I find it interesting that God does not just try to communicate with God’s chosen people, Israel. God also tries to get through to the Philistines, the enemies of God and God’s people. We saw in yesterday’s reading that God showed them that Dagon was not a god at all.
The LORD's hand was heavy on the people of Ashdod and its vicinity; he brought devastation on them and afflicted them with tumors. When the people of Ashdod saw what was happening, they said, "The ark of the god of Israel must not stay here with us, because his hand is heavy on us and on Dagon our god." (1 Samuel 5:6-7 NIV)
The Philistines even started to see it. When God inflicted enough pain on their rebellion and false-god worship, they decided to do something about it.
So they called together all the rulers of the Philistines and asked them, "What shall we do with the ark of the god of Israel?" They answered, "Have the ark of the god of Israel moved to Gath." So they moved the ark of the God of Israel. (1 Samuel 5:8 NIV)
When we listen to God, we start to see God’s perspective. Sometimes, we find ourselves in sync with God. We see our part in God’s plan. We are encouraged to know we are walking together with God. When we see God’s perspective at other times, though, we recognize that we are not walking with God. Those are the moments when we need to make a decision. Will we stay our course, or will we change?
But after they had moved it, the LORD's hand was against that city, throwing it into a great panic. He afflicted the people of the city, both young and old, with an outbreak of tumors. So they sent the ark of God to Ekron. As the ark of God was entering Ekron, the people of Ekron cried out, "They have brought the ark of the god of Israel around to us to kill us and our people." (1 Samuel 5:9-10 NIV)
When we decide to stay the course, we know why we are experiencing the struggle. We are fighting God. When we change, though, what kind of change will we make. Do we change just enough to minimize the pain and send it somewhere else? Or do we change everything that is necessary to start walking together with God?
So they called together all the rulers of the Philistines and said, "Send the ark of the god of Israel away; let it go back to its own place, or it will kill us and our people." For death had filled the city with panic; God's hand was very heavy on it. Those who did not die were afflicted with tumors, and the outcry of the city went up to heaven. (1 Samuel 5:11-12 NIV)
How about you? When you recognize that you are not walking together with God, do you change? Do you change just enough to minimize the pain, or do you change everything so you are walking together with God?