Does the Victor Even Want the Spoils?

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings:
1 Samuel 4-6; Luke 9:1-17

 

After the Philistines took God’s chest, they brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. Then the Philistines took God’s chest and brought it into Dagon’s temple and set it next to Dagon. But when the citizens of Ashdod got up early the next morning, there was Dagon, fallen face down on the ground before the Lord’s chest! So they took Dagon and set him back up where he belonged. But when they got up early the next morning, there was Dagon again, fallen face down on the ground before the Lord’s chest—and this time Dagon’s head along with both his hands were cut off and lying on the doorstep! Only Dagon’s body was left intact. That’s why to this day Dagon’s priests or anyone else who enters his temple in Ashdod doesn’t step on the threshold.

The Lord’s hand was heavy on the people of Ashdod: God terrified them and struck them in Ashdod and its surroundings with tumors. When Ashdod’s inhabitants saw what was happening, they said, “The chest of Israel’s God must not stay here with us because his hand is hard against us and against our god Dagon.”

So they summoned all the Philistine rulers to a meeting and asked, “What should we do with the chest of Israel’s God?” The people of Gath said, “Let the chest of Israel’s God be moved to us.” So they moved the chest of Israel’s God to Gath. But once they moved it, the Lord’s hand came against the city, causing a huge panic. God struck the city’s inhabitants, both young and old, and tumors broke out on them.

10 Then they sent God’s chest to Ekron, but as soon as God’s chest entered Ekron, the inhabitants cried out, “Why have you moved the chest of Israel’s God to us? In order to kill us and our people?”

11 So they summoned all the Philistine rulers to a meeting and said, “Send the chest of Israel’s God away! Let it go back to its own home so it doesn’t kill us and our people,” because there was a deadly panic throughout the whole city. The hand of God was very heavy there. 12 The people who didn’t die were struck with tumors, and the screams of the city went all the way up to heaven. (1 Samuel 5:1-12, Common English Bible).

If you want to see some beautiful work, sometime go into Google and type in “Arc of God” and then select images. You will see several people’s ideas and then handiwork based on what they believe the Ark of the Covenant actually looked like.

It all started with a battle. It was a battle the Israelites lost and Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas were both killed in the battle. Before the end of chapter four, Eli was dead as well, just as God had spoken to Samuel in chapter 3.

The result of the battle was the old saying, “To the victor goes the spoils.” If the pictures of the replica Arks of the Covenant are anything like the real thing, who could blame the Philistines for wanting to take it. It is beautiful. It is gold. It would be worth a fortune. And now, because they won the battle, it belonged to the Philistines.

What the Philistines quickly learned was, taking the Ark was one thing, safely keeping it was quite another. Bad things started befalling the citizens of the two towns who had possession of the Ark. The end result, everyone is calling for its return. And, when you keep reading, you will see the return.

To the victor go the spoils is an ancient tradition of war. And such, at least in certain parts of the world still holds true. This story, however, is a caution. When we take things that don’t belong to us or to our people, very little good can happen. Our greed can take away from the item’s beauty. When we take that which God intended for others, a high price could become ours to pay.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

 

Author:

"The Pastor Ponders" is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. Bishop and I live in Sweeny, Texas where I am the pastor of First United Methodist Church. I have served here for the past two years. For the past 27 years I have served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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