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April 18, 2019

Please read today’s Scriptures and use the comment section on this page to share your insights from today’s reading. You can also just mention a verse that impacted you or post a question!

Read (and Hear) the Bible in One Year
Christian Standard Bible for 2019

Text: 1 Kings 15-17
Audio: 1 Kings 15-17

You can use the audio Bible as a guide to help “set the pace” as you read along.

1 Samuel 5 (ESV)

When the Philistines captured the ark of God, they brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. Then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it into the house of Dagon and set it up beside Dagon. And when the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, behold, Dagon had fallen face downward on the ground before the ark of the Lord. So they took Dagon and put him back in his place. But when they rose early on the next morning, behold, Dagon had fallen face downward on the ground before the ark of the Lord, and the head of Dagon and both his hands were lying cut off on the threshold. Only the trunk of Dagon was left to him. This is why the priests of Dagon and all who enter the house of Dagon do not tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day.

The hand of the Lord was heavy against the people of Ashdod, and he terrified and afflicted them with tumors, both Ashdod and its territory. And when the men of Ashdod saw how things were, they said, “The ark of the God of Israel must not remain with us, for his hand is hard against us and against Dagon our god.” So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel?” They answered, “Let the ark of the God of Israel be brought around to Gath.” So they brought the ark of the God of Israel there. But after they had brought it around, the hand of the Lord was against the city, causing a very great panic, and he afflicted the men of the city, both young and old, so that tumors broke out on them. 10 So they sent the ark of God to Ekron. But as soon as the ark of God came to Ekron, the people of Ekron cried out, “They have brought around to us the ark of the God of Israel to kill us and our people.” 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. 12 The men who did not die were struck with tumors, and the cry of the city went up to heaven.

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Next: 1 Samuel 6

Back: 1 Samuel 4

This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. The Heavy Hand of the Lord

    Isn't it true that most of us would rather think about things which are pleasant and make us feel good rather than things which are unpleasant and make us feel bad? It's human nature to gravitate to what we view is positive and helpful rather than negative and hurtful. 

    With that in mind, do we ever cringe when we read something that God does in the Bible? Do we ever feel uneasy or uncomfortable from what we read? Does it ever change our view of who we thought God was? This is especially true when we read something for the very first time. 

    One of the greatest epidemics in the church today is that people do not read the Bible and as such, do not know what the Bible says about God or about us. For some, hearing a sermon on Sunday morning is the extent of Bible intake for many in the church today. While it's important to listen to sound biblical teaching, many sermons focus on things which are pleasant and make us feel good at the expense of biblical truth which might be difficult to hear (and may even offend us).

    There is a movement in our society to classify certain teaching in Scripture as hate speech – such as homosexual activity being an abomination to the Lord and a sin. While the thieves, liars and adulterers have not joined the movement (yet), these ideas have crept into the church and are influencing people who do not read Scripture themselves and know what the Bible says because they have read it.

    Many of these churches say they are "affirming" as a way to make everyone feel welcome but the Bible never affirms sin – except to say we are all guilty of it and unless we are born again through faith in Jesus Christ, it will damage and destroy our lives on earth and we will stand in judgement for it when we die.

    While our doors should be open to everyone no matter their struggle, a Christian church should never make people feel comfortable with sin or turn a blind eye to it. If we encourage people to accept sin and not struggle against it, we are doing them a disservice even if it's done out of love for them. Just as a doctor should never affirm smoking or obesity so we feel better, we should always speak the truth (in love) and help people overcome the things which harm us spiritually.

    In today's reading, we learn the "hand of the Lord was heavy against the people of Ashdod, and he terrified and afflicted them with tumors, both Ashdod and its territory" (1 Samual 5:6). 

    How is this information helpful to us?

    For one thing, we learn that God is not passive. He is intimately involved in the lives of people. Another lesson we can learn is false gods are no match for the Almighty God. It's also clear that God not only allows affliction to happen to people, He Himself afflicts people. 

    When we read this, do we cringe at the severity of God?

    Does it change our view of Him when we think of Him terrifying people and afflicting them with tumors?

    May we never hide in ignorance by not reading the whole Bible or explaining away things that God does.  And may we never make up a god in our own minds who is made in our image because we would be guilty of worshiping a false god.

  2. I love how God establishes in this chapter that to Him alone belongs all glory, honor and praise. To ascribe worship to anything or anyone else but God is folly! 

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