1 Samuel 6

Talks for Growing Christians

The Ark of the Lord Brought Back to Israel

1 Samuel 6

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Lesson Number 7

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. God shows mercy when people are ignorant of His laws.
  2. God holds people accountable when they are not ignorant of His laws.

Practical Application

  1. Let’s trust God to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think.


  1. Who was in possession of the Ark of the Covenant when this chapter begins?
  2. Why were they so frantic to send the Ark back to Israel?
  3. Why did the Philistines send the Ark back with an offering of molded golden tumors and rats?
  4. What specific instructions had God given in His law as to how the Ark of the Covenant was to be handled and carried?
  5. Were the people of Beth Shemesh ignorant of God’s laws?


  1. The Ark of the Covenant had been taken captive by the Philistines and put in the Temple of Dagon.
  2. God showed His supremacy by causing the idol of Dagon to fall down before the Ark. Everywhere the Ark was moved for the next seven months, the Philistines were smitten with tumors.
  3. The Philistines believed they could appease the angry gods by presenting an offering that represented their problem and showed how they were experiencing the judgment of the gods.
  4. Only the priests and Levites were to be involved. The Ark must be carried on poles, and not handled by human hands. Anyone who disobeyed did so at the cost of their own life.
  5. No. Beth Shemesh was a Levitical city, and the Levites were responsible to know God’s laws and communicate them to others.


  1. Discuss how God shows mercy when people are ignorant of His laws. Should this truth be used as an excuse for sin?
  2. When we come into God’s family we are expected to obey His Word. When we come to know His Word, then we are held accountable when we disobey His Word. Discuss how and why God must discipline His disobedient children.


  1. Samuel and other godly Israelites must have been amazed when the Ark of the Covenant was returned by itself without war. God is able to dramatically answer your prayers as well.

Key Verses

  • “Now the people of Beth Shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley; and they lifted their eyes and saw the ark, and rejoiced to see it.” 1 Samuel 6:13

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