1 Samuel 6:1-2 When the ark of the Lord had been in Philistine territory seven months, the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the Lord? Tell us how we should send it back to its place.”
This whole story is fascinating in a number of respects. In chapter 4, the Israelites treated the ark like a good luck charm, thinking it would bring them victory despite their not being in obedience to God, and as a result it was captured. Then the Philistines who captured it had a number of calamities, some obviously supernatural, and they wanted to get rid of it. And here we have the Philistine rulers consulting pagan priests and fortunetellers. What strikes me about this is that these people gave the rulers accurate advice. They were not serving the true God, but the words they spoke were true. This reminds me of the fortunetelling slave girl who followed Paul and Silas proclaiming, accurately enough, that “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” (Acts 16:17) Just because someone is giving accurate facts doesn’t mean they are following the One who is Truth. (John 14:6) The devil will use anything he can to trap people, even accurate information! What these people in the story suggested to the rulers is also fascinating, because it required that God intervene supernaturally to cause animals to do something they would never do on their own. That reminds me of the lions who didn’t eat Daniel. (Daniel 6:21-22) In our “modern” era we forget that God is by definition supernatural, that is, above and greater than the natural world, and many people completely discount the stories like this one, not to mention the many miracles recorded in the New Testament. One of many problems with that attitude is that it totally deprives us of the very idea of a Savior. If we discount the supernatural, we are left with having to save ourselves, and that is pretty pathetic. We are to apply ourselves and make good use of what we have available, but we quickly discover there are very real limits to that, and without God we have no hope. We have an innate awareness of this, which is why there is no culture without a religion of some sort, but many atheists try to placate that inner urge by essentially worshiping “science,” which is really just worshiping man. Everything works better when created beings realize and accept that they are just that, and turn their hearts to their Creator.
It’s a good thing I was raised in a home where the awareness of God was a given, because even so, I managed to go pretty far in conceit and essentially worshiping human potential. I’m still a big fan of scientific discoveries and accomplishments of all sorts. I’m pretty hyped about the Space-X launch this week! However, over the years God has taught me, both in moments of revelation and over time, that He is still God, very much supernatural, and indeed, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17) I have learned that absolutely everything we are able to do is solely the result of God’s grace, whether we use it for good or not. He didn’t have to give us inquiring minds that could search out things, but He did. I am to be a good steward of everything He has placed in my hands and remember that it is all because of Him, so that His supernatural purposes may be accomplished, even in and through me, for His glory.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for all You did yesterday, both in the service and for our anniversary. Thank You that the streaming of the service is gaining a good audience. I pray that Your plans would indeed be fulfilled, for the salvation of many and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!