Miracle in a Cart

Each week we share guest devotionals. The views expressed below are those of the writer and may not reflect the views of Rejoice Marriage Ministries or the Steinkamps.

Has the Lord placed a devotional on your heart that you would like to share with other standers?

Israel had grown away from God, incorporating the pagan worship and beliefs of the people they lived among (the very people they had NOT driven out as God instructed). This resulted in their complete defeat at the hands of the Philistines and the loss of the Ark of God. When we go it alone, without God, and when we turn away from God, we, too, can lose God’s presence in our lives. He often removes His presence to teach us how much we need it. In their spiritual laziness Israel ended up losing what they loved.

The Ark destroyed and humiliated the Philistine pagan god, Dagon. God can and will defeat and destroy any idol in our lives – whether we place them before Him voluntarily or have them brought before Him involuntarily. Either way, God will destroy each idol that is taking His place in our lives.

When the Philistines took the Ark they considered it a great victory. But taking what was not theirs set them up for God’s terrible judgment. Each city the Ark was in suffered greatly at the hands of God. Adultery can bring about this same punishment from God. So can any non-covenant relationship, be it marriage or dating. Our covenant marriage is the one recognized and blessed by God; other relationships are doomed to fail. I’ve learned this the hard way. Although I was not the one to instigate divorce or to leave my marriage, each relationship I have tried to make work since my divorce has instead either crumbled at my feet or blown my entire world apart.

The Philistines became desperate to get rid of the Ark. God struck them down with such calamity they eventually became eager to return the Ark to where it belonged. Let us pray for God to work this way in any non-covenant marriage and/or relationship. May God orchestrate the return back to us of what has been taken from us and taken to the enemy’s camp. May we remember God can cause such chaos in the enemy’s camp because He is ALSO in control of the enemy’s camp.

Our miracle can come to us on any day, at any time, as we’re doing anything. The Israelites who spotted the Ark approaching them did not wake up that morning expecting to see the Ark coming to them on a dusty road, in a cart, led by unhappy cows. They could’ve easily disregarded the whole thing as just common cows pulling a common cart. It’s easy for us to not easily recognize God’s answer when He sends it. God never answers as we expect. Look for miracles in common things, on common days, as we’re doing common tasks.

Five Philistine rulers followed behind the Ark. Often when prodigals return home they bring parts of their prodigal world with them – addictions, children, issues, people. As we welcome our miracle and the beginning of our restoration, may ties to our prodigal’s “other” life be broken, and may ties that still exist (i.e., children) become positive and not harmful. May our hearts be ready to accept these pieces of our prodigal’s journey.

The return of the Ark did not mean Israel could go back to treating it without the honor and respect it commanded. The ones who disrespected the Ark were struck down just as the Philistines were struck down for their own disrespect. Restored marriages, relationships, families are still in danger and must be covered in prayer and obedience to God to protect them from being taken again. We have to fight for our marriages and families continuously. The wolf is always at the door.

Samuel told Israel what they must do to get in good standing with God again. Inner repentance and outer repentance had to be present, in sincerity, as they repented and got rid of their idols. Then and only then were they restored back to God.

God heard Samuel’s intercession for Israel at Mizpah and He responded to Samuel’s faith, sending His answer as Samuel was still praying for that answer. He fought for Israel, sending a great thunder that confused the Philistines and allowed for their defeat at the hands of Israel (or rather Israel’s God). God hears our prayers for our prodigals; He hears them before we even start praying them.

God did not stop until the restoration He planned for Israel was complete. This took a long time, over 20 years definitely. God did not, during that time, change His mind about Israel’s restoration, and He did not forget. The promised restoration happened, in God’s time, in God’s way, for God’s glory. God will complete our restoration once He begins it. Regardless of time, impossibilities, challenges, or delays, it WILL happen and it WILL be complete.

God used Mizpah (“watchtower”), the site of Israel’s fear, Samuel’s intercession, the Philistines’ misunderstanding and needless attack upon Israel, to become the site of Israel’s great restoration. God can use our places of great pain, betrayal, lack and loss, as the places of miracles, fulfillment. God will replace our mourning with joy, our brokenness with His healing, our lack with His providence.

God’s vision of restoration for Israel was not theirs. I’m sure things happened that confused them, maybe frightened them, and it’s difficult to see anything good in suffering. They wanted the Ark back; He gave them that plus more.

Our God is a God of completeness, of restoration, of healing, and He never does anything just part way. When our restoration finally comes it will more than likely include restoration of things and relationships beyond our initial prayer for our prodigal. And to top it all off God will grant us future peace and protection against our enemy.

As 1 Samuel 6-7 shows, faith, patience, and willingness to wait for God’s timing results in complete restoration.

God bless,

Andrea in Arizona


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6 thoughts on “Miracle in a Cart”

  1. Thank you Andrea for this encouragement!Thank You Jesus for the anointed worship and message You blessed me with yesterday! Father may all plans of our spouses and the Other Person be blocked and canceled. We praise You that though our spouses may make many plans, it is only Your purposes for our marriages that will stand(Proverbs 19:21)

  2. This is amazingly timed a God has started our restoration 3 months ago after over 7 years of waiting, and I was just praying for it to come to completion without enemy interference!

  3. His is so powerful and thoughtful, Andrea. Thank you for taking the time to listen to God and articulate so beautifully what He was saying. May you be blessed for sharing.

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