1 Samuel 5:8: “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.”

February 10th, 2020 by Pastor Ed in devotional

The Philistines put the ark of the covenant into the house of Dagon, their god. The Lord loved the gentiles who lived in these cities so He performed an obvious display of His power over their idol, Dagon, a fish-god. They found the idol fallen before the ark 2 mornings in a row. The second morning the hands and head of the idol were broken off. The Philistine city leaders decided to get rid of the ark by sending it to one of the other 4 Philistine city-states. Gath was close, located about 12 miles east of Ashdod. (Gath was also the home city of Goliath, the giant David defeated, and where David fled twice to get away from King Saul.) After such a forceful picture of superiority over their god, why didn’t the Philistines quickly turn to the Lord?

Humanity hasn’t changed much. Still today, when men are confronted with the truth, they reject God despite the evidence not because of the evidence. Belief in God has not been tried and found lacking; it has been tried and found difficult, because surrendering is involved. To worship THE God rather than material gods, like Dagon, a massive change of perspective of who’s in charge is required. This was a change the Philistines weren’t willing to make, and, sadly, it’s a change many today still aren’t willing to make.

It is interesting that God never coerces or forces a person to believe. History has recorded this fact over and over again. Lord Kenneth Clark, a British author, who was internationally known for his television series Civilization, lived and seemingly died without faith in Jesus Christ. He wrote in his autobiography that while visiting a beautiful church, he had what he believed to be an overwhelming religious experience. “My whole being,” he said, “was irradiated by a kind of heavenly joy far more intense than anything I had known before.” However, the “gloom of grace,” as he described it, created a problem for him. If he allowed himself to be influenced by grace, he knew he would have to change. He wrote that he worried his family might think he had lost his mind, and that maybe that intense joy he had felt would prove to be an illusion. So he concluded, “I was too deeply embedded in the world to change course.”

“LORD, we surrender anew to Your will for our lives this day.”