I Samuel 5
Tuesday, 11th July 2023
Rev Daniel Xi An Poon
When we use our head and our knowledge to walk this path of faith, we can only walk in the way of the world. This is not the prayer Jesus taught us. He taught us to pray for the Will of God to be on the earth as it is in Heaven. How do we know the Will of God? He is the God of yesterday, today, and forever, if we always use our old ways to live, then we will live in the past, but if we use the way of the Holy Spirit to live every day, then we can live in the present, and we can live in the future. If we stay in the past, then we will always be in the wilderness, and we cannot align out lives now with God. That’s why a lot of Christians are only ‘Sunday Christians’, they see and hear the signs and wonders of God in the church, but once they went back to the world, they will feel defeated, because they only understand God from the perspective of the earth.
In I Samuel 5, the Ark of God was captured by the Philistines. In the previous chapter, the Israelites were praising and shouting when they brought the Ark of God to the battlefield, but at the end they still lost the battle, many people were killed, and the priests were also killed. Furthermore, the Ark of God was taken away.
God wants to reveal His glory among us, but can we keep the glory of God with us? In I Samuel 5, the family of the High Priest, Eli, ended tragically, the glory of God left them, the presence of God left them, God never left the Ark of God, and God never left His people, but the sins of the people disable God’s glory to be revealed among them.
V1-5 ‘Then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon and set it by Dagon. And when the people of Ashdod arose early in the morning, there was Dagon, fallen on its face to the earth before the ark of the Lord. So they took Dagon and set it in its place again. And when they arose early the next morning, there was Dagon, fallen on its face to the ground before the ark of the Lord. The head of Dagon and both the palms of its hands were broken off on the threshold; only Dagon’s torso was left of it. Therefore neither the priests of Dagon nor any who come into Dagon’s house tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day.’
Do we see God’s hands in our lives? Do we make God our God? Do we have peace and joy in our lives? Are we living a healthy life? God is with us, He can destroy our enemies, His presence is powerful, but what is our attitude? Do we see all of God’s Great Works? Do we know that the presence of God will bring blessings for His people? Whereas the presence of God will bring curses to our enemies. We must ask ourselves, which side do we stand on? What is our lives and what is our hearts? Does our spirit align with God?
V6-9 ‘But the hand of the Lord was heavy on the people of Ashdod, and He ravaged them and struck them with tumors, both Ashdod and its territory. And when the men of Ashdod saw how it was, they said, “The ark of the God of Israel must not remain with us, for His hand is harsh toward us and Dagon our god.” Therefore they sent and gathered to themselves all the lords of the Philistines, and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel?” And they answered, “Let the ark of the God of Israel be carried away to Gath.” So they carried the ark of the God of Israel away. So it was, after they had carried it away, that the hand of the Lord was against the city with a very great destruction; and He struck the men of the city, both small and great, and tumours broke out on them.’
The Philistines did not seek God when they come across problems. Instead, they wanted to send away the Ark of God. We often try to solve our own problems with our own hands, we know God’s power, but we are unwilling to surrender before Him. On the other hand, we want Him to stay away from us. The presence of God is with us, God wants to bless us, He never wants to harm us. But it is our attitude and our ignorance, which stop us seeing the blessings of God and even brining curses to ourselves.
V10-12 ‘Therefore they sent the ark of God to Ekron. So it was, as the ark of God came to Ekron, that the Ekronites cried out, saying, “They have brought the ark of the God of Israel to us, to kill us and our people!” So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, “Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go back to its own place, so that it does not kill us and our people.” For there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there. And the men who did not die were stricken with the tumours, and the cry of the city went up to heaven.’
This chapter shows a very special status of life, the Ark of God has the presence of God, despite the Israelites lost the battle. When our lives going through up and down, it doesn’t mean God’s presence is not with us, and it doesn’t mean God’s church is now anointed. We must first see our own problems. Stop using our head to determine God’s presence is with us or not, stop following the worldly trend. How do we see God’s Great Work? Has the presence of God really left? Or are our lives drifting away from God? Our church is the church full of God’s presence! Let us see the hands of God, not to attack us but to bless us!