“Now then, take and prepare a new cart and two milk cows on which there has never come a yoke, and yoke the cows to the cart, but take their calves home, away from them… And the cows went straight in the direction of Beth-shemesh along one highway, lowing as they went. They turned neither to the right nor to the left, and the lords of the Philistines went after them as far as the border of Beth-shemesh.” (6:7; 12)
I love it when people stack the laws of nature up against something to test if it’s God. It reminds me of Gideon and the fleece (Judges 6:36-40), or Elijah and the drenched alter (1 Kings 18:20-38). The LORD responds with a “yes, hello, it’s me” as two nursing cows, who have never pulled a cart, march away from their babies like pros.
When I was a kid, I felt God telling me to do something (I don’t remember what). I knew about Gideon’s fleece and wanted to conduct a similar test, since I was afraid to do whatever it was He was asking. Our front porch frequently had fresh spider webs in the morning, which became prominent as their dew drops glistened in the sun. For a few days, I prayed, “God, if this is for real, have the morning spider web be ____ on the porch.” After a couple days of the web appearing in the location I specified, I knew game time was over and I needed to do what He said. Still, it all could have been chance since I never picked a location I hadn’t previously seen a web.
This test with the cows, however, was a clear sign to the Philistine lords about the power of Israel’s God. They may have lost a bit of previous (4:6-9) respect when they were able to dominate Israel and capture the ark, but He cannot be defamed so easily.
Dagon bows, animals obey… its as if rocks would cry out if someone did not praise this God.
He is true, He is powerful, He is worthy of our praise. He isn’t fragile or intimidated.
Have you ever been afraid to test your faith because you’re not sure it will survive? Are you ever afraid to find out you’re wrong about God?
Let us rest assured, today, that although we may be wrong, full of incomplete perspectives, many times in our lives, it will never change the trueness of the LORD. It will never weaken His power. Even if we grossly misrepresent Him as Israel did in this story, He will make Himself known. That’s pretty baller.