READ: 1 Samuel 5 & 6
BACKGROUND: The Philistines came from the island of Crete. Called the Sea People, they arrived in Canaan on boats and built cities along the coastal region of Canaan. As a culture, they were much more advanced and sophisticated than the Israelites. Philistines were pagan, worshiping Dagon – some sort of fish god, grain god, or possibly storm god. This worship was incredibly lewd, disgusting and vile and included child sacrifice. The Israelites seemed to be no match for the Philistines in battle.
By Verse –
5:1 – Philistines bring the ark into their temple with Dagon as if to say, “Let’s see who has the bigger god!”
5:3 – Apparently the Philistines worship a god who has to be picked up every morning…The God of Israel, on the other hand, picks his people up and carries us all day long!
5:4 – The Philistines knew the God of the Israel had broken Dagon and they had a choice: Worship the true God or continue to worship a worthless idol.
6:1 – 12 – A final Philistine test: Will the cows leave their calves? No, they won’t…unless under the power of God. The cows walk, taking the ark back to the Israelites.
THINK: The Israelites knew that God was powerful and they rightly wanted him on their side! Fearful of losing in battle, they decided to go get the ark from the temple and bring it to the front lines. The problem is that they had no reverence for God! Just like the pagan Philistines, they assumed the God’s power could be manipulated just by dragging the ark around. But it is a terrible thing to fool around with the Holy things of God! Don’t make the same mistake as Israel! Israel wanted the Lord of Hosts to deliver and protect, but had no interest in obedience! Unfortunately, they adopted the attitude of pagan worship – substituting the ark for Dagon.
Too often we live as though God is an “ark” we can carry around and use at will. We want to manipulate God through prayer to get what we want. We adopt all the attitudes, philosophies, and behaviors as our pagan culture and then we wonder why we seem to be losing our daily battles! Just like Dagon, perhaps we need to fall on our face before our mighty God!
PRAY: Ask God to forgive you for you casual attitude towards him. Pray that he would be exalted in your life and your worship.
By: Deb Howard