What will you do with the Presence?

God afflicted the people of Ashdod and everyone in the surrounding area with a plague of tumours because the Ark was in that town. The people of Ashdod responded to the outbreak of the plague by saying that the Ark must not stay in their town because of the devastation caused to the people and their god Dagon. Therefore, they called an urgent meeting with the rulers of the Philistines and asked them, “What shall we do with the Ark of the God of Israel?” The Philistine rulers moved the Ark to Gath, where there was also an outbreak of tumours. Then they sent the Ark to Ekron. As the Ark entered Ekron, the people of Ekron cried out that the Ark of the God of Israel had arrived to bring death and destruction. So they called all the Philistine rulers together and said, “Send the Ark of the God of Israel away; let it go back to its own place, or it will kill us…,“ (1 Samuel 5: 6-12 NIV). God was trying to get the Philistines’ attention. It took the devastation of two towns for them to understand that while the Ark of God may well have been in Philistine hands, the god of the Philistines was in the hands of the only true God. The people of Ekron would not allow their leaders to bring the Ark to their town. However, they failed to see the impotence of their god and to view the true God in all His awesome majesty. All they wanted was for the symbol of the presence of God, the Ark, to go away. When Jesus cast out the legion of demons from the demoniac in the Gadarenes, the people begged Jesus to leave their town too (Mark 5: 1-17). They did not want Jesus interfering with their routines and destroying their livelihood by casting out demons into their pigs. They did not want the holiness and transforming power of God in their lives. They wanted business as usual. When you are faced with the destruction of your idols and you see how useless they are, do you fall on the mercies of the idol Destroyer? Or, do you ask Him to leave you alone? What will you do when the Presence of God Himself is in town?

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