I Samuel 6:1-5 3 They answered, “If you return the ark of the god of Israel, do not send it away empty, but by all means send a guilt offering to him. Then you will be healed, and you will know why his hand has not been lifted from you.” 4 The Philistines asked, “What guilt offering should we send to him?” They replied, “Five gold tumors and five gold rats, according to the number of the Philistine rulers, because the same plague has struck both you and your rulers. 5 Make models of the tumors and of the rats that are destroying the country, and pay honor to Israel’s god. Perhaps he will lift his hand from you and your gods and your land.
Apparently the Philistines were tired of all the bad stuff happening to them as a result of stealing the Ark. No, not Noah’s Ark – how would one steal that anyway? I am talking about the Ark of God, the place where the presence of God hung out. According to this passage here, they all ended up with terrible tumors as well as a multitude of rats destroying the country. Destruction by rat and tumor is a pretty lousy way to go if you ask me. Ewww, that’s just gross. It’s like Old Testament Fear Factor.
Imagine being the guy with the job to make these things to send on the ark. What did that phone call sound like?
“Hello, Tony’s goldsmith service. What can I do for you today?”
“I would like to order 5 gold tumors and 5 gold rats.”
“Excuse me? You want five gold tuners and 5… rats?”
“Yes on the rats. But it’s tumors, not tuners. With an M.”
(long pause) “Tumors. Ok. May I…”
“Don’t ask. It will pay good okay. Have them ready by tomorrow.”
As silly as that make-believe conversation sounds, I think something happened in the midst of all of this. I believe they saw the true power of God. They got a glimpse into how real He was. He was so unlike their false gods and their idols. He went so far beyond their practice of pagan religion. This God had real power. And oddly enough, they were willing to do something foreign and strange to them for this God they didn’t know. They were willing to make gold tumors. How weird is that? It’s weird, I’m telling you.
This is the way of God, though. He doesn’t just ask us to do normal stuff; He sometimes asks us to do weird stuff. He asks us to do stretching stuff. Ask any missionary who has eaten something like, well let’s just stick with the theme and say rat. He calls us to uncomfortable places. He stretches us, but it is for the purpose of growth. It is for the purpose of knowing Him more. I am learning to question Him less and obey Him more. Because even though it doesn’t always make sense to me, He must know what He is doing.