Israel sinned by using the Ark of the Covenant as a lucky rabbit’s foot. They lost the battle, their high priest and the Ark in a single day.
Eli sinned by allowing the Ark to be taken. He lost his two sons and his life, along with the Ark he was supposed to be stewarding.
Bad sins. Bad consequences.
But God has many considerations in every situation, and in this one, His reputation mattered a lot. When the Philistines put the Ark in the temple of their god Dagon, as a trophy of spiritual victory, God calmly arranged for Dagon to come down off his platform and fall on his face before the Ark in a highly appropriate posture.
The priests of Dagon stood him up the next day, but that night he was down again, this time with head and hands broken off.
The city elders decided they had had their fair share of triumphing over the God of the Hebrews, so they shipped the Ark to the next city.
They promptly had an epidemic and decided to share the victory with a third city.
The elders of the third city had a collective panic attack and arranged for the Ark to be sent back to Israel, rather quickly, since they wanted none of these triumphal celebrations.
God sent the Philistines to punish Israel because they had sinned. But God turned right around and punished the Philistines, because they mocked His power.
The reality is that we are not all innocent victims of the presence of the Egyptian curse and demons. Some people have rolled out the red carpet with gusto. But, at the same time that God is allowing him to hurt us, it hurts God’s reputation.
Only God can sort out that one. Our sinning with impunity hurts His reputation too.
Today we ask God graciously to attack the Egyptian demons in the same way He did the Philistine gods, for the sake of His honor.
Copyright July 2015 by Arthur Burk
Wearily, from home, at the end of my first day back in the office.