Sunday School Lesson 317 The Philistines Capture and Return the Ark of the Covenant

Lesson: 317

Lesson Name: The Ark is Captured and Returned
Theme: God's Wonderful Ways / Mocker's Consequences

Reading: 1 Samuel 4, 5, 6

Memory Verse: Psalm 96:5
Memory Verse Text: All the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens.

Attention Getter: Have you ever seen a live high tension power line sparking and been tempted to take hold of it?  No, you better not!  What would happen?  Similar to the power line, God is not to be trifled with.

Talking Points

Point 1: The two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were to be judged for their sins; they were guilty of bringing dishonor to the testimony of the Lord and are linked with the Ark of the Covenant of God in 1 Samuel 4:41 Peter 4:17 says, "The time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God."
Point 2: Israel did not seem to be able to discern that God was offended; they all shouted in triumph when the Ark entered the camp because they thought it would help them win the battle (1 Sam. 4:5).  However, the Philistines were victorious and Eli's two sons were killed.  When Eli, 98 years old, found out that that the Ark had been taken, he dropped dead; the Ark was still dear to his heart.
Point 3: The Ark of God was also very important to Phinehas' wife.  After hearing all the tragic news from the battle, she went into labor and gave birth to a son that she named Ichabod, which meant, "The glory is departed from Israel."  The Ark was the symbol of the presence of God.
Point 4: The Philistines took the Ark, but it only brought them trouble: their idol fell before it and the people were plagued with tumors and death (1 Sam. 5:3,6).  The Philistines learned the hard way that no one can stand before the Lord, and sent the Ark back (1 Sam. 6:20,21).  Note as well that returning the Ark only part way was not sufficient; even in Bethshemesh where they failed to show reverence, the Philistines were smitten with a great slaughter.