1 Sam 7:2-6 (MSG)
From the time that the Chest came to rest in Kiriath Jearim, a long time passed—twenty years it was—and throughout Israel there was a widespread, fearful movement toward God.
Then Samuel addressed the house of Israel: “If you are truly serious about coming back to God, clean house. Get rid of the foreign gods and fertility goddesses, ground yourselves firmly in God, worship him and him alone, and he’ll save you from Philistine oppression.”
They did it. They got rid of the gods and goddesses, the images of Baal and Ashtoreth, and gave their exclusive attention and service to God.
Next Samuel said, “Get everybody together at Mizpah and I’ll pray for you.”
So everyone assembled at Mizpah. They drew water from the wells and poured it out before God in a ritual of cleansing. They fasted all day and prayed, “We have sinned against God.” So Samuel prepared the Israelites for holy war there at Mizpah.
The chest of God or the ark of the Lord, as it is more commonly known, represents the presence of God. It was so powerful and contained so much glory that wherever it went mighty things occurred, both good and bad.
We can see here two different responses to the ark of the Lord -God’s presence. The philistines rejected it, wanting to get rid of it. See 1 Sam6:1-2
They knew the power it had in their camp and despised it, causing the wrath of God to fall on them. They did not honour it, revere it or allow it to cleanse them. In fact they were so caught up in the worship of other supernatural gods that they even asked them how to get rid of the presence of God.
On the other hand, the Israelites allowed the presence of God to completely change them from the inside out. They accepted it and celebrated the Glory, welcoming it into their camp.
Because of their reverence toward the ark, a mighty move of God was birthed, causing repentance and worship toward Him.
God’s presence will cause one reaction or the other. As we let it cleanse and purify our sins, those around us will follow, causing a mass exodus from idols and sin and into the loving arms of Christ. Choose life!