Of course you’ve heard the phrase, “Be careful of what you wish for. You just might get it.”
The Philistines wanted the Ark of the Covenant because it was known far and wide that the presence of the God of Israel was there. (Of course, from our perspective here in the 21st century, we know that God is omnipresent, but then it was true that God clearly manifested Himself through the Ark.) It was also known that the God of Israel did some miraculous and powerful things to Egypt’s pharaoh to cause him to release the people of Israel from slavery.
So the Philistines wanted the Ark, and they wanted it badly. And as we read in the last chapter, they captured it in a great battle.
Be careful what you wish for.
When the Philistines brought the Ark home, they set it near the image of their god, Dagon, in the temple of Dagon. Guess what. God does not want to be associated with other gods, and over the course of two nights He causes the idol to fall over, and the second night it gets broken.
Then the people begin breaking out in some sort of skin disease, and they panic, knowing that the God of Israel is the cause, because they took the Ark. They make plans to get rid of it.
We look at this story and think how cool it is that God made Himself known this way. And of course He would not want to be in the temple of an idol. And the Philistines deserved to suffer.
Be careful though. We have idols today, too. They may not be carved out of wood, and we may not confess with our mouths that they are our gods, but they are idols, nonetheless.
The thing that gets your devotion, that gets your attention above all others, is your God. Is there something in your life that gets more attention than God? I could rattle off a list of possible suspects, but if my question caused something to spring up in your mind right now, I’d like to encourage you to carefully examine your relationship with that thing and ask God if it is a problem. He wants to the the center of your attention and devotion. He deserves it, don’t you think?