Capture of the Ark provokes God
1 Samuel 5: 1 -
And the Philistines took the ark of God, and brought it from Ebenezer unto Ashdod.
Yesterday I was very saddened when I heard a Pastor whom I respected as not being like most other Pastors, but he too showed he was one like them. He was furious that his congregation youth were actively taking part in activities for building God's Kingdom without doing formalities. I was not to bring this up and give it time but the Lord wants to speak on this today so that hearts that hear may repent and change before it is late.
Today's message talks of the anger of God when Philistine took hold of the Ark of God. It was the very Ark which would cause fear in the hearts of the enemies of Israel. They knew when Israel carried the Ark no army could come before it, they knew even their greatest gods had no power against the Ark of God. They later saw how the head of their great god Dagon who was worshiped throughout many kingdoms, how his head broke and fell at the foot of the Ark.
Dagon was a god who was half man and half fish. Fish symbolized multiplication so this god connected to fertility and was their chief god. Fertility did not mean only of the human race but of all worldly things like riches and power and kingdom.
The word 'Philistine' means "immigrants" it comes from the word 'Philistia' which means "land of sojourners". It refers to worldly people unlike Israel who were Hebrews meaning "from beyond".
In the Gospels we read Jesus tells us unless we do not carry the Cross we will never be His disciples. Paul in his letters also talks of the power of the Cross.
People mistake the Cross with the crucifix. The crucifix (sacrifice) was part of the Cross of Jesus Christ and not the Cross. Our Crosses are all part of the Cross of Jesus Christ and as one Body we all lift the Cross which brings us to victory unto the Promise Land - Heaven.
In the Gospels and other books of the New Testament we get only a preview of the Cross but cannot understand the Cross unless we understand it from the Old Testament. In the Old Testament the Cross can be understood fully by its shadow which is symbolized as the Ark of God.
When other people saw Israelite men carrying this object on their shoulders they may have seen them burdened, labouring to carry it. But the men carrying it knew what they were carrying and the power it held. They knew their life depended on it for it was this object that empowered them to defeat all their enemies, however great they were. It was this object that crushed the powers of the gods of their enemies. The men never got tried carrying it and many waited for their turn to carry it, it was a privilege to bear this object. Only people selected by the Lord could carry it (the tribe of Levi were selected and the word Levi means "joined to"), any other person or unclean person carrying it or just touching it would die instantly. It was this object that allowed them to cross the Jordan (meaning "inheritance") river to enter the Promised Land.
The Cross may look like a burden but it is a privilege to bear the Cross on our shoulders. Not all can carry the Cross but only those who are one in Christ, joined to Him by His Spirit, like the Son is one with the Father, for their Spirit is the same. The Cross holds immense power when borne and no power can come against us when we carry the Cross.
Jesus said unless the Gospel is preached to all nations the end will not come, only those that endure to the end will be saved, those who nail their flesh to the Cross will be a new creation, these and many other instructions define or identify our Cross in Jesus Christ. Our Cross is our purpose in the purpose of Jesus Christ which is the coming of the glory of the Kingdom of God.
As Christian each one of us has to bear our Cross and it is only in the process of our bearing the Cross we really become Christians. It is when we are focused on our Cross we overcome our flesh and become a new creation in Christ. It is only when we carry our Cross we become Sons of God and inherit the Kingdom of God and enter Heaven our eternal home.
In today's message the Lord is telling the worldly people with their worldly rules and regulations, and worldly wisdom, who worship the prosperity of their name, their fame, power, riches etc. who have taken captive the Cross and put it before their god of fertility. The Lord is telling them He will cut of the head of their fame, their name, their power, their riches and bring it to the foot of the Cross. It is time they repent and remove these gods out of their lives and respect the Cross. If they do not want to carry it they should at least respect it and not come in its way or the Lord will make a testimony of them.
[ Prayer Starter ]
Lord, your Kingdom suffers for Christians have gods in their lives and have given up on carrying their Cross. Christians suffer because all are in the flesh living a carnal life void of the Cross. In the name of the Cross they carry their gods. Lord, we pray a change in the heats of these stiff-necked people that they do not literately take your children as domestic animals; as their property. A shepherd is a caretaker of the sheep and not the owner of the sheep. Jesus as man showed us how to be good shepherds, may they too learn from Him and give glory to You alone and no one else...
This prayer we make in Jesus' Name, Amen.
[ Reference Scriptures ]
2 For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary.
3 And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all;
4 Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;
5 And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.
5 when the camp setteth forward, Aaron shall go in, and his sons, and they shall take down the veil of the screen, and cover the ark of the testimony with it,
6 and shall put thereon a covering of sealskin, and shall spread over it a cloth all of blue, and shall put in the staves thereof.
35 And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, O Jehovah, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee.
36 And when it rested, he said, Return, O Jehovah, unto the ten thousands of the thousands of Israel.
8 At that time the LORD separated the tribe of Levi, to bear the ark of the covenant of the LORD, to stand before the LORD to minister unto him, and to bless in his name, unto this day.
9 Wherefore Levi hath no part nor inheritance with his brethren; the LORD is his inheritance, according as the LORD thy God promised him.
Matthew 24:14 - And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
Matthew 24:13 - But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
Matthew 10:38 - And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
Matthew 16:24 - Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
1 Corinthians 1:17-18
17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
Hebrews 12:2 - Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross [even though He did not carry the crucifix all the way], despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
2 wherein ye once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the powers of the air, of the spirit that now worketh in the sons of disobedience;
3 among whom we also all once lived in the lust of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest:—
4 but God, being rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace have ye been saved),
6 and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus:
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