WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 30
SCRIPTURE:1 SAMUEL 5
BY: Jeremy Witt
This chapter is one of my wife’s favorite chapters in the Scripture. This chapter teaches us that God is all-powerful and sovereign. We see how God refuses to allow a false god to even appear more powerful than He is. God moves among an unbelieving people to teach them who is all-powerful. As you will see in this chapter, even non-believers can see this but it does not necessarily mean that they will turn their worship from their false god to Him. Before we get on our high horse and judge them, let’s remember that we do the same things when we try to make other things a priority over Him.
Verse 1 takes us into the land of the Philistines where they have taken the Ark. They place the Ark in the temple of Dagon, the Philistine god of rain and harvest. This was their chief god but they worshipped many other gods. The Philistines wanted as many gods as possible to be on their side and would make them feel more secure, which is most likely why they took the Ark into their chief god’s temple.
The next morning after the Ark was placed in the temple, the people found the idol of Dagon fallen to the ground with its face to the ground in front of the Ark. This happened again as in verses 3-5. On Tuesday the pastors went to the State Evangelism conference, and one of the sermons dealt with humility. When a king would conquer another king, the successful king would make the losing king parade in front of his subjects and bow down low to show humility. But not only this, the losing king would bow down with his head on the ground, and the winning king would step on the neck of the king to show the superiority and power over the king. This is the picture of humility, but in our chapter here, God is showing His power over Dagon the king in his own house. Notice in verse 4 that the head and arms break showing God’s power.
Verse 6, the people of Philistia realized this was not something common and cried out to get rid of the Ark. Tumors developed on people. Many died. Notice in verse 7 that the people knew that the God of the Israelites would destroy them and their god so they sought to get rid of the Ark or push the God of the Israelites away. When God does something big, we can choose to get close to God or push Him away because it scared us how big and powerful God is. If we do not understand something, one of our responses is to push it away as the Philistines did.
It is amazing to me that these people feared God but did not believe and worship Him. I wonder what would have happened had the Philistines turned and worship the God of the Israelites rather than push the Ark away. Had their fear led them to admit their need for God would have completely changed their outcome. In James 2:19 we are told the demons believe and shudder (or fear) God. It is critical that we understand that simply fearing God is not enough, and even believing in God is not enough. We are called to follow and obey. We are called to repent and turn to Him.
The conclusion of the chapter is an interesting one in how the Ark was moved from place to place and how fear seized the people wherever it went. May we fear the LORD in reverence and awe, but may our fear of Him lead to our worship and obedience to Him. Not because of our fear, but because of who He is and how He has pursued us and sought a relationship with us.