1 Samuel 4:12-8:22
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Interesting chapters in First Samuel today! The idol Dagon was no match for the Ark of the Covenant! You'll notice in verse 4 that Dagon ends up in a worship position before the Ark: "And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD." Dagon was the "god" of the Philistines, and was thought to have been some sort of man / fish combo. The idol of Dagon may have looked something like this:
Below is a pretty good map of that will show you where three of the Five Cities of the Philistines (Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, and Gath) that we read about in today's readings are located in the Philistine territory:
It's fascinating to see the Philistine's send back to Israel a "guilt offering" of golden tumors and rats with the Ark. Not quite what was prescribed for guilt offerings in Leviticus... but, I guess you can give them an E for effort. :) We read in chapter 6 verse 11 - "Then the Ark of the LORD and the chest containing the gold rats and gold tumors were placed on the cart."
Then we arrive at the people of Beth-shemesh who look in the ark and perish - and then the ark is sent off again to another town. We then arrive at some wonderful words from Samuel in chapter 7 verses 3 & 4: "Then Samuel said to all the people of Israel, "If you are really serious about wanting to return to the LORD, get rid of your foreign gods and your images of Ashtoreth. Determine to obey only the LORD; then he will rescue you from the Philistines." So the Israelites destroyed their images of Baal and Ashtoreth and worshiped only the LORD." And later in verse 10 we read - "Just as Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines arrived for battle. But the LORD spoke with a mighty voice of thunder from heaven, and the Philistines were thrown into such confusion that the Israelites defeated them."
Bible.org's commentary on our 1 Samuel readings today titled "The hands of Dagon and the Hand of God" is at this link.
We have some great dramatic reading today in First Samuel! Tyndale's One Year Bible Companion today has some good food for thought to the question of Why did Israel want a king? - "1. Samuel's sons were not fit to lead Israel 2. The 12 tribes of Israel continually had problems working together because each tribe had its own leader and territory. It was hoped that a king would unite the tribes into one nation and one army. 3. The people wanted to be like the neighboring nations. This is exactly what God didn't want. Having a king would make it easy for them to forget that God was their read leader." In First Samuel Chapter 8 we hear Samuel passing on God's warning to how the king will treat the people...
Worship God: Today's readings in 1 Samuel reminded me of Matt Maher's song "Hold Us Together:"
Do you believe that love will hold you together? Click here for Love!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "And the LORD told him: 'Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.'" 1 Samuel 8:7 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that you will never reject Jesus as your King. Pray that you will bow down only to Jesus as your King today and forevermore.
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
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