Here’s the Plan

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

1 Samuel 6:7-9 (NIV)
“Now then, get a new cart ready, with two cows that have calved and have never been yoked. Hitch the cows to the cart, but take their calves away and pen them up. Take the ark of the Lord and put it on the cart, and in a chest beside it put the gold objects you are sending back to him as a guilt offering. Send it on its way, but keep watching it. If it goes up to its own territory, toward Beth Shemesh, then the Lord has brought this great disaster on us. But if it does not, then we will know that it was not his hand that struck us but that it happened to us by chance.”

1 Samuel 6:7-9(MSG)
“So here’s what you do: Take a brand-new oxcart and two cows that have never been in harness. Hitch the cows to the oxcart and send their calves back to the barn. Put the Chest of God on the cart. Secure the gold replicas of the tumors and rats that you are offering as compensation in a sack and set them next to the Chest. Then send it off. But keep your eyes on it. If it heads straight back home to where it came from, toward Beth Shemesh, it is clear that this catastrophe is a divine judgment, but if not, we’ll know that God had nothing to do with it—it was just an accident.”
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“Now then, make a new cart and prepare two milk cows on which a yoke has never been placed; and hitch the cows to the cart and take their calves back home, away from them. “Then take the ark of the Lord and put it on the cart; and put the articles of gold which you are returning to Him as a guilt offering in a box beside it. Then send it away [without a driver]. “But watch, if it goes up by the way of its own territory to Beth-shemesh, then [you will know that] He has done us this great evil. But if not, then we will know that it was not His hand that struck us; this disaster happened to us by chance.” -AMPLIFIED

The decision has been made; the Ark must go back to Israel. We will find that the Philistines were still not totally convinced that everything that had been happening to them was because of Israel’s God. As they laid out their plans for the return of the Ark they left a few loop-holes, opportunities for it to stay, just in case all these things that had been happening were just a coincidence.

So, the plan was laid; all the great minds of Philista came together to make it. They figured that if everything went according to plan this holy object, the Ark, truly must be from a great God.

First: They decided to make a brand-new cart to carry the Ark. This was a sign of honor, respect and reverence for the Ark. The Philistines had seen the power of God demonstrated before them and they were not taking any more chances of possibly offending Israel’s God once again.

Secondly: They decided to have this new cart drawn by two brand new mother cows. It was speculated that these two cows who had never been yoked would be true test; for they had not been trained for the yoke. When two animals are placed in a yoke for the first time they both try to lead and it causes immense problems. This is because they have not yet learned to work as a team. By placing these two together the Philistines figured if this was not God these two cows would get nowhere.

Thirdly: The calves of these two brand-new mama cows’ would be taken away from them, sent home and separated from them. Now this truly was a test; for we all know that it is nearly impossible to separate a mama from her baby. By taking their calves away it would excite and upset the mama cows natural maternal affection and cause them to revolt against pulling the cart.

The Philistines plans were set. They put the Ark on the new cart. They placed their guilt offerings next to the Ark; the five gold rats and the five gold tumors. Someone gave those cows’ a good whack to get them going and everyone stepped back and watched to see what was going to happen. Remember, they were worried that everything that had happened to them was just a coincidence.

The Philistines had made their plans. If any part of what had happened to them was an accident they figured their plan would not work; for they had taken extreme caution to place obstacles in the way to prove to themselves that this God could not be real. Yet, when they sent that cart off without a driver pulled by those two band new mama cows’ in a yoke that they had never been trained for something extraordinary happened:

“They hitched two cows to the cart, put their calves in the barn, and placed the Chest of God and the sack of gold rats and tumors on the cart. The cows headed straight for home, down the road to Beth Shemesh, straying neither right nor left, mooing all the way. The Philistine leaders followed them to the outskirts of Beth Shemesh.” -1 Samuel 6:10-12 (MSG)

They had laid their impossible plans, but the God of Israel was quite capable of doing the impossible and He did. We too need to be careful about laying our plans without allowing God be part of them. Scripture is very adamant about the fact that we may make our plans, but it is God who allows them to happen.

“Commit your works to the Lord [submit and trust them to Him], And your plans will succeed [if you respond to His will and guidance].” -Proverbs 16:3 (AMP)

“A man’s mind plans his way [as he journeys through life], But the Lord directs his steps and establishes them.” -Proverbs 16:9 (AMP)

“Woe (judgment is coming) to those who [try to] deeply hide their plans from the Lord, Whose deeds are done in a dark place, And who say, “Who sees us?” or “Who knows us?” -Isaiah 29:15 (AMP)

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” -Isaiah 55:8-9 (AMP)

Be sure that you are seeking God’s counsel when you are laying your plans.

My Prayer:
Lord, forgive me for those times that I have pridefully plowed forward with my own plans without taking the time to seek your will in my life. It is you who directs my paths and establishes me where I need to be. You give good guidance and direction. Too often I grab the bit between my teeth and plow into places where I have no business being; forgive me Lord. Help me to sit quietly before you and wait on your good will in my life. There is nothing wrong with sitting still and waiting on You to bring about your purposes, Lord.

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