Daily Reading: July 31st


#DailyDevotion God Doesn’t Judge By Outward Appearance. He Judges The Heart. How Will You Fare?

July 31st
Read 1 Sam 16:1–23
1Sa 16:4-7 Samuel did what the LORD commanded and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling and said, “Do you come peaceably?” (5) And he said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. Consecrate yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. (6) When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed is before him.” (7) But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”

Samuel being only human started by judging Jesse’s sons by their outward appearance. The Lord however tells him and us that is not how He judges people. The Lord judges the hearts of men. Already the Lord had judged David as one who would listen to Him and obey his Word when He gave it. That is not to say that David was a slouch. His appearance was ruddy, beautiful eyes and handsome. But again, that is not what the Lord was judging David on. No, the Lord was choosing David because of what was on David’s hearts. Not only was David’s heart known to the Lord but a certain young man in the service of Saul recognized David for who he was as well. It is interesting to note his description compared to what his brothers thought of him later on when it was time to face Goliath. But this young man saw in David someone skillful in playing music, a man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech and a man of good presence. Sometimes those closest to us as a brother are blinded by familiarity and do not see us for who we really are.

David is the eighth son of Jesse. Eight in the bible is the number of new beginnings. There were 8 people in the Ark for a new world. Circumcision took place on the eighth day making boys members of Israel. David is going to be something new. Indeed he would be the new dynasty to take over Israel from Saul. Being the youngest boy we also see that God chooses not the way man chooses. David was certainly God’s choice.

Now just as David judged the heart of David and found him worthy, what will God, the Lord find when he judges your heart? Rom 10:10 “For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” What you confess with your mouth is what you believe. It shows people what is on your heart. Will the Lord Jesus find a heart that will do all that His Word says? Will your heart be found to one which trust the Word of the Lord which says that Jesus is your Rock, your Life, your Salvation or does your heart trusting someone or something else? What does your mouth confess? The good news is when Jesus found you and invited you into His heart you were not people who trusted solely in Him wanting to do everything He has commanded. No, you were weak, sinners, and enemies of God when Jesus died and won salvation for you. You did not trust in Him when He knocked on the door of your heart and invited Himself in, casting out the demons there with His Word and replacing them with His Holy Spirit. All this, he did purely out of grace, a free gift for you.

Lord Jesus Christ, we pray that now that you have taken possession of our hearts through the Holy Spirit by the gospel, we pray that you will find us always faithful to you and your Word as David your ancestor by the flesh was faithful to you. Amen.

Daily Reading: July 30th


#DailyDevotion The Lord Wants Obedience Born Of Faith

July 30th
Read 1 Sam 15:10–35
1Sa 15:19-23 Why then did you not obey the voice of the LORD? Why did you pounce on the spoil and do what was evil in the sight of the LORD?” (20) And Saul said to Samuel, “I have obeyed the voice of the LORD. I have gone on the mission on which the LORD sent me. I have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and I have devoted the Amalekites to destruction. (21) But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the best of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the LORD your God in Gilgal.” (22) And Samuel said, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. (23) For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has also rejected you from being king.” 1Sa 15:28 And Samuel said to him, “The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this day and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you.

I told you it wouldn’t end well with Saul. I find it interesting that Samuel doesn’t even address Saul’s claim that they were saving the best to sacrifice to the Lord is sincere or not. He takes Saul at his word says that doesn’t matter.

What does matter? Obedience to the Word of the Lord! Obedience to the Lord exudes from Faith in the Lord. They did not obey because they did not believe. You might remember they killed all the worthless animals. But whether Saul is telling the truth or not that doesn’t matter. They did not obey the Lord. His sincere intentions didn’t matter. Obedience matters because faith matters.

So what about you? Have you ever done things with “good intentions” but it wasn’t what the Lord Jesus Christ has said he wanted you to do? Do you try to justify your disobedience to the Lord to do something perceived as good but you know it’s not what Jesus has told you to do?

1Sa 15:25-26 Now therefore, please pardon my sin and return with me that I may bow before the LORD.” (26) And Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you. For you have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you from being king over Israel.” We note that Samuel didn’t say that Saul was not forgiven. The Lord’s primary will towards men is always forgiveness and mercy. But there is a temporal punishment to teach Saul to trust the Lord and be obedient. The kingdom will be taken away from Saul and given to another. It won’t stay in his family. When we sin against the Lord, even with good intentions, and we admit our faults and confess our sins, the Lord Jesus Christ will certainly bestow forgiveness upon us on account of His blood. Jesus will not necessarily take away our temporal punishments so we and those around us will take notice and not sin as we did.

Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you that with you forgiveness and mercy is always greater than our disobedience. Help us to recognize our sinfulness through our temporal punishments and may others learn from our sins not to fall into them. Grant us your Holy Spirit that we may rightly trust in do and do what you desire of us in your Word. Amen.

Daily Reading: July 29th


#DailyDevotion Devote You Old Life To Destruction

July 29th
Read 1 Sam 14:47—15:9
1Sa 15:2-3 Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘I have noted what Amalek did to Israel in opposing them on the way when they came up out of Egypt. (3) Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.'”1Sa 15:8-9 And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive and devoted to destruction all the people with the edge of the sword. (9) But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep and of the oxen and of the fattened calves and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them. All that was despised and worthless they devoted to destruction.

What does the Law of God say?
Deu 7:1-6 “When the LORD your God brings you into the land that you are entering to take possession of it, and clears away many nations before you, … (2) and when the LORD your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them, then you must devote them to complete destruction. You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them. (3) You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, (4) for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the LORD would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly.

Saul and the Israelites did not pay attention to the Law or to Samuel’s word which was given to Saul. This cannot end well with Saul. Perhaps we can learn a lesson from this. While we as Christians are not going to run about devoting people and the things they use to destruction, there perhaps should be a bit of otherness about us. While when people see us they may not instantly say, “Look, there’s a Christian!” we might want them to recognize us as such as they observe us over time.

Peter writes, 1Pe 2:4-5 “As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, (5) you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” And again, “2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”

We Christians are the true Israel of God. While we must interact with pagans, heathens, atheist, agnostics and other godless people, how else can we bring the Gospel to them, we are not to adopt their ways. We shouldn’t marry such people and if we shouldn’t marry them we shouldn’t date them either. Some of the ways they have “fun” we might not be participating in or to the extent they participate in those ways. Perhaps we need to simply devote to “destruction” our old way of life and adopt the mind of Christ, which is, Php 2:2-4 “being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. (3) Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (4) Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

Lord Jesus Christ, you have called us to be your Israel through your death and resurrection. Give us faith to devote to destruction all that hinders our faith in you and love to neighbor. Amen.

Daily Reading: July 28th


#DailyDevotion God Knows The Intent Of Your Heart

July 28

1 Sam 13:1–18

1Sa 13:10-11  As soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came. And Saul went out to meet him and greet him.  (11)  Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines had mustered at Michmash,…13 And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the LORD your God, with which he commanded you. For then the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever.  (14)  But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought out a man after his own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.”

 

Sometimes it seems as if the Lord is a stickler for details. Sometimes he give more grace and mercy than we think he should. But the Lord’s thoughts and ways are higher than our own. Our sinfulness keeps us from understanding his ways.

 

In today’s account we might think the Lord is being a stickler for details. We might say with our individualistic thinking, “Who cares who lights and offers the sacrifice? All that matters is a proper sacrifice is offered, right?” Well, no. The Lord has reasons for certain people offering certain sacrifices at certain times. The Lord may love you as an individual but you don’t get to do whatever you think you ought to do. But that really isn’t the problem here. The problem here is Saul acted foolishly.

 

To foolishly is to act out of fear. It may appear Saul was offering a sacrifice to appease the Lord. In fact, in fear, because the men were deserting him left and right, he offered the sacrifice to make it look as if the Lord was with them. He did not offer it up in fear of the Lord but fear of loss of self-esteem. He didn’t believe the Lord would deliver the Philistines into his hands with the few men that weren’t running away. He desired the honor of men than the glory of God. Because of this, Saul would lose his kingdom to his servant David.

 

So have you acted foolishly? Are you letting fear drive your actions? Are you acting with faith in the Lord’s promises? Do you fear men more than you fear the Lord? Jesus reminds us that our loyalty belongs to him and his Father. Faith in God’s love for us on account of Jesus should rule all our thoughts, speech and actions. Yet, like Saul, many times a day we run around like Chicken Little Christians worrying about the sky falling and acting foolishly instead of turning to the Lord Jesus Christ in faith and believing the Father cares for us. Remember his promise that you are worth more than birds and every hair on your head is counted. He knows what you need before you even open your mouth.

