“Be still and know – that I am God – be still and consider My creation – consider the lilies of the Field they don’t labour or spin yet are clothed in more beauty than a king. Consider the sparrows – they don’t sow all plant – but I provide for them all they need. I am the One who hangs out the stars at night and tells the Sun went to shine – I kiss the flowers every morning with dew, yet I am never too busy to care about you – yes I never slumber nor sleep. I am there all the time caring for you that you will not stumble or fall. Consider all these things and many more which speak of Me and know I am not only your Creator but I am also your Father and your Lover and Friend – and yes, I really care about you and everyone else who reads this blog.“
On now to 1 Samuel chapter 5. Looking back over God’s story so far in His bible we have seen various ways that God represented Himself. Each one had a significance. Think of the burning bush and Moses. Then some time later the picture in Exodus 19 where God was going to speak to His people from a mountain. Thunder and lightning, plus a warning that no-one should come near as He demonstrated His holiness and power. Then later, hiding Moses in a cleft in a rock so that he would not die as God passed by.
The end of Exodus shows God’s careful preparation of the “Tabernacle”, every part of which was significant in representing God and how He should be approached and worshipped by His people. The most significant part of the tabernacle was the “Holy Of Holies” where the golden box, containing the testimony was placed. The high priest could only go in there once a year, it was so holy and then they tied a rope around his leg so that if he should die because of God’s presence they could drag him out without going in there themselves.
Of course this was really symbolic to teach the people to be in awe of Yahweh, because God could never be contained in a box.
In Chapter 5 of 1 Samuel we see the Philistines delighted that they had captured Israel’s God. Little did they know or understand. What starts as delight soon turns to horror as their favourite deity Dagon falls on his face the first night they are together. Even worse the next day he is found broken. Interestingly He has lost his head. Dagon was then one of three major figures in 1 Samuel to be destroyed. The other two were Goliath and Saul.
Even worse the people of the area are affected by an outbreak of a disease which featured tumours (probably Bubonic plague). This supposed huge magic asset had now become a major liability and the Philistines did not know what to do with it. The writer repeats, “God’s hand was heavy on them“. Next time we will see how the Philistines desperatelytried to get rid of the Ark.
So what lessons have you picked up from this most insightful passage?
Here are some I felt Jesus was saying to me: 1.Our God can appear in any form or shape He wants and at any time. From a still small voice to mighty thunder and lightning.
2. He cannot be packaged or manipulated in a sort of magic way, like a rabbit’s foot. He meets with us (through Jesus and His Spirit) on His terms, but at the same time He is ever so close and responds to our seeking Him, since He wants a relationship with us.
3. The pagan people often believed that their God’s were high up in the mountains or on the clouds. Hence Psalm 121; “I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? (no, no not from there) My help comes from the Lord the Maker of Heaven and earth“. A God who is not restricted to time and place.
4. As much as God was angry with His people because of their neglect and symbolically left them. He was not going to allow the Phlistines to mock Him or use Him. his judgement was heavy on them. We can never play the fool with God. He might be testing others but soon may test us as well.
I am so glad I worship a God who cannot be manipulated or used. Share any other words you may have picked up from this passage with us. Bless you all this coming week.
- Hallelujah - the New Age has come.
- Damascus, a Turning Point.
- The Glory of the Lord.
- Has the Church forsaken God?
- The spirit of the Pharisees, Lives on in the Church.
- The Mystery of Wisdom vs Knowledge.
- Wisdom, humility and understanding (listening).
- Wisdom expressed as trust.
- The Messiah, revealed to Some.