In these passages is the account of the Philistines returning the Ark of the Covenant to Israel. The Philistines had defeated Israel in battle and killed the two sons of Eli, Israel’s Priest. The Philistines had taken the Ark to Ashdod, one of their five capitals.
Many Philistines died or were afflicted with tumors because of the Ark. So, at the advice of their priests and diviners they returned the Ark to Israel.
After 20 years had passed, God raised up Samuel to be Israel’s judge. Under Samuel’s leadership, Israel returned to God, and God blessed Israel. God protected Israel from the Philistines, and Samuel taught the people about God. Israel needed guidance to return to God. Under poor leadership Israel had departed from God. Under good leadership they were now returning to God.
One can apply this notion to America today. America has departed from God, largely due to poor guidance from its government. Without good leadership and guidance our only hope is to turn to the Word of God, the Bible, for sound guidance. We cannot control America’s decline. However, we can control ourselves and become a positive influence for our families and others around us.