Both Israel and the Philistines experienced God's curse by not following God. Philistines defeated Israel in battle while killing 4,000 men. After elders asked why Lord defeated them, they carried ark of covenant of Lord of hosts who sits about the cherubim. The two sons of Eli were there with the ark. Philistines were afraid and expressed concern about "gods who smote Egyptians with all kind of plagues in wilderness" They exhorted the army to take courage and fight. Philistines killed 30,000 foot soldiers in defeating Israel. The ark of God was taken and Eli's two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, died. After hearing ark was taken, Eli died (1 Sam. 4:1-18). People lose confidence when God’s presence leaves.
Before Phinehas’ wife died in childbirth, she called her baby, Ichabod, “The glory has departed from Israel,” because ark was taken and her father-in-law and husband died (1 Sam. 4:19-22). Defeat and death occur when God’s glory leaves a nation because of spiritual and civil leaders' poor example.
Dagon fell on its face twice, which cut off both its head and hands after it was set by ark of God. No one who enters Dagon’s house walk on its threshold to this day (1 Sam. 5:1-5). Gods in this world fail before the powerful and true God.
The Lord applied pressure on Ashdodites and smote them with tumors. All the leaders asked, “What shall we do with the ark of God?” The Lord filled the city with great confusion besides the tumors. Philistine leaders said, “Send away the ark of God and let it return to its own place and not kill us and our people.” God brought panic and severe turmoil so men who didn't die were smitten with tumors. The cry of the city went up to heaven (1 Sam. 5:6-12). People experience confusion, disturbance and disease when they turn away from God.
God's curse is psychological (lack of confidence or dread), physical (sicknesses or diseases) and lacking all things (material provision). It becomes a sign "because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and a glad heart, for the abundance of all things" (Deut. 28:45-48,59-61,65-67).
Serve the Lord with joy and a glad heart by praying through one of the Psalms and responding in obedience.