail

E) Legacy of Calvary Chapel Vista – Pastor at Conference – Everywhere I go – I meet guys from your Church –

1) That is a God thing – 4 more guys this year –


The Ebenezer stones in our lives – solidify our confidence in God