Wednesday, 17th March 2021
Rev Daniel Xi An Poon
I Samuel 6 – The Glory of the LORD, the Ignorance of Men
In I Samuel 5, we saw the Ark of God brought disaster and destruction to the Philistines. They tried to avoid this problem but at the end, after seventh months they decided to face it. For seven months, they were in pain and sickness. The Philistines thought they were on the winning side, who defeated the Israelites and captured the Ark of God, but in fact, without Israelites having to do anything, they became defeated.
The actions of the Israelites showed they did not know God, they did not know the Torah, the Word of God, and they became ignorant. The Israelites used the Ark of God as a ‘weapon’, and thought as long as they brought it along, they would win the battle. But here we see that no matter how ignorant men are, our Lord our God will still be glorious. He does not need us to glorify Him for Him to be glorious.
Section One: V1-9 The LORD at the Place of the Philistines
The LORD is not the God of Philistines, therefore when He was at their place, fear came upon the Philistines, the people worshipping idols. They did not want the God of Israel to be with them and they wanted to send Him back to Israel. They saw their god fell and became broken, but they still rejected the God of Israel, because they worshipped the idols and they were fearful.
So the Philistines consulted their priests, who did not worship God but somehow they knew what to do. They knew they offended God and had to repent by giving a trespass offering. They were on the winning side but at the end they had to repent! God does not want us to be fearful, but by love, we can offer the best of us to God and people can see our love for God is real!
A lot of time when we fast and pray, we request God to tell us the answer straight away, to fulfil our needs and to right our wrongs. But we had the wrong motive, just like the Philistines, who wanted to get rid of the Ark of God and to have their problems solved. God is a glorious God and cannot be hidden, no matter for the people of God or Gentiles.
Are our hearts hardened like the Philistines? Are we worshipping God, at the same time, worshipping the world? The priests of the Philistines worshipped the foreign gods but they knew what God had done to the Egyptians. Do we know our God is strong and powerful? God revealed His glory among the Philistines, not because of how good Israelites are, but because Him Himself is glorious!
Section Two: V10-16 The LORD at Beth Shemesh
What the Philistines priests instructed was to take two milk cows, and lock away their calves, so if they didn’t look for their calves and walked straight to Beth Shemesh, then it would be a miracle. The milk cows carried and Ark of God, they were wailing while they walked, so people of Beth Shemesh were notified about this by the wailing. Beth Shemesh was the place of the Levites, who served the LORD in the Temple of the LORD. In the book of Numbers, Moses clearly instructed that no ordinary people were allowed to touch the Ark of God. The people in Beth Shemesh knew this so they did not touch the Ark but just split the wood of the cart. Only the Levites took down the Ark. They rejoiced for having the Ark back so they made offerings for the LORD.
Section Three: V17-18 The Reponses of Philistines to the LORD
The Philistines offered the golden rats and golden tumours as a response to God. They did not worship God but they knew they needed to respect and make offering. How about us? Do we have sickness and ‘tumours’ in our lives? Have we repented before God? During the praying and fasting, a lot of things will be revealed in our lives, God allowed these things to be revealed and can we be convicted of sins, of righteousness and of judgement? When we are in sin, we often don’t see it, so God will reveal our sins through signs in our bodies so we will repent and return to Him.
Section Three: V19-21 The Responses of Beth Shemesh to the LORD
In Numbers 4:20, it says “But they shall not go in to watch while the holy things are being covered, lest they die.” The people in Beth Shemesh knew they could not touch the Ark of God, they split the cart and waited for the Levites. But they had double standards and despised God by looking into the Ark.
They thought they did the right thing, but they actually displeased God. We often have double standards, we thought we did something right, but we didn’t realise that what we did displeased our God. The people at Beth Shemeth faced problems but they did not face their lives, they did not repent and return, instead they sent the Ark of God to another place, Kirjath Jearim.
Are we like them? When we sinned against God and face problems, we may be afraid of God so we would choose to run away, to stop serving Him and to give up on following God. Do we wear a nametag of ‘Christians’ but still lead our own lives? God wants us to make an effort to repent and return so that we can have life. We need to trust that He rules and reigns, and He is abundant in His mercy.
Pursuit & Respond
Lord, we see Your glory is above all else, we know You rule and reign, but we are like the Gentiles, we thought we need to do a lot of things to glorify You. Reveal to us the problems in our lives and the issues that we refuse to face. Forgive us, Lord, for our unbelief and hardened hearts. We doubted You and we doubted our authorities. Forgive us, for being fearful but also disrespectful. We thought we can rely on ourselves instead of relying on You. When You reveal our sins, we choose to run away because of fear.
Thank You, Lord, You have overcome this world and we are in You. May You blood cleanse all our sins because You are a God Who forgives sins. Thank You for giving us Your salvation so we can set free from our sins. In the name of the Lord we declare the power of God to wash away all unrighteousness and to restore our connection to God. We are the children of God and all Your blessings are with us! Amen!
V3-4，非利士人找来自己的祭司和占卜的人, 这些人提供了他们一些似是而非的解决方案。他们知道自己得罪神了。“赔罪”- 就是悔改的意思，而且还要给礼物，唯有全能的神能够让一个战胜国悔改献礼。我们很多时候想要很努力做事使神得荣耀，结果做得很苦毒，连我们周围的人都被影响。我们做事是靠着爱，将最好的献给我们最爱的神，才能荣神益人。我们知道自己做错事，是否悔改？做错事悔改了，我们是否用宗教仪式来要挟神，觉得神应该听我们的禁食祷告？我们要谦卑，让神的光照进我们里面，知道我们哪里有问题，无法亲近神。