Let me catch you up:
Israel has gone into battle with the Philistines, took the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant with them – without His permission. Now as a result, the Ark has been stolen by Israel’s enemy.
“. . . God’s power was against the city (5:11b).”
We need to truly know in our hearts that God is ruler over all. He is the One we must give account to. He is our good Father, who disciplines us – out of love for us (see Heb. 12). Even though the enemy they fought were not God’s people, God displayed His power in hopes that they would see His holiness and their need for Him (see Joshua 2:8-11) .
God is holy, and we all need to acknowledge His holiness. This is why we are able to see God’s power reign, as He shows the people He is not someone to take lightly.
When God’s power came against these pagan people, they moved the Ark to a different place and the same thing happened to its town’s people. People continually were afflicted and cried out, because the Living God had come against them! And in the town of Ekron, they actually cried out to heaven for help (5:12).
While they did not follow God in any way, they found themselves in a crucial place – where all they could do is begin crying out to God.
Experiencing God’s glory is indeed a privilege. However, God’s glory had been taken away from Israel – when the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant was moved and yes stolen.
Now for the testimony of God’s love and power:
God brought His glory back to the people He loved and cherished. Even though they acted wrongly, He chose to allow them to experience His Presence through the Ark. That’s grace, friends!
There came a time for celebration and absolute joy, when God’s glory returned to Israel (see 6:13-15). The people worshipped God.
Israel, God’s people, worshipped the Lord. They spent time in His Presence and enjoyed Him, for the Lord and His glory had returned to Israel.