4/28 1 Samuel 6:6

6 Why should you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? After he had dealt severely with them, did they not send the people away, and they departed?

The LORD brought His word to pass in one day. The Philistines went to war with Israel. Eli's sons were killed. The Ark of the Covenant was captured. When Eli heard the news, he fell backward and broke his neck and died.

The Philistines put the ark in their temple. The next morning, the statue of their god, Dagon, was found lying on the ground before the ark. They stood it back up. The next morning it was on the ground again with the head and arms broken away from the trunk. The people began to grow tumors and some died. They realized these were judgments from the God of Israel and decided they wouldn't make the same mistake the Egyptians made. This shows us that even four-hundred years after the exodus the people of the land were still familiar with the story.

To discover if it was really God or just a coincidence, they took the ark and put it on a cart. Two milk cows that had never been yoked were yoked to the cart. Their calves were penned up. The cows left their calves and took the ark back to Israel and the plagues on the Philistines ceased.

God disciplines us today as well. Nations and individuals experience His heavy hand. Today, however, hearts are so hard that they will not even consider that it may be because of their rebellion against Him. God was faithful to show His power to the Philistines and some of them may have come to believe in the one true God, just as many Egyptians did. It is the love of God that afflicts to turn us from our false ways and show us what is true. There are times when nothing short of desperation will turn us to Him.

Consider: What will it take to turn our nation back to God?