Be A Cow And Keep Your Hand To The Plow

1 Samuel 6

Be a Cow and Keep your Hand to the Plow

We’ve all been in situations that we don’t know what is going on and what God is doing. Learning to trust God in these situations and wait on him will help you to be able to endure while you’re waiting to see what God is going to do. It will turn out well. Be a cow and keep your hand to the plow

  • What is going on in this story
  • The ark had been in philistine territory for 7 months, and things weren’t going well while it was there, so they figure out they need to get rid of it. They decide to send it back with a gift, hoping that the plague will stop. Their priests and diviners decide- send back 5 golden tumors and five gold rats. Maybe he’ll stop giving you tumors and rats if you do this. They remind them of others who were stubborn and say- you don’t want to be like those guys. They tell them to build a cart, take two cows who have just given birth, never been yoked, and put the golden things on it with the ark, and send it back to the Israelites. They basically say if God brings these cows back to himself, then we’ll know that it was God that did this to us.  The cows go- they go straight back to Israel . Ark shows up, the Israelites rejoice, they sacrifice the cows, a few more sacrifices and  then 70 men make the mistake of looking into the ark, so God strikes them dead.
  • What the bible describes is not what the Bible prescribes- we’re not going to hire diviners and make golden tumors and send carts towards Israel to fix our problems.
  • But lets see what we can learn and apply from this
  1. Trust the process of God 
  2. The sovereignty of God reigns supreme
  • What is the sovereignty of God?
  • Colossians 1:16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
  • Psalm 103:19 The Lord has established His throne in heaven, And His kingdom rules over all.
  • God is in control of everything and everyone. He doesn’t cause evil. Giving us free will is still his control. He decides who. He decides how. Its his decision. His plan. His purpose. His means.
  • The diviners test God, weirdly, and it tells them what they were looking for- God did the plague
  • Lets make clear- as Christians we don’t converse with sorcerers or mediums
  • Leviticus 20:6 ‘And the person who turns to mediums and familiar spirits, to prostitute himself with them, I will set My face against that person and cut him off from his people.
  • Rev 21:8 and Galatians 5:19 make clear that any form of sorcery or witchcraft is sin.
  • But these false priests and diviners come up with this plan to determine what level of involvement YHWH had on the plagues- simply- lets send these cows towards Beth Shemesh and see if they can make it
  • Its quite a test- cows which just had babies, never been yoked, two of them in one direction- lets see
  • And the cows don’t disappoint! God directs them- he brings the ark out of philistine territory back
  • Daniel 4:35 All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand Or say to Him, “What have You done?”
  • Psalm 135:6 Whatever the Lord pleases He does, In heaven and in earth, In the seas and in all deep places.
  • God directs the cows. Think about it- Cows with babies. Cows never yoked. Ark on their back-
  • God overcame the innate natural inclinations of these cows to prove a point- I control all.
  • Sent in a direction and go where they are supposed to go the way they are supposed to go.
  • Tells the philistines that God is God and that it was him that caused the plagues. He is in control
  • What does it mean to you?
  • Firstly- Don’t put God to any tests Deuteronomy 6:16 “You shall not tempt the Lord your God as you tempted Him in Massah.
  • If you want to test God- the only biblical test that you can put before God is in tithing.
  • Malachi 3:10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.
  • But lets just say you did put God to test. He did prove himself. Why would you continue your doubt?
  • How many times does God have to prove himself faithful before you will just trust him and his ways?
  • Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.
  • 2 Timothy 2:13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.
  • Here’s a group of unbelievers, who put God to test, God proves he’s God and they accept it
  • How many times does God have to prove to you that he loves you? That he saved you? That he forgave you? That he wants to do you good and not evil? That he is going to take care of you? That he will not forsake you? That he is watching out for you and taking care of you?
  • How many times?
  • If God can direct a couple of cows, can’t you trust that he can direct you?
  • If the unbelievers will put their trust in God, why wont you
  • Secondly- Be like the cows!
  • These cows fought their natural instincts (lowing as they went) to be used by God in this manner-
  • I have had to walk through many things I don’t understand- trusting God in the process (Egypt)
  • It was natural for them to desire their calves, to want to go and nurse them. It was unnatural to go straight
  • We will continually fight our fleshly desires until they are fully subjected to Christs authority
  • Deuteronomy 5:32 “Therefore you shall be careful to do as the Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.
  • A natural inclination isn’t a indication of a action you should take. 
  • If we took action on every basal action that went through our heart or minds we wouldn’t be well  
  • Proverbs 4:27 Do not turn to the right or the left; Remove your foot from evil.
  • Stay on the straight path! Be like the cow. You may low as you go- but don’t give in!
  1. Keep your hand to the plow
  • Don’t ever stop working what you know to be true at the time you are doing it
  • 6:13 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.
  • Here’s what I love about that verse- these people weren’t sitting around wondering what was happening, where the ark was and what they were going to do
  • Israel had lost a big battle. They were sad. They had gone through a hard time.
  • But that didn’t keep them from doing the work that needed to be done. “reaping their wheat harvest”
  • They could have used whatever excuse they needed to say that they should have not worked
  • But NO- They kept their hand to plow- they kept working- they kept trusting that God would take care of them. The ark would be returned, and everything would be OK.
  • What does it mean to you
  • Don’t use God’s timing as an excuse for not doing what you know you need to be doing
  • Matthew 24: 40 Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. 42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.
  • This was a problem of the early Christians- They gave up their jobs, they stopped working, because they figured Jesus was going to return so quickly. Its been 2000 years. Keep working
  • God doesn’t give you an out for not having to continue the work that he has given you
  • Luke 9:62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
  • I don’t know when Jesus is coming back, but I’m not going to stop doing what he asked me to until I’m dead or he comes back.
  • It’s a practical sense in that even without tangible employment- spiritually, you can’t allow yourself to be stagnant because you aren’t seeing spiritual results
  • Go with what you know. God has spoke. God told you to do it. Stay with it and don’t relent.
  • Put your hand to that plow and wait for the ark to show up one day. It will. I don’t know how, and I don’t know when, but I know it will!
  • Hebrews 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.”
  • Don’t draw back and don’t look back. Don’t say “well the ark isn’t here, lets move” stay where you are and wait. In due season the Lord will come, bring the ark, and there will be rejoicing.
  • Luke 17:31-32 “In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back. 32 Remember Lot’s wife.
  • Remember lots wife. She looked back and turned into a pillar of salt. Don’t look back. Keep your hand to the plow and trust God. In due season he will deliver and bring the ark
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