The story this week, “The Ark Was Captured” is one example of the things they allowed to happen to the tabernacle and its furnishings. The ark of the covenant was a symbol of God’s presence with the people. As the Israelites battled the Philistines, they lost a battle quite substantially. Instead of asking God what happened, they decided it would be a good idea to go get the box of God, the ark of the covenant, and bring it into battle with them.
As priests in Israel, Eli’s sons were responsible for leading the nation in worship of the one true God. Part of their responsibility would have been seeking God’s desire on going into battle. Instead of seeking God’s direction, Eli’s sons took it upon themselves to send the ark into the battle. God’s presence was always with the nation of Israel. The ark symbolized God’s dwelling with and among His people. The Israelites mistakenly thought that if they had the ark with them in battle, God would be there to fight for them. As the ark in the Old Testament symbolized God’s presence with the people, God gave His people something much greater than a sign: He sent His Son, Jesus.