Dear Diamond, Don’t Resist the Cut!

 “The ark of the God of Israel must not remain with us, for His hand is harsh toward us and Dagon our god!”

We see the army of Israel at war with the Philistines. Long story made short:  the Israelites get destroyed, and the ark of God is stolen by the Philistines. The Philistines think everything is well but soon discover that in whatever city they place the ark, the God of Israel punishes it with tumors, plagues, and death. They decide to send it back to Israel and are told by their priests and diviners to send it with an offering.shutterstock_132119546

“…By all means return it to Him with a trespass offering. Then you will be healed, and it will be known to you why His hand is not removed from you… you shall make images of your tumors and images of your rats that ravage the land, and you shall give glory to the God of Israel; perhaps He will lighten His hand from you, from your gods, and from your land. Why then do you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts?” (1 Sam 6:3-6) 


The question on my mind today: how can a people that realize the power and reality of God still refuse Him?


The Philistines had a hard time just giving God an offering and glorifying Him in the way the diviners recommended. So they definitely were not going to turn their lives around and accept God even after this undeniable experience of His power. They chose their own gods and selves over the truth. How bizarre! And yet this is the world we live in. This phenomena exists all around us. People experience the power of God, and they do not turn their lives over to Him. They acknowledge it and try to suppress it or get away from it but will not submit to Him.

I would think that any experience with God should lead one to faith and salvation, but it doesn’t. As shocking as it seems to me, miracles don’t make people believe! Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. One must be called by God to come to Him. I’m reminded of the religious folk of Jesus’ time who witnessed the power of God and yet resisted/blasphemed the Holy Spirit. I’m reminded of the parable about the rich man and poor Lazarus: when the rich man died and was tormented in Hades, he asked to be sent back to warn his family; it was told to him that even if his family saw a man raised from the dead it would not make a difference because, if they had not been convinced by the prophets and Moses, they would not believe. I’m reminded of pharaoh, who hardened his heart, even after witnessing all of the plagues in Egypt delivered by Moses; he refused to believe and submit. Why? Why not embrace the truth? Why not submit to God? I think it is because he wanted to be his own god and not be subject to the will of God Almighty. And I imagine that this is probably the devil’s problem too–stubborn narcissism. And it is a problem for many people today.

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 “The ark of the God of Israel must not remain with us, for His hand is harsh toward us and Dagon our god!”

The other thought is about the Word of God. “The ark” referenced in this scripture is also called the “Ark of the Testimony”, and it held the ten commandments. The ark represents the Word and presence of God. In a similar way, just like the Philistines expressed God’s hand being harsh on them and their god, people today feel that the Bible is too harsh on them and their lifestyles. So people are constantly trying to attack, remove, and/or discredit the Bible in any and every way possible. People wish to keep it closed and away from their lives. Why? Because the Word is sharper than any double-edged sword and will cut us all into pieces. The truth hurts! Even for Christians. Nobody really likes being cut! Change is uncomfortable! Sacrifice is too hard! Our flesh can’t stand pressure or struggle! So whenever we resist the Word of God, our hearts are saying like the Philistines, “[That Word] of God must not remain with us, for His hand is harsh!”

Yet, if we know who God is, how can we deny anything He has for us or says to us? If we’ve truly experienced God’s love, we must accept and submit to His will! He told us He has plans to prosper us, so we must learn to trust Him! We must learn to receive chastisement from Him, for He is our heavenly Father. We must know that when He prunes us, we bear more fruit! When He puts us under pressure and cuts us, we must recognize that He is transforming us from coal into diamond. We should not resist the Word of God. Why hide from the Truth? Why hide from our future? Let’s embrace God! And embrace the possibilities! 1361443474_owhoOv5

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