Summary: This morning I would like to direct you to an unusual passage of Scripture as I see it. This to me is a strange passage but I believe has great application for each of us.
“Has Anybody Seen My Milk Cows?”
Date: November 16, 2003 A.M Service
Place: Allendale Baptist
Background chapter 4
This morning I would like to direct you to an unusual passage of Scripture as I see it. This to me is a strange passage but I believe has great application for each of us. Let me set the stage of events leading up to this story.
In chapter 4 we are told that Israel went to battle their arch-enemies, the Philistines. This seems to be an ongoing accurance with these two nations. But one thing that stands out to me here in this passage is that Israel went out on their own strength. Verse 2 tells us that the Philistines defeated Israel. Israel lost some 4000 men of the army in the field.
Once again trying to settle things their own way, someone got the smart idea to sent back to the town of Shiloh and bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts. Remember the Ark of the Covenant was the symbol of the presence of God. When the Israelites crossed over into the Promised Land, the Ark of the Covenant went before them. I believe what we see here is exact ally what many Christians and even churches do with the Lord. We try to do things what may seem to be right but we do them in our own strength or say this is what we should do. Now here me, fighting the enemies of the Lord is a noble task, but if God is not in it, it will fail. And the Israelites did what many of us would do; “we were defeated, now let’s get God involved.” But notice they did not put the Ark of the Covenant in its rightful place. They just brought it along as a trophy.
Verse 10 of chapter 4 tells us that once again the Philistines defeated the army of God and lost 30,000 foot soldiers. Then the Philistines took the Ark of the Covenant. They had taken the presence of God away from God’s people because of their selfishness.
Chapter 5 gives us the story of what happened when this pagan nation placed the presence of God in the midst of their temple before their own false god. The Bible tells us the next morning when the Philistines went to check on the Ark of the Covenant, that the Philistine god, Dagon, had fallen over and was on it’s face before the Ark of the Covenant. They set Dagon up again, and the next morning the same thing had happened; Dagon was on it’s face before the Lord, but this time it’s hands and the head were broken off. Only the torso was left of the idol. What does God’s Word tell us? “Every knee shall, every tongue shall confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord.”
The Bible goes on to tell us that “The hand of the Lord was heavy upon the Philistines and HE ravaged them and struck them with tumors.” Wanting to rid themselves of this plague, the Philistines called upon their lords; the priests and theologians.
These men tell the Philistines that to stop the curse they must send the Ark of the Covenant away with a trespass offering on a new cart. They make images of their tumors out of gold along with five golden rats. If the cart goes away back to the land of the Israelites, then they will know that this was the God of Israel that has caused these things.