“But after they had moved it, the Lord’s hand was against that city, throwing it into a great panic. He afflicted the people of the city, both young and old, with an outbreak of tumors.[b]10 So they sent the ark of God to Ekron. As the ark of God was entering Ekron, the people of Ekron cried out, “They have brought the ark of the god of Israel around to us to kill us and our people.” 11 So they called together all the rulers of the Philistines and said, “Send the ark of the god of Israel away; let it go back to its own place, or it[c] will kill us and our people.” For death had filled the city with panic; God’s hand was very heavy on it. 12 Those who did not die were afflicted with tumors, and the outcry of the city went up to heaven.” 1 Samuel 5.9-12
I will always remember the Indiana Jones movies as a boy growing up. Harrison Ford played the role with precision. He was a great hero as he sought to preserve history and truth. The moment in the movie after they found and opened the ark of the God was unforgettable. I won’t describe the scene again to you in it’s graphic details but the carnage was immense.
Although that was just a movie, what is happening in 1 Samuel is not. The philistines have stolen the ark of the God and I bet they wish they hadn’t. Not only did it cause mayhem and destruction in Ashdod, now in Enron, it is sending the people into a panic because people were dying, getting tumors and panic filled the city. It’s not unlike the affects of those evil Nazis in the Indiana Jones movie who took the ark out of selfishness, greed and the desire for power.
As I wrote about yesterday, the ark represented God’s very presence. And, he said he would reside there. Those who stole this previous possession from the Israelites had no idea the great disaster it would cause. They soon realized that taking this artifact from the Jews would cause much more harm than good, they could not wait to remove it from their presence.
The opposite is true of those of us who want and long for God’s presence. Although God no longer represents his presence in the ark, he does so in our hearts for those who have trusted his Son as Savior. Those who have received Jesus have received the Holy Spirit. Just as the inheritance of the tribe of Levi was “the presence of the Lord,” (see Deut. 10.9) so the Holy Spirit is our inheritance for those who have been saved by grace.
The Presence of God is death to some and life to others. His power that was unleashed in Act 2 on Pentecost allowed all who would receive Jesus to be filled with his power and presence. We could finally know God, not just about him.
Today God’s presence is just as powerful. When he fills someone they speak differently, live differently and love differently. When you confess your sins, believe that God raised Jesus from dead, you will be saved! And his presence — the same presence that hovered in and around the ark of God — will fill you with his power and love.
Have you surrendered to his presence? Have you submitted to his will? Have you been saved by the blood of Jesus? Lean in to Christ, love God more and ask him to fill you with his presence.
“O Lord God, you are good. I am but a part of your creation. My body will fail but my soul will endure for eternity. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me with your power and might. Help me know the presence of the Lord in fullness. Teach me, draw me and lead me to yourself. I praise you Lord for your patience with your people. I praise you for your Son Jesus who died and rose again for the sins of the world. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen