I Samuel 5&6 – God Has a Sense of Humor (but not everyone is laughing)

My God is better than your god

So, the Philistines defeated Israel and stole the Ark of the covenant, the symbol of the presence of God, as a trophy. The resulting events struck me as funny-even though many people suffered (forgive me Lord for laughing at the Philistines). First, they placed the ark alongside the idle to their supreme god, Dagon. Symbolically, they were placing the Ark in subjection to their god stating that Dagon helped them defeat the inferior God of Israel.  Not a good move. The next morning when the Philistines priest entered their temple, “…Dagon had fallen on his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord,” 5:4. Dagon fell over on its face as if paying homage to God. Now that’s funny!  They set Dagon back up and the next morning they found Dagon once again fallen on his face but also “the head of Dagon and both palms of his hands were cut off on the threshold; only the trunk of Dagon was left.” Then the hand of the Lord smote the people with tumors. They quickly concluded in v7 “The ark of the God of Israel must not remain with us, for His hand is severe on us and on our god Dagon.” The intensity of Gods judgement on them increased as time went on. They desperately pleaded with their Wiseman to come up with a plan to get rid of the ark before they all died. They placed the ark on a cart pulled by cows and they pulled the ark straight back to the land of Israel, the region of Beth-Shemeth. The Ark was back in Israel where it belonged, but is Israel ready to repent and seek God?

My arms are too short to box with God

After the massacre of Israel’s army and the deadly plagues among the Philistines, the climatic statement of the story is when the Israelites ask themselves this question; “Who is able to stand before the Lord, this holy God?” 6:20. Maybe they are starting to get it. A hard lesson for the Israelites learned in a hard way. Is Israel now ready to repent and return to their God? More next time. May I not be so dull and hard-hearted. God has provided me a path to walk on and it is revealed in His Word. It’s a path filled with purpose, joy and blessings. May I stay on that path. Don’t challenge God by stubbornly living for myself. Read the map daily to stay on course. May I stay close to God. “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path,” Ps 119:105.