THURSDAY November 15, 2018
Therefore they [people of Ashdod] sent and gathered to themselves all the lords of the Philistines, and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel?” And they answered, “Let the ark of the God of Israel be carried away to Gath.” So they carried the ark of the God of Israel away. So it was, after they had carried it away, that the hand of the LORD was against the city with a very great destruction; and He struck the men of the city, both small and great, and tumors broke out on them.
1 Samuel 5:8-9
The Ark of the Covenant was moved to a second Philistine city––Gath. God sent the same affliction upon them––tumors. Imagine their pain! The Philistines had tried to solve the problem by moving the Ark of the Covenant to a different city, but the problem continued on! They still did not get it! They should have recognized God’s chastening and wrath and turned from their wickedness, but they lost the opportunity.
In comparison, look at the story of Jonah. God called Jonah to go to Nineveh and to pronounce His judgment. What was the reason? It was because of their wickedness that had come up before Him (Jonah 1:-2). For a time, Jonah resisted and fled. After being swallowed by a great fish, he prayed to God, and the Lord had the fish spit him out on dry ground (Jonah 2:10).
Again the Lord called to Jonah. He was to give the people in Nineveh a message. This time Jonah obeyed the Lord: … he cried out and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” Were the people’s hearts hard, stubborn and rebellious? No! They listened to the message given by Jonah. What happened? The people believed God, and from the greatest to the least, they fasted and prayed. They heeded the decree of their king (Jonah 3:5-9). When God saw their true repentance, He did not bring His judgment.
God is merciful. We only need to turn from our sin to receive it.
God leads us to eternal life not by our merits but according to His mercy.
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