3 And when the people were come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, Wherefore hath the Lord smitten us to day before the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of Shiloh unto us, that, when it cometh among us, it may save us out of the hand of our enemies. I Samuel 4:3"It MAY? save us"?? Did these guys ask God? What about Samuel? The elders decided what to do. In addition, the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phineas, were with the Ark. In chapter 2:12 the word describes these two guys:
12 Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial (worthless and lawless); they knew not the Lord. I Samuel 2:12The name for God, Lord of Hosts, describes God as the head of his spiritual armies. It implies God's protections, care and oversight. The moves of God in this world do not automatically bring peace. They often rile up those who would rather not have God involved. God-sent armies, however, are always successful. After the Ark was captured, the Philistines considered it a great battle trophy. Without humility and and the desire to listen to what God has in mind, the Ark was just an Ark.
By the same logic, a church is just a building without a humble, truthful, respectful love for God (church). Symbols, icons, images, religious practices mean nothing in and of themselves. The relationship we have with God is one of the heart that rests in truth.