1 SAMUEL 5:6-12

Spend time in prayer and silence with God asking him to meet you and speak to you.

Bible Reading

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. 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.”

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. The men who did not die were struck with tumors, and the cry of the city went up to heaven.

– 1 Samuel 5:6-12


Go Deeper

In this passage we find that God is not willing to be ignored or treated as anything besides holy, and the Philistines encounter the living God in full force.

Because the Ark of the Covenant was a being held as a war trophy in Philistine territory, rather than in its rightful place in the Tabernacle at Shiloh, the hand of the Lord was against the inhabitants of each Philistine city where the Ark was held.

By the time the Ark reached Ekron, the people of Ekron were in a panic as many died or developed tumors. The whole city cried out in fear, and “the cry of the city went up to heaven.”

Our God is missional. He desires all to know Him and is more interested in us knowing Him than in our comfort.

Within the Philistine camp, the intense suffering caused the people to cry out in desperation to the one true God.

What might be seen as discipline or punishment of the Philistines for their callous treatment of the sacred symbol of God’s power also pointed them towards the one true God.

The Big Question

Has God been using difficulties in your life to turn your focus back to Him?
Conclude in prayer and silence reflecting on what you’ve learned.