1 Samuel 5 and 6: Power and Holiness

arkreturned1 Samuel 5-6 tells of God’s holiness and power being manifested to both the Philistines and the Israelites.

While the Philistines have unlawful possession of the ark, God strikes them with plagues. As each successive town connects their troubles with the presence of the ark, they pass its care into another town’s hands – until they finally realize that they need to just send it back to where it belongs. Which they do. Continue reading

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1 Samuel 4: Misplaced Trust

arkcapturedChapter 4 of 1 Samuel tells the story of how the ark of the covenant was captured by the Philistines, and how the prophecies regarding Eli’s family came true.

The chapter starts off by explaining that Israel went to battle against the Philistines and lost. Four thousand Israelites were killed. After suffering enormous loss in their battle against the Philistines, they asked the age-old question, “Why did God allow this to happen?” Continue reading

Mercy & Grace

ArkOfTheCovenant-2In the Old Testament, we read in Exodus of “the mercy seat,” which was actually part of the ark of the covenant.

I counted 214 times that “mercy” is used in the Old Testament. It signifies not giving someone what they deserve – extending forgiveness instead of punishment.

A close cousin is “grace,” but this word is only used 38 times in the Old Testament. It takes the extra step over mercy, extending as a gift what is not deserved. Not just forgiveness, but more than that.

In the New Testament, we see the counts reversed. While “mercy” is only mentioned 58 times, “grace” is mentioned 128 times.

And now, instead of a mercy seat, we have a throne of grace.

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16, NKJV).

“For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).

I just thought that was really neat – maybe you find that neat, too!