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Wednesday, April 15, 2020

2020.04.15 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Samuel 5:1–5

Questions from the Scripture text: Where did the Philistines take the ark (1 Samuel 5:1)? Into whose house did they set it (1 Samuel 5:2)? By whom did they set it? At what time did the people of Ashdod wake (1 Samuel 5:3)? Where did they find Dagon, and what was he doing? What did they do to Dagon? When did they arise the next day (1 Samuel 5:4)? Where was Dagon? What was he doing? What had happened to him? How did the priests and worshipers of Dagon respond to this, long term (1 Samuel 5:5)? 
The Philistines thought Dagon had won the battle of the gods (cf. 1 Samuel 4:7). But, as we will painfully find out if the Lord is merciful enough to bring us to our knees in this life, He abides no competition.

The first lesson is pretty obvious. You can try to prop your god up, but it will end up on its face, and if you keep going, it’ll lose its hands and its head. Your money can’t love you back, and it will sprout wings and fly away. Fame is empty and vanishes quickly. Legacies get forgotten. Laid up possessions just wait until calamity takes them, or even just a foolish descendant. Your sin cannot give you deep joy, and even its light pleasure cannot last long—ultimately, apart from Christ, that sin will bring the wrath of God upon you forever and ever.

The second lesson is only slightly more subtle. We have a hard time giving up our idols. What a ridiculous and hard-heartedly wicked tradition arises in 1 Samuel 5:5! Their idol has been humiliated and destroyed, and still there are priests who serve him and worshipers who frequent his temple. They even treat as holy the threshold on which their god was humiliated! We are so stubbornly wicked—even when God’s mercy knocks our idol on its face, we tend to double down and press on in living for it anyway. God help us!
What have you been depending upon or delighting in that has failed you lately?
Suggested Songs: ARP42A “As Pants the Deer” or TPH42C “As Thirsts the Hart for Water Brooks”

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