Friday, May 31, 2013

Don't be like Ashdod...

...or Ekron, or Gath for that matter.
just giving you something pretty to look at
The text is 1 Samuel 5. Here's what's going on. The ark has been captured by the Philistines and they aren't quite sure what to do with it. First they brought it to the town of Ashdod, and set it up in their temple next to Dagon, but clearly, Dagon wasn't up to the task. God afflicted the people with a plague of tumors and "brought devastation on them." In one verse we see both wisdom and folly from the Philistines;

"The ark of the god of Israel must not stay here with us, because his hand is heavy on us and on Dagon our god." (1 Samuel 5:7).

To their wisdom, they rightly understood that it was Yahweh who was wreaking havoc on them. To their folly, however, they simply passed the problem onto another town.

This pattern was repeated in the city of Gath, who passed the ark on to Ekron. The people of Ekron, were at least wise enough to not even let the ark in...so they sent it back to the Israelites.

Here's what struck me about the Philistines and these three cities. Here they are, confronted with the God of their enemies, Yahweh. Clearly they have wisdom enough to see that Yahweh is destroying them. They must have been able to conclude that Yahweh was more powerful then Dagon. One would think their response might have been to repent, and worship this new powerful God. But no, they simply want to rid themselves of Him and go back to worshipping Dagon.

Now obviously there are bigger issues here...we know that the Israelites were God's chosen people, not the Philistines. However, it did strike me how often I do things similar to how these three cities responded.

When confronted with my own sin, or wrongful behaviours, or things I need to change, or bad habits, what do I do? I'd like to say I immediately repent, humbly, and run to God. However, all too often I shift the blame, or ignore the problem, or pretend I didn't hear, or perhaps worst of all I do nothing. These responses essentially accomplish the same thing that the Philistines were trying to accomplish; pushing God away.

After reading this passage, I was left with a question which I leave with you today. Is there something God is trying to get your attention about? If so, are you responding to Him, or pushing Him away? Let's not make the same mistake the Philistines made...but instead, embrace our Father. After all, He did demonstrate His love for you on the cross...I think we can trust Him.

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