OUR LORD WHOSE PRESENCE WAS CAPTURED AWAY FROM HIS PEOPLE ( part 2 )
Continuing from yesterday where we looked at 1 Samuel chapter 4 verses 11 - 12 and followed through to the end of the chapter at verse 22, we now look at 1 Samuel chapter 5.
In this part of the narrative, a significant change has occurred. Whereas up to this point, Israel's army was the focus of the nation's ability to contend with their enemies, we now see that after their defeat and humiliation, the nation had lost faith in their strength.
With Israel in despair, it is now the Lord God Himself who takes issue with the Philistines and begins an intensifying campaign of psychological warfare against them.
1 Samuel chapter 5 begins this way;
After the Philistines had captured the ark of God, they took it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. Then they carried the ark into Dagon’s temple and set it beside Dagon. When the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! They took Dagon and put him back in his place.
The Philistines had carried the ark of God into the temple of their deity called Dagon but the next morning, they found Dagon face down in front of the ark of the God of Israel.
They had to have believed that this event was mere happenstance and thus put Dagon back in his place but the passage continues to describe how the next morning, they found Dagon's torso face down again but this time with his hands and feet broken off and laying on the threshold of their temple.
Shortly thereafter, a plague of tumors started afflicting the Philistines causing them to realise that keeping the ark of the God of Israel in their midst was causing a dangerous state of affairs. The Philistines tried moving the ark from city to city but everywhere it went, it brought mayhem, disease and death to the people there.
The Philistines, seeing the pattern, called a meeting of their leaders and demanded that the ark be sent back to where it came from. The text reads this way;
So they called together all the rulers of the Philistines and said, “Send the ark of the god of Israel away; let it go back to its own place, or it will kill us and our people.” For death had filled the city with panic; God’s hand was very heavy on it.
The God of Israel was with the ark when it was taken and He, by His own power, escalated a war on the Philistines that compelled them to reach their own conclusion to return the ark of God to Israel.
Our Lord is not dependent on the strength of the armies of men to win battles. When the strength of men is exhausted and broken down and defeated, the Lord then arises quietly and creates conditions of panic among the enemies of His people.
What God's children have lost is then restored to them by the might of God. Bless the Lord.