1 Samuel 4, 5, 6
Focus Verse: And when the men of Ashdod saw how things were, they said, “The ark of the God of Israel must not remain with us, for his hand is hard against us and against Dagon our god.” – 1 Samuel 5:7
The Philistines’ first reaction to the hand of God being against them was to push Him farther away from them. They did not seek to get to know the one true God who they had offended. The Philistines knew that the one true God was real and alive and all-powerful because they heard about how He had struck the Egyptians with every sort of plague before they let the Israelites go. They did not think to repent of their false worship or turn from their false god, Dagon. They only sought to rid themselves of the one true God.
The afflictions God brought upon the Philistines after they took the ark may have been harsh, but He was only trying to get their attention and make them realize that He was no trite deity who could be worshiped and treated in any fashion. He was not Dagon. He was God.
When God tries to get your attention, is your first reaction to run away from Him? To put as much space between the two of you as possible? There is no place you can go to avoid God’s spirit or to be out of His sight. Even if you climbed to the sky, He would be there. Or even if you crawled underground, He would be there. If you flew on the wings of the morning to the far western horizon, God would find you in a minute because He would already be there waiting. Even in the dark, He sees you – darkness and light, night and day, they’re the same to God (Psalm 139:7-12).
God’s actions may seem harsh, but they are not meant to hurt you, but to help you. If you stop running and turn to Him, you will find that the hand that once seemed to be against you was always for you.