 

Heavenly Father, help us always to be faithful to your promises so that we may not live our lives in fear, particularly the fear of men, but instead live our lives in your loving care. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Daily Reading: July 27th


#DailyDevotion It’s Never A Good Thing For The Church To Imitate The World

July 27th
Read 1 Sam 12:1–25
1Sa 12:12-15 ESV And when you saw that Nahash the king of the Ammonites came against you, you said to me, ‘No, but a king shall reign over us,’ when the LORD your God was your king. (13) And now behold the king whom you have chosen, for whom you have asked; behold, the LORD has set a king over you. (14) If you will fear the LORD and serve him and obey his voice and not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, and if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the LORD your God, it will be well. (15) But if you will not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then the hand of the LORD will be against you and your king.

You know the old saying, “Watch out what you pray for, you may just get it.” Well the Israelites wanted a king like their neighbors and the got one. Sure Saul was pretty good at first but as we’ll see he eventually degrades as a king. David will have his problems and the rest of the kings of Israel will certainly be like the kings who surround the Israelites. They will not be like their true King, the King of the Universe.

The people and the kings will not listen to the Lord their God and follow his commandments. The Lord was patient with them and from 1000 A.D. to 722 the Israelites had one of their own as a king and Judah, which was split off from Israel in three generations, had kings until the 6th century B.C.. Their list of kings ended because the people and the kings went their own ways and the hand of the Lord was against them. They did not trust the Lord and did not obey him.

About a thousand years later after this, the Lord is very patient, the Lord Himself would present Himself as King to the Jews. What happened then? Joh 19:14-18 ESV Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He[Pilate] said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” (15) They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” (16) So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, (17) and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. (18) There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them.

So even when the Lord comes to them as one of them they reject him. Of course the kingdom he comes to institute is not of this world. He does not come as the kings of this world come. He comes to conquer, yes. But he does not come to conquer the Romans. His enemies are sin, death and the devil. He doesn’t do it by brute force, swords and other machinery. He uses his own people and their enemies, the Romans, to crucify him. He uses their rejection of him again as king to gain for himself a new people who will trust in him. This new people is you.

Lord Jesus Christ, grant us faith in you so we may receive you as our king, trust you for our salvation and live out a life which is pleasing to you. Amen.

Daily Reading: July 26th


#DailyDevotion God Wants To Give You A New Heart

July 26th
Read 1 Sam 10:1–27
1Sa 10:3-7 ESV Then you shall go on from there farther and come to the oak of Tabor. Three men going up to God at Bethel will meet you there, one carrying three young goats, another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a skin of wine. (4) And they will greet you and give you two loaves of bread, which you shall accept from their hand. (5) After that you shall come to Gibeath-elohim, where there is a garrison of the Philistines. And there, as soon as you come to the city, you will meet a group of prophets coming down from the high place with harp, tambourine, flute, and lyre before them, prophesying. (6) Then the Spirit of the LORD will rush upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man. (7) Now when these signs meet you, do what your hand finds to do, for God is with you.:9 When he turned his back to leave Samuel, God gave him another heart. And all these signs came to pass that day.

One does not encounter the Lord without being changed. Saul encountered the Lord, moreover the Word of the Lord in the person of Samuel. Having been anointed by Samuel for the purpose of being king, he was later anointed by the word of Samuel with the Holy Spirit. He prophesied and he became another man. You see, God gave him another heart.

David would later describe it, Psa 51:10 ESV “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Paul would say, 2Co 5:17 ESV “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” And again, Gal 6:15 ESV “For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.”

God intends for all of us to be made anew. It is necessary. We are totally corrupted by sin and are unable to change ourselves. If we are to change, if we are to be born again or born from above, it must be God’s doing. Only God in Christ can make us acceptable, blameless and pure before himself.

John writes, Joh 1:12-13 ESV “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, (13) who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” He testifies that this is not our doing or man’s doing but God’s doing in Christ. Jesus would say three chapters later in John, Joh 3:3-6 ESV Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God… “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. (6) That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. The Lord Jesus accomplishes this at baptism where we are joined, connected, made one with his life, death, resurrection and ascension. Just as Saul was anointed with oil and the word of God we are anointed and made new people, a new creation through baptism, the Word and the Spirit.

Lord Jesus Christ, may we live out our lives as new men, new creations which you have created when we were baptized by you. Amen.

Daily Reading: July 25th


#DailyDevotion Your Parents Are Next To God

July 25th
Read 1 Sam 9:1–27
1Sa 9:1-5 There was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish, the son of Abiel, son of Zeror, son of Becorath, son of Aphiah, a Benjaminite, a man of wealth. (2) And he had a son whose name was Saul, a handsome young man. There was not a man among the people of Israel more handsome than he. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people. (3) Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, were lost. So Kish said to Saul his son, “Take one of the young men with you, and arise, go and look for the donkeys.”…(5) When they came to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant who was with him, “Come, let us go back, lest my father cease to care about the donkeys and become anxious about us.”

THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT
Honor your father and your mother.
What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not despise or anger our parents and other authorities, but honor them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them.

In our account today we start off with an example of keeping the 4th commandment. Notice what Saul does when his father gives him an assignment. He gets up and does it. Saul is a grown man, a young man sure, but grown. Yet he still honors his father. He doesn’t yell, kick or scream. He doesn’t make excuses of why he can’t do something. Nope, he just gets on it.

We also note something else, what Saul thinks about his father. He believes his father will be missing him and be more concerned for him than his donkeys. This tells us that Saul’s father appreciates and understands his role as a father. He doesn’t treat his children like chattel or playthings. He loves them and is responsible for them. He also trust them to do the job set before them.

This may be a lot different from some of today’s fathers and children. It is hard to tell if the media i.e. TV, sitcoms, movies and commercials reflect the culture of our day or if it is influencing it. Perhaps it is a bit of both. Paul warns us in Romans that when we reject Jesus as our Savior and our God there is a direct consequence as to how we will live our lives. Rom 1:28-32 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. (29) They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, (30) slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, (31) foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. (32) Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Perhaps we have notice this in ourselves with our own family. Is there help? Is there forgiveness? Can there be change? Most definitely! We all must confess our sins, admit our faults and then believe that Christ Jesus indeed has won forgiveness for us and gives us the Holy Spirit that we might live the life he wants us to live.

Lord Jesus Christ, we have not trusted you and lived life apart from your Word. Grant us faith and your Holy Spirit that now may live according to your will. Amen.

Daily Reading: July 24th


#DailyDevotion Israelites Still Reject The Lord Jesus Christ As King

July 24th
Read 1 Sam 8:1–22
1Sa 8:5-9 and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” (6) But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the LORD. (7) And the LORD said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. (8) According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. (9) Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”

Samuel’s son go the way of Eli’s sons but this time the people will not put up with it. But their main complaint is against Samuel himself. The Lord sees this as a complaint against himself. For they don’t just want Samuel and his sons to be replaced, no they want a king like the rest of the nations. You see up to this point the Lord is King over Israel.

When Israel desires a king it is saying it no longer wants God, the Lord as King. It is rejecting the Lord. Of course this is nothing new. Israel is constantly rejecting the Lord and turning to other gods. The Lord is going to give them a king and Samuel is going to warn them about what their kings are going to do and what they are going to be like. It is a sad state that they would rather have a king other than the Lord. They would choose a king that would oppress and enslave them.

It is strange that people like to be oppressed. We don’t like freedom. We want someone to tell us what to do and how to do it. What the Lord tells us in the Law doesn’t seem enough. The same thing is true with the Gospel. The freedom of the Gospel makes people uneasy. It is terribly freeing. It places you in a place where you have nothing to lose. But that is the way the Lord Jesus Christ wants it. When he is Lord of your life, when he is your king, you are living in freedom.

So are you going to let Jesus be your king and live his gospel freedom or are you going to look to men to tell you how to live your lives. Certainly the Lord send us men like Samuel to help explain and teach what the Gospel means and to apply it to us.

Lord Jesus Christ, help us by your Holy Spirit to enjoy your blessed Kingship over our hearts and our lives. Help us to hear your voice in those whose feet are beautiful and rejoice in your Gospel of salvation. Amen.

Daily Reading: July 23rd


#DailyDevotion Is Jesus Your Every Thing Or Do You Worship Idols Too?

July 23rd
Read 1 Sam 6:19—7:17
1Sa 7:3-6 And Samuel said to all the house of Israel, “If you are returning to the LORD with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your heart to the LORD and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.”…(6) So they gathered at Mizpah and drew water and poured it out before the LORD and fasted on that day and said there, “We have sinned against the LORD.” And Samuel judged the people of Israel at Mizpah.

The Israelites never seemed to have gotten it. I guess on one hand that is a good thing. They serve as an example to us. “How so?” you say. Just this, that even as the Lord had delivered the Israelites time and again, they very often as soon as the crisis was over went to worshipping foreign gods, Baal and Ashtaroth. They had their little house gods for the little things of life. One god for toothaches another for smelly feet. One god for having sharp blades and another to keep the wife happy. You name a situation or circumstance in your life and they probably had a god to take care of it much like Rome the East have saints to take care of every instance of life. And when the big things mattered they worshipped Baal and Ashtaroth. God would then hand them over to serve those people who served those gods. They would subject them to themselves, make slaves out their children, take the work of their hands and the like. Eventually they’d cry out to the Lord for help and he would help them.

