Thursday, March 3, 2016

1 Samuel 5 - Choosing an Inferior God

The Philistines captured the ark of God and brought their victory trophy to sit beside their god, Dagon. If one God was good wouldn't two be better?  After all, the God of Israel didn't save them in battle. Just the same, if the Philistines have the ark, then Israel is weakened. 

The Philistines were soon to learn that the holy things of God are not set with other idols, but set apart from them. Dagon just could not stand before the ark of God. This replica of their imagined god falls down before the ark. The next day, after the Philistines had righted the statue, they find it once again toppled and now broken. The Philistines were clear about who was the power behind the toppling of Dagon and the subsequent tumors they endured. The God of Israel was more powerful than they could stand against. 

Now, you would think that having a more powerful God in their midst and knowing what that God had done for the nation of Israel that they might embrace the Lord and serve Him rather than Dagon. In the logical human mind, they might become the most powerful nation with God's help.  Of course God had other plans to defend His own name and to demonstrate His power. 

Rather than just shipping the ark of God back to Israel after enduring such affliction, they thought, "let's send it over to the next Philistine city". Talk about a gift that keeps on giving!  So they move the ark to the next city. The residents there received the tumors so the ark was sent on to the next city. You see, rather than turning toward God and submitting to Him they chose to stand firm in their thinking placing God as an enemy much the same way that Pharaoh did when he saw the manifestations of God's power. They chose the lesser god. 

As I read this passage it occurred to me that even Christians may have some idols that they set alongside God thinking that they can live with both. If we do an examination of our time and money, you can see we invest in what is important to us. Any person or activity can become an idol if they are stepping into an equal or higher place than God in our lives. The activities may not be corrupt, but they redirect our thinking to worldly and temporal pleasures. There is pleasure in serving God, but if our feet are firmly entrenched in the world, we will not be able to enjoy them. We will end up trying to satisfy ourselves with a lesser god. 

Family, friends, leisure time, games, feasts, and wealth are not bad. We just need to critically look at the role they assume in our lives. Do they take a place that God should have?  Then our thinking needs to be realigned and our hearts need to be retuned to hearing God speak in our lives. God cannot be second in our lives. He loved us so much He gave His one and only son that we should have eternal fellowship with Him here and one day in Heaven. Jesus has gone ahead of us to prepare a place for us as His bride, we have been treasures and blessed abundantly by God. Let's embrace Him back and give Him first place in our hearts. 

May God richly bless you as you seek Him and as you serve Him.