1 Samuel 5 and 6, there is an intriguing and sobering story.
In seven months, without an army,
the Lord wreaked havoc on five cities of the Philistines.
They 'captured' the ark in a battle, after killing over 34,000 Israelites.
The Lord's people mourned that His glory had departed.
The Philistines were persuaded by their victory
that their god Dagon had more power than Yahweh.
The ark was placed in the temple of Dagon, as though to serve him.
In the morning, there was Dagon,
fallen on his face to the earth before the ark of the Lord.
They picked him up and brushed the dirt off him
and put him back in his place.
But in the morning, his face and hands were broken off on the threshold,
and his stump was face-down before the ark.
It says the Lord's hand was heavy on that city -- so they gave it to their neighbors.
Destruction came to the Philistines in every city they sent the ark.
Who captured whom?
To escape Yahweh's hand they provided the ark with undirected transportation.
They gave unwilling but available labor
in the form of milk cows with babies at home --
and the cows pulled the ark all the way back to Beth Shemesh,
ignoring the cries of their babies,
and the pleas of their own bodies.
For seven months the Philistines directed the transportation of the ark --
and destroyed themselves by it.
(Which thing, I might note, the Israelites had also done the day they were so utterly defeated.)
Their own god Dagon required their direction --
their muscles to move him when he had fallen and couldn't get up.
But of the ark, they finally said, 'Let it go back to its own place.'
And the ark of the Lord went back to its own place.
I think that it is safer, when accompanying the Lord,
to be following His direction,
and not giving Him directions.
Safer to follow Him than to lead Him.
When Israel followed the ark,
there was safety through the sea
and through the desert
and through the river
and in battle.
But when Israel directed His transportation,
it ended in destruction.
O Lord, please help me to follow.