Kine-kind of Faith

Didn’t you find 1 Samuel 6 to be a POWERFUL chapter! I am exceedingly challenged by the cows.

It is very interesting how the Philistines reason about the Lord God of heaven.

“give glory to the God of Israel, perhaps He will lighten His hand from you, from your gods, and from your land.”

They are so close in their thinking to touching eternity, and yet…

And just a quick note on the rats…though it doesn’t mention rats in our translation of the Bible in chapter 5, in the Septuagint 1 Samuel 5:6 it reads:

“But the hand of the Lord was heavy on the people of Ashdod, and He ravaged them and struck them with tumors and in the midst of their land rats sprang up, and there was a great death panic in the city.”

But enough about rats, let’s talk about cows!

The Ark of the Lord was the presence of God. Though no one would glorify Jehovah, He would glorify Himself wherever the Ark was.

* Two milk cows (mommas)
* With babies
* Who had never been yoked before

And what did they do with these two milk cows? They hitched them to a cart. They took their babies and sent them home, away from the kine.

Then they put the Ark of the Lord (which had been plaguing everyone else) and hitched it up to these two mommas. And then they sent it away.

The “fleece,” or test of this whole venture was this:
1) if they milk cows did the natural thing and returned to the barn to nurture their calves, the Philistines would be convinced that everything up to this point was coincidental. That the plagues and tumors only seemed to follow the Ark of the Lord.

2) but if the momma cows did the very unnatural and very painful thing of leaving their babies behind to go away from home…then the Philistines would be convinced that it was the hand of the Lord that produced these “loud” plagues.

Now, if I were the cows, I would most certainly turn back to my cherished loved ones and let those prideful Philistines get their due. But not these two.

Verse 10-12 are so heart-wrenching:
“Then the men did so; they took two milk cows and hitched them in the cart, and shut up their calves at home. And they set the Ark of the Lord on the cart…then the cows headed straight for the road (away from their babies) to Beth Shemesh, and went along the highway, lowing as they went, and did not turn aside to the right hand or the left.”

Here the cows are separated from their calves. And we know that for ourselves that separation hurts, and rips apart the tightest bonds. For myself, having experienced separation, I don’t wonder but that they lowed all the while as they went.

  • The wonder of it is that they choose to separate from their calves.
  • That they did not turn aside to the right hand or left.
  • That they did not procrastinate (straight also carrying the connotation straightway, or quickly).

As a result of this very unnatural separation, they brought healing to the Philistines, joy to the Israelites, and glory to God.

But that’s not all. They didn’t return home to their darlings. Rather, the cows were offered as a burnt offering to the Lord. They had willingly sacrificed everything (remember, nobody drove them to leave their calves), even their dearest and choicest loved ones, to do the Lord’s bidding. It cost them their lives.

Now, though I love animals, what makes it so exceptionally moving, is to think of people who may have done the same thing. Perhaps even to the shouts of others yelling “you’re abandoning your children. You are being irresponsible.” But they had heard the call, the call to separate.

Oh Lord God, there is no way I could ever separate from my choice idols, or even dearest loved ones if it not by Your enabling. Help me to have the kind of kine-faith, that will sacrifice all, everything, enduring any hardship that might come as a result of trying to follow You. I do desire You would use me to “heal the Philistines & bring joy to the Israelites” (whatever that may look like).

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