Summary: This sermon is dedicated to understanding True Worship by looking at a couple of stories surrounding the Ark of the Covenant
Theme: God’s Presence
Title: Ox Carts, Hemorrhoids and True Worship
Grace and peace this morning in the name of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
In Romans 15:4 the Apostle Paul shares with us an amazing truth:
“Whatever was written ahead of time, you see, was written for us to learn from, so that through patience, and through the encouragement of the Bible, we might have truth.”(KNT)
The Apostle Paul wanted members of the Early Church to be known both as readers and doers of the Word. Paul knew that one of the best ways for Christ followers to grow and mature was for them to be committed disciples of the Word. Paul knew that the more they studied the Word the more they would allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide them into experiencing a deeper relationship with the LORD.
One of the Early Churches that excelled in this area was the Church at Berea. In Acts 17:11-12 we read these words:
“The people there (the Bereans) were more generous in spirit than those in Thessalonica. They received the word with considerable eagerness, searching the scriptures day by day to see if what they were hearing was indeed the case. Many of them became believers, including some of the well-born Greek women, and quite a few men.” (KNT)
One of the Churches that had difficulty in this area was the Church at Corinth. Listen to what Paul has to say about them:
“In my own case, my dear family, I couldn’t speak to you as spiritual people, but as people who were all too obviously merely human, little babies in the Messiah. I fed you with milk, not solid food, because you weren’t able to take it in – and you still can’t even now! You’re still determined to live in the old way!” (1 Corinthians 3:1-3a – KNT)
History tells us that the Corinthians lack of being able to tolerate “spiritual solid food” hindered them for years even though they were a church that possessed many of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. One of the Early Church Fathers, Clement of Alexandria writes to the Church years after the Apostle Paul and spends a great deal of time in his letter admonishing the Church to get into the Word and grow up.
It is important for all of us to be people of God’s Word. We can never underestimate the need to be people of the Book.
The Bible is full of these amazing stories that enable us to better understand the Lord, ourselves, others and creation. This morning, I want to share two of those stories which center on the Ark of the Covenant.
The first one goes all the way back in 1 Samuel chapters 4 and 5. The Children of Israel were getting ready to go to war against the Philistines. Spiritually, they (the Israelites) were at a very low ebb. Their High Priest Eli and his sons had been their spiritual leaders and they had failed to teach and lead the people towards the true way of the LORD.
As a result the people came to believe that if they just took the Ark of the Covenant into battle with them that they could never be defeated. They saw the Ark of the Covenant as a type of spiritual “Lucky charm” that would ensure victory. It didn’t matter how obedient Israel was to the LORD all that mattered was that they had the Ark of the Covenant.
However, the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY does not play that game and instead of Israel being victorious by using the ark as a spiritual “Lucky Charm” they were defeated and the Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant.
Supposedly, that meant that now the Philistines had power over the Ark of the Covenant.
What happened next was rather amusing to say the least.
+At first, the Philistines put the Ark of the Covenant into the Temple of Dagon and placed it beside the idol of Dagon. They thought that they would now have the protection of both Dagon and the god of Israel with Dagon being the more powerful god. After all, they had been able to defeat Israel and capture the Ark.
+However, the next morning when they went into the Temple of Dagon, the idol of Dagon had fallen with his face down; bowing before the Ark of the Covenant. Quite disturb over their idol paying homage to the Ark the Philistines quickly picked Dagon up.
+ The next day the same thing happen, the idol of Dagon was found with his face down in front of the Ark of the Covenant. Once again they picked Dagon up and stood him upright.