From Today in God’s Word
1 Samuel 5-6; Romans 5
In 1 Samuel the account of Dagon’s humiliation and the return of the Ark of the Covenant is given but there is something unsettling about how it ends in chapter 6. Although the impotence of Dagon is exposed in this account, in the end the Philistines and the Israelites are both afflicted by the hand of God for their sin. So the concept of empty worship or a distant heart come to the surface and it reminds me of Isaiah 1 and God’s condemnation of worship that is brought according to his law by people who are not keeping his law.
“12 “When you come to appear before me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts? 13 Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations— I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly. 14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them.” (Isaiah 1:12–14, ESV)
So like Paul explained yesterday we see again that it is not the physical people group that is blessed, but the one who takes God at his word. The people of Beth-shemesh would have been intimately aware of the fact that the mercy seat on the Ark separated the high priest from the law of God during his careful atonement ritual that he would carry out once per year in the presence of the Ark. No doubt they should have heeded the command not to touch the Ark (Numbers 4:15, 20) and so the picture is clear that our great God is a consuming fire and his courts are not to be trampled.
In Romans 5 today Paul explains that we indeed have peace with this terribly holy God. He tells us that our peace and our access to him is through Christ, our great high priest who has absorbed God’s wrath on our account that we might have a standing in his grace. We have been reconciled to God and we need not fear him when we are taking him at is word and trusting in his Son as our access. May we rejoice that it is the life of the Son, even more than his death, that offers us abundant life today and communion with God as Christ lives to intercede for us.
Soli Deo Gloria!