Thursday after the Third Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 1 Samuel 5:1-12 (NKJV)
5:1 Then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. 2 When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon and set it by Dagon. 3 And when the people of Ashdod arose early in the morning, there was Dagon, fallen on its face to the earth before the ark of the Lord. So they took Dagon and set it in its place again. 4 And when they arose early the next morning, there was Dagon, fallen on its face to the ground before the ark of the Lord. The head of Dagon and both the palms of its hands were broken off on the threshold; only Dagon’s torso was left of it. 5 Therefore neither the priests of Dagon nor any who come into Dagon’s house tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day.
6 But the hand of the Lord was heavy on the people of Ashdod, and He ravaged them and struck them with tumors, both Ashdod and its territory. 7 And when the men of Ashdod saw how it was, they said, “The ark of the God of Israel must not remain with us, for His hand is harsh toward us and Dagon our god.” 8 Therefore they sent and gathered to themselves all the lords of the Philistines, and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel?”
And they answered, “Let the ark of the God of Israel be carried away to Gath.” So they carried the ark of the God of Israel away. 9 So it was, after they had carried it away, that the hand of the Lord was against the city with a very great destruction; and He struck the men of the city, both small and great, and tumors broke out on them.
10 Therefore they sent the ark of God to Ekron. So it was, as the ark of God came to Ekron, that the Ekronites cried out, saying, “They have brought the ark of the God of Israel to us, to kill us and our people!” 11 So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, “Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go back to its own place, so that it does not kill us and our people.” For there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there. 12 And the men who did not die were stricken with the tumors, and the cry of the city went up to heaven.
When God causes the statue of the false god Dagon to be prostrate (fallen face down and eventually broken) before the Ark of the Covenant—and similarly when Elijah mocks the foolishness of the prophets who trusted in the false god Baal because their prayers went up to nothing (1 Kings 18:20-40)—a bit of a “Ha ha, take that” cockiness can arise within the children of God. It must be remembered, however, that the one true Triune God is a jealous God, who commands that there be no other gods before Him!
What about our own flesh, then, that carries out an endless breaking of the First Commandment on a daily basis? In our flesh nothing good dwells. Being brought to our knees (or lower) is never a comfortable position for prideful flesh.
As it was with the Philistines, so it is for everyone; the Judgement Seat of God’s Law is impossible to escape. The only place for believers to boast is the same place of which all can flee for refuge: the Mercy Seat, who is Christ Jesus! Thanks be to God that His Law mercifully strikes us down with the purpose of raising us up through faith alone in His Gospel (the fully atoning merits of Jesus Christ, crucified and risen)!
We pray: O God, the protector of all who trust in You, without whom nothing is strong and nothing is holy, multiply Your mercy on us that, with You as our Ruler and Guide, we may so pass through things temporal that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.