The Ark is Returned — God judges the Philistines, their idol Dagon, & all false idols.
Reading 1: 1 Samuel 5
Reading 2: 1 Samuel 6
Reading 3: Psalm 115:3-8
Before we paused to reflect, we saw the presumption of the Israelites in treating the Ark of God like a good luck charm, and the downfall of Eli’s family that resulted from their lack of respect for God’s calling, holiness, and glory.
Today we see that God is completely capable of defending Himself against evil (after all, He cast satan out of heaven when he sinned)! When the Ark is taken by the Philistines and placed in the temple of their god Dagon, the idol falls in adoration in front of the Ark. Thinking this is an accident, they set him upright again, only to find him smashed into pieces the next morning after falling again!
Not only that, but the Philistines are all afflicted with tumors while the Ark is in their cities. Some translators suggest the word means hemorrhoids! Clearly the Philistines are anxious to find a solution to their problems, and their diviners come up with a resourceful solution – make golden models of the problem, and send them back with the Ark on a new cart pulled by two cows that have never pulled a cart before, and whose newborn calves are in a pen back in the city.
That is what you would call a test! No cow is going to leave her calf, and no cow is going to pull a cart without training. But these two cows head straight for Beth-Shemesh (the border town with Israel) and demonstrate to the Philistines that indeed it was God who afflicted them. So God gets the glory and the power, in contrast to Dagon, who is aptly described by the words in Psalm 115: “They have mouths but cannot speak, and eyes but cannot see. They have ears but cannot hear, and noses but cannot smell. They have hands but cannot feel, and feet but cannot walk, and throats but cannot make a sound. And those who make idols are just like them, as are all who trust in them.
Today, let’s trust God – for His power and glory to be seen again in our nation and around the world.
Have a great day!