7:2 The Ark remained in Kiriath-jearim for a long time—twenty years in all. During that time all Israel mourned because it seemed the Lord had abandoned them.
So at long last the Ark was returned to Israel and stored at Kiriath-jearim. There it stayed for twenty years. It must have been a heart-breaking time, with that terrible feeling that God had abandoned them. And all that time, no mention of Samuel in the tale at all! So what was he up to?
There are frequently long periods of time in the Bible history when nothing seems to be happening. There must have just been the daily round of scratching a living, the routine of sowing and reaping, births, marriages and deaths. Samuel was engaged in the routine of governing the people, sorting out their court cases and trying to get people living harmoniously.
Most days would have been the same dull old routine – I suspect living that way, with no excitement and no significant events, is the hardest way to experience life. Haven’t you felt that sometimes during the periods of lockdown? Then on top of that the constant feeling that God must have forgotten you, or even abandoned you. Life can get tough when there is too much to do – but just maybe it can be harder still when the sheer monotony of a daily routine for 20 years presses in on you.
I feel for the distress of the Israelites when they were attacked by the Philistines, and I feel even more for them in the distress of 20 years of daily routine, feeling abandoned by God. Pray for those trapped in that kind of monotonous routine, feeling God has no way out for them.