1 Samuel 5:1-7:17 ~ John 6:1-21 ~ Psalm 106:13-31 ~ Proverbs 14:32-33
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Old Testament - Interesting chapters in First Samuel today! The idol Dagon was no match for the Ark of the Covenant! You'll notice in verse 4 that Dagon ends up in a worship position before the Ark: "And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD." Dagon was the "god" of the Philistines, and was thought to have been some sort of man / fish combo. The idol of Dagon may have looked something like this:
Below is a pretty good map of that will show you where three of the Five Cities of the Philistines (Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, and Gath) that we read about in today's readings are located in the Philistine territory:
It's fascinating to see the Philistine's send back to Israel a "guilt offering" of golden tumors and rats with the Ark. Not quite what was prescribed for guilt offerings in Leviticus... but, I guess you can give them an E for effort. :) We read in chapter 6 verse 11 - "Then the Ark of the LORD and the chest containing the gold rats and gold tumors were placed on the cart."
Then we arrive at the people of Beth-shemesh who look in the ark and perish - and then the ark is sent off again to another town. We then arrive at some wonderful words from Samuel in chapter 7 verses 3 & 4: "Then Samuel said to all the people of Israel, "If you are really serious about wanting to return to the LORD, get rid of your foreign gods and your images of Ashtoreth. Determine to obey only the LORD; then he will rescue you from the Philistines." So the Israelites destroyed their images of Baal and Ashtoreth and worshiped only the LORD." And later in verse 10 we read - "Just as Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines arrived for battle. But the LORD spoke with a mighty voice of thunder from heaven, and the Philistines were thrown into such confusion that the Israelites defeated them."
Bible.org's commentary on our 1 Samuel readings today titled "The hands of Dagon and the Hand of God" is at this link.
New Testament - It is very interesting to note that Jesus' miracle of feeding the 5,000 is the only miracle, along with the resurrection, that is described in all 4 gospels! In John chapter 6 verse 14 we read - "When the people saw this miraculous sign, they exclaimed, "Surely, he is the Prophet we have been expecting!"" The Prophet the crowds are referring to comes from Deuteronomy chapter 18 verses 15 & 18 - "The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him.... I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him."
Bible.org's commentary on our John chapter 6 readings today titled "The Messiah: Mightier than Moses" is at this link.
Psalms - Today in Psalm 106:19-21 we read: “At Horeb they made a calf and worshiped an idol cast from metal. They exchanged their Glory for an image of a bull, which eats grass. They forgot the God who saved them, who had done great things in Egypt.” This of course sounds very familiar to Romans chapter 1 verses 22 and 23: "Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles." Was this wise that the Israelites exchanged their Glory for an image of a bull? Why did they do this? What should have been their Glory? What is your Glory today? Do you, at times, exchange your true Glory for something else? Is this wise? Are you forgetting the God who saved you? The God who has done great things for you? Please don’t ever exchange the true Glory for a false idol!
Verse 13 in this Psalm also stands out: "Yet how quickly they forgot what he had done! They wouldn't wait for his counsel!" Is this true of us? Do we forget or take for granted all of the blessings God has poured out into our lives? In doing so, do we decide to take matters into our own hands - not waiting on God's counsel for our direction? Will we remember? Will we wait? Patiently...?
Proverbs - I really like Proverbs 14 verse 33 today - "Wisdom is enshrined in an understanding heart." I pray we all develop understanding hearts that are full of godly wisdom!
Worship God: Today's Proverb reminded me of Charlie Hall's song "Give Us Clean Hands" (and give us clean hearts):
Do you want clean hands? Click here to be made clean!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture this week: "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12 NIV
Love Your Neighbor: Teen Challenge
Comments from You & Questions of the Day: What do you think this Proverb means when it says "understanding heart"? What is an "understanding heart"? How is it different from other hearts? Maybe hardened hearts or foolish hearts? Have you ever prayed to God for an understanding heart? Would this be a good prayer? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!