The Glory Departed

break throughI Samuel chapter 4 tells us that the glory of God departed as the Ark of the Covenant left Israel. Even a sign-child was born at that time, Ichabod, which means “The Glory is departed.” The Philistines brought the Ark to Ashdod, which ironcially means “stronghold”, but what happens is nothing short of amazing. The Philistines put the Ark in the temple of Dagon (the national god of the Philistines represented with human hands and face but the body of a fish). The next day when the priests came to the temple, Dagon had fallen on his face before the Ark of Yahweh. The priests put poor ol’ Dagon back in his place and guess what. The next morning when they came to the temple, Dagon had again fallen face down before the Ark but this time the head and both hands were cut off! Which means all that was left of poor Dagon was the “fishy” part of him! The text of I Samuel 5 tells us that the hand of Yahweh was heavy upon the people of Ashdod and he afflicted and terrified them with a plague. The Philistines moved the Ark around to different cities, but the same thing happened wherever the Ark went.
We don’t ever want to think that the glory of God has departed. But God is holy and will not inhabit rebellion and disobedience. But that does not mean the glory of God ceases to exist, it just moves to a different location. The interesting fact is the glory and power of Yahweh manifested strongly in the presence of the Philistines. This is still true today. The pure Ark of God was manifest perfectly in the person of Jesus Christ and today as Christians we demonstrate the glory of God through the Holy Spirit in us. But this also may mean we are moved to the land of the Philistines for a time. But be encouraged because the power of a holy God is starkly revealed in the midst of Philistines. If God has placed you in the land of the Philistines, be assured he has done this with purpose. It could be that Dagon will fall on his face and the true power and glory of Yahweh is revealed. If you find yourself in a strange place or a “fishy” circumstance, rejoice, for God is about to shatter Ashdod, the strongholds, and manifest his authority and dominion.

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