Summary: God reigns in every situation, He is present in every affliction, and His purpose prevails in every crisis.
1 Sam 5:1-12 GOD CANNOT BE CONTAINED ES 15 Nov 15 1936
Israel fought the Philistines in the first battle and lost 4000 soldiers.
• Someone came up with a bright idea to bring the Ark of God with them, believing that it will bring them success.
• They fought the 2nd battle at Ebenezer, with the Ark with them, and lost 30,000 men.
Hophni and Phinehas (two sons of Eli) were killed, fulfilling the prophecy God gave Samuel.
• Eli, on hearing the news, fell backward, broke his neck and died.
• Phinehas’ wife, who was pregnant, on hearing the news of the death of her husband and her father-in-law, went into labour pains, gave birth and died.
Without a relationship with God, nothing works. We cannot play games with God and win.
• The Ark of God was taken in battle. Let’s read what happens - 1 Sam 5:1-12.
They took the Ark of God from the battlefield at Ebenezer to Ashdod, one of their five major cities.
• From a human point of view, it looks as though God is being held hostage. But the truth is, God’s sovereign rule has never, at any time, been compromised.
• He rules, just that the people don’t see it. Until God shows it.
• The subsequent events tell us WHO is truly God and in complete control over all circumstances.
God will bring the Ark back to Israel without even a fight.
• Read on to chapter 6 and we will see the Philistines returning the Ark of God GLADLY, on their own accord, without hesitation, back to Israel.
• And together with it, offerings of guilt (appeasement) - gold objects (rats & tumours).
GOD REIGNS in Every Situation
In Ashdod, they placed the Ark in the temple of Dagon, one of their gods.
• In their mind, capturing the Ark is like defeating Israel’s God.
• This was what they commented earlier in 4:7 when they heard that the Ark has arrived in Israel’s camp.
• 1 Sam 4:7-8 “the Philistines were afraid. “A god has come into the camp,” they said. 8“…Who will deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods?”
Now that this golden chest is placed beside the statue of Dagon, it would really look that way - the Ark is subordinate to the statue.
• Dagon now prevails over the God of Israel, who lost the battle.
• This thought cannot stand. God moves to correct this.
I do not believe that God perform miracles just to show off or to impress people.
• I believe there is a purpose behind every miracle. I don’t think God steps into our world and perform something supernatural just for fun or to impress.
• God is sending a message. “I am the only true God. I am not being ‘captured’ by you, I reign.”
What a shock they have the next morning. Dagon their god was found fallen prostrate, with his face on the ground, before the Ark.
• You can imagine the excuses they made in defence of their god – “Oh the wind last night must have been strong, or some dogs must have jumped on him. Or maybe a mild earthquake happened last night and shook it down.”
• Whatever the reason, they pick him up and put him back in his place. We can be sure that after this “accident”, Dagon will be placed more securely than before.
But it got worse the next day. Not only did they find Dagon their god lying flat on the ground, both its head and its hands were broken off.
• You cannot lift him up now. Only the trunk is left, without heads and hands. Dagon needs to be repaired!
• To have this happen again shows that what took place yesterday wasn’t a coincidence or an accident.
God is sending a message. He is the true God and He rules. The God of Israel is real and His power is evident.
• Anyway, what kind of a god needs to be picked up from the ground, to be carried with human hands? What god can be broken up and needs repairing or servicing?
• God is making Himself known to the Philistines! This is the grace of God!
• They were given the chance to repent and acknowledge Him, just like the people of Nineveh when God called Jonah to preach to them.
Dagon lost its hands. God’s hands are still at work. God is calling out to them.
• 1 Sam 5:6 “The LORD's hand was heavy upon the people of Ashdod and its vicinity; he brought devastation upon them and afflicted them with tumours.”
• C. S. Lewis: “God shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”