So today in the lesson, the people of Israel cried for help and the Lord helped them. Note well Samuel’s words, “, “If you are returning to the LORD with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your heart to the LORD and serve him only…” Then the people repented and confessed their sins against the Lord. The Lord then helped them.

You might not pray to idols, Baal or Astaroth. You might not turn to the saints for help. But what do you turn to for your day in and day out troubles? What do you turn to for your big troubles? Many people turn to sex, drugs, alcohol or even food to help them get through the day to day problems. Some turn to them with their big problems. Some procrastinate to deal with life. Other fight and argue, gossip and slander to deal with things. We act out on our fears with numerous bad habits or defects of character. But what we don’t do is turn to the Lord and if we do turn to Him we do so with all the rest of the things we turn to on a regular basis.

Jesus wants to be your everything. Repent! Confess your sins! Trust him that he is there for you in every aspect of your life. Put away those things which used to comfort you which eventually carry with them a heavy price. Jesus’ load is not burdensome but light. Don’t turn to created things or ideas or habits to make it through the night. Get on your face and ask Jesus and your heavenly Father for help. They want to help you. They care for you. You are the most important thing in their life. Jesus proved it by going to the cross on your behalf. You can trust him.

Lord Jesus Christ, help us to cast out everything we trust instead of you from our hearts and my your Holy Spirit take up his dwelling there that we believe and trust that you and the Father will take care of us. Amen.

Daily Reading: July 22nd


#DailyDevotinon The Lord Jesus Christ Is Not To Be Trifled With

July 22nd
Read 1 Sam 5:1—6:3, 10–16
1Sa 5:11  They sent therefore and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines and said, “Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it return to its own place, that it may not kill us and our people.” For there was a deathly panic throughout the whole city. The hand of God was very heavy there…1Sa 6:4  And they said, “What is the guilt offering that we shall return to him?” They answered, “Five golden tumors and five golden mice, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines, for the same plague was on all of you and on your lords…14 The cart came into the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh and stopped there. A great stone was there. And they split up the wood of the cart and offered the cows as a burnt offering to the LORD.  (15)  And the Levites took down the ark of the LORD and the box that was beside it, in which were the golden figures, and set them upon the great stone. And the men of Beth-shemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrificed sacrifices on that day to the LORD.

 

Little did the Philistines understand that it was the Lord that gave them the victory that day and allowed his Ark to be captured. He was going to show his glory among them by killing their god Dagon and inflicting the Philistines with plagues. Time after time no matter where they moved the Ark of the Lord disaster came upon them. Finally they decided to go to the Israelites for help. We don’t know where the Israelites came up with this prescription but perhaps they were following the pattern of the bronzed serpent, make an image of your affliction and offer it up to the Lord.

 

When the cart gets to the Israelites of course they rejoice. The offer the cows who brought in the Ark as a sacrifice to the Lord and set the golden tumors and golden mice on the big rock the cart had come to. On the one hand the Lord accepts the sacrifice. On the other hand, the Lord strikes seventy of them dead in verse 19 because they had looked upon the Ark of the Lord. Sometimes you wonder why he didn’t do that to the Philistines. Maybe he was having mercy on them because they didn’t know better. Maybe the Israelites opened the lid. We don’t really know. Certainly Israelites had seen the Ark when it was brought out in battle in the past. Obviously, they were not acting in faith.

 

What can we learn from this? Our God is a Living God. He is not a statue, painting, image that can be captured and tamed, broken or otherwise injured. He demonstrates his glory and power as he sees fit and has mercy upon whom he will have mercy. The Lord Jesus Christ is not to be trifled with. He can see into your heart and know if you are dealing humbly and honestly with him. For this, we should be reverent and conduct our days in the fear of the Lord. But we should also learn that our Lord Jesus Christ desires to be with his people. Even as the Ark was returned to the Israelites, our Lord Jesus Christ has given us his name and his body and blood to be present with us in mercy as he has promised as we gather together. For this, our Lord Jesus Christ should be praised and glorified for his mercy and kindness towards us.

 

Heavenly Father, ever grant us true fear, love and trust in you and your Son Jesus Christ, that our lives may demonstrate our worship of the same in all our doings. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.