Now the people of Beth Shemesh were harvesting wheat their wheat in the valley, when they looked up and saw the ark, they rejoiced at the sight (1 Samuel 6:13 NIV).
There are seasons of disappearances of God’s favor in the life of His children. It can be caused by many things. Sin and disobedience can easily become causes of such disappearance. At the end of the Book of Judges we find this comment: “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit” (Judges 21:25 NIV). It was in such a period that the ark of God was taken into captivity by the Philistines. It showed how much God’s favor was taken away from the Israelites during that period in their history since the ark of the covenant was symbolic of God’s visible presence in their midst.
This experience of the Israelites show that unless your heart is right with God, He is not present in any religious activity that we might engage in. The Israelites forgot that the ark in itself had no power but it was given its glory by the appearance of God’s Glory in between the cherubim on its top. So when they took it to battle, because God’s presence was not with them, the ark itself was captured.
But God was not willing to let His name be defamed. So He sent judgments on the Philistines and their gods. So they decided to sent the ark back with great respect. And when it came, and the people of Israel saw it, they rejoiced at the sight!
We are reminded of how the wise men were overjoyed when they saw the star when they came out of Herod’s place (see Matthew 2:10). Both the Israelites and the wise men had a season of disfavor with God when the guiding presence of God was absent for a while. So it can happen in your life too.
The Israelites lost God’s presence with them because of their willful disobedience. Possibly the wise men lost it because they went to the capital city thinking that kings are born there. Did they lose sight of the star because they set their sights on the capital city? We do not know for sure. But when the Israelites saw the ark come back they rejoiced. So also when the wise men saw the star, they were overjoyed. What about you? Maybe God is graciously returning to you today. Some token of His favor coming back to you, you are going to see. Is your heart prepared to rejoice? He will come even when your heart may not be expectant about it!