Today’s Old Testament reading in the Treasury of Daily Prayer is from 1 Samuel 5 and 6. Let’s consider just 5:1-6:1:
1 Samuel 5:1 - 6:1 When the Philistines captured the ark of God, they brought it from Ebenezer to
This is the sort of story that we shy away from at the dinner table with our children. It would cause our little ones to ask questions…questions that may even make us uncomfortable. Nevertheless, the Lord reveals himself through His Word…even this Word!
The Philistines had placed the Ark of God in the temple of their pagan god, Dagon—the height of idolatry! Mysteriously, or so those Philistines thought, their lifeless statue had fallen on his face before the ark—the same position one might take when they bow before the true and living God in worship. But when the Philistines placed Dagon back on his feet, they woke up the next morning to find him fallen again, only this time he had fallen to his “death”—hands and feet had been broken off and were lying on the threshold.
Among people who worship false gods and where there is no faith, even the physical presence of God can go unnoticed until something happens that they don’t like. And then, they want to get as far away as possible from that scary God who has revealed himself in wrath.
Dagon’s head had been broken off because there is only one Head of all creation—and through Him alone all life proceeds.
Dagon’s hands were broken because he was powerless, and had nothing to give from his own hands. For from the hands of the living God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—do all blessings flow.
The false gods of men can not give life, but only bring death. When we put our trust in anything other than God himself, we make ourselves to be like the foolish Philistines.
But there is a sort of happy ending to this story. In chapter six, when the Ark of God is taken back to a land where God is known and Worshiped, songs of praise are sung, for they know that from His hands come all good things.
Seen with the eyes of unbelief God comes in wrath. But the very same God, seen with the eyes of faith, and looking through the cross of His Son Jesus, know that God comes in mercy and grace.
Truly, God’s Word is both Law and Gospel. Thanks be to God, that he has given us Christ and for His sake comes not to kill, but to give life.
Peace in Christ!