Wednesday, January 16, 2008


It was a bloody battle. 34,000 Hebrews died. They thought they should bring the ark of the covenant into town. After all, it was YHWH's presence. Maybe then they'd win or something. The Philistines heard them screaming and hollering when the ark rolled in. They got scared. Being the sneaky enemies of God that they were, the Philistines went and stole the ark of the covenant. Eli was judge at this time. When he found out, he fell out of his chair and cracked his neck in half and died. When Eli's daughter-in-law, who was pregnant, found out about all this she went into labor and gave birth and died. Before she died, she, probably in a really painful tone, said we should call her son Ichabod. Ichabod means "the glory has departed."

Then, these wily little Philistines put the ark of YHWH in their god's cute little house. His name was Dagon. The next morning, the Dagon statue was bowing down before the ark. Not cool if you're a Philistine. So they just sat ol Dagon upright again. The morning after that there was more bad news in the Philistine Herald, the local news papyri: the Dagon statue had not only fallen down again, but his hands and his head were busted off. After realizing how stupid their statue god was, they knew they had to get rid of the ark. But before they could, YHWH struck them with tumors and killed many of them. He is holy [6.19-20]. Don't presume on His glory or His presence.

After 50,000 more were slaughtered in Israel, the Hebrews knew that God's presence could not be confined to a box and that His promised mercy was all they needed. Thus, they pleaded with Samuel, "Don't cease to cry to YHWH for us, that He may save us from the hand of the Philistines" [7.8]. Knowledge of need for intercession and rescue was not enough. They needed YHWH himself. But they rejected him as king [8.7].

Spiritually and practically pondering, how do I treat the presence of the living God? Or is it even on my radar screen? How often does His holiness influence the decisions I make? How often do I see my functional and pragmatic gods fail and fall before His wisdom, yet I still return to them? Under what circumstances do I think of Him as my King?

Father, thank you for Jesus and how all your promises are yes in Him [2 Cor 1.20].

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