Hi friends! Today, let’s consider this devotional from our friends at One for Israel:
"And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners, saying, 'What shall we do with the ark of the LORD? Tell us how we shall send it to its place.' They said, 'If you send away the ark of the God of Israel, do not send it empty; but you shall surely return to Him a guilt offering. Then you will be healed and it will be known to you why His hand is not removed from you.' Then they said, 'What shall be the guilt offering which we shall return to Him?' And they said, 'Five golden tumors and five golden mice according to the number of the lords of the Philistines, for one plague was on all of you and on your lords. So you shall make likenesses of your tumors and likenesses of your mice that ravage the land, and you shall give glory to the God of Israel; perhaps He will ease His hand from you, your gods, and your land. Why then do you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? When He had severely dealt with them, did they not allow the people to go, and they departed?'" (1 Sam 6:2-6). Why in the world do the Philistines send five golden tumors and five golden mice back with the ark of the covenant? The answer may be found in the many allusions to God's judgements upon the Egyptians and their exodus from Egypt. Shared themes include divine "striking down" and "devastation" (Exod 2:12; 3:20; 5:14; 7:20; 8:12-13; 9:15, 25; 12:12; 1 Sam 5:6, 9; 6:19); God's "very heavy" hand against a foreign people (Exod 9:3, 18, 24; 10:14; 12:38; 1 Sam 5:11); consulting with diviners to deal with God's judgment (Exod 7:11; 1 Sam 6:2); sending the captives out with gifts, rather sending them away "empty" (Exod 3:19-22; 1 Sam 6:3); the ruining of the land of foreigners (Exod 8:20; 1 Sam 6:5); and God "dealing harshly" (Exod 10:2; 1 Sam 6:6) with those who have hardened their hearts (Exod 7:14; 8:11, 28; 9:7, 34; 10:1; 14:4, 17; 1 Sam 6:6). Why five golden tumors and five golden mice? In all likelihood the author is encouraging the reader to do the math: a total of ten offerings which correspond to the ten plagues on Egypt. And what's the moral of these stories? The God of Israel cannot be contained, controlled, belittled, or mocked. He is worthy of praise, and will always get the glory! "Therefore the LORD God of Israel declares, 'I did indeed say that your house and the house of your father should walk before Me forever'; but now the LORD declares, 'Far be it from Me — for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me will be lightly esteemed'" (1 Sam 2:30).
Today, let’s be reminded that, indeed, the God of Israel cannot be contained, controlled, belittled, or mocked. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in America, and it is the only truly American holy day of praise and thanksgiving to the One who deserves all glory. May tomorrow be a day we pay homage to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!