May 26, 2023
“After the Philistines had captured the ark of God, they took it from Ebenezer to Ashdod, brought it into the temple of Dagon and placed it next to his statue.”
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“After the Philistines had captured the ark of God, they took it from Ebenezer to Ashdod, brought it into the temple of Dagon and placed it next to his statue. When the people of Ashdod got up early the next morning, there was Dagon, fallen with his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord. So they took Dagon and returned him to his place. But when they got up early the next morning, there was Dagon, fallen with his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord. This time, both Dagon’s head and the palms of his hands were broken off and lying on the threshold. Only Dagon’s torso remained.” 1 Samuel 5:1-4 (HCSB)
In my lifetime, I have watched several major “Christian” leaders fall into sin, which led to public scandal and the downfall of the large ministries built on their vision and charisma. Every time this has happened, skeptics of Christianity don a coy grin and announce that God is either dead or dying in our culture. This was surely the mindset of the Philistines toward Israel when they introduced the “defeated” God of Israel (the Ark) to His “conqueror,” Dagon.
What the Philistines were about to learn was that “the God of Israel” is actually the God of all creation! And apart from Him, there is no god. Furthermore, His power and agenda being accomplished are not dependent upon the worship of His followers. It is not as if we are the “batteries” that empower the Lord. He is not waiting on us to surge Him with worship before He can act. He is completely independent and self-sustained.
I believe it was Oswald Chambers who said, pertaining to Kingdom work, “God has given us a limited participation in something He doesn’t need us to do.”
Here is our big takeaway from today’s chapter: Don’t begin to think that you can manipulate God like a lucky charm for your own convenience, and don’t think He needs you to support and carry Him. He doesn’t need our worship. His holiness demands it, and His loving kindness accepts it. He existed before creation, and He can take care of Himself. The only community He needs is His own tri-unity. And in that notion is our understanding of His great love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, He sent Messiah Jesus to die for us. Still, if any carrying is to be done, He will carry us!
“Bel bows down, Nebo stoops; their idols were on the beasts and on the cattle. Your carriages were heavily loaded, a burden to the weary beast. They stoop, they bow down together; they could not deliver the burden, but have themselves gone into captivity. “Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been upheld by Me from birth, who have been carried from the womb: even to your old age, I am He, and even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.” Isaiah 46:1-4 (NKJV)
By the way, despite the moral defeat of those high-profile Christian leaders, God is very much alive and has not diminished in power and authority, holiness, or praiseworthiness! There is no panic in Heaven, only planning. And with that knowledge, we trust and worship Him.
©Steve Wiggins 2021