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March 25 - Evening

"After the Philistines had captured the ark of God, they took it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. 
Then they carried the ark into Dagon’s temple and set it beside Dagon. When the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! They took Dagon and put him back in his place. 
But the following morning when they rose, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! His head and hands had been broken off and were lying on the threshold; only his body remained. That is why to this day neither the priests of Dagon nor any others who enter Dagon’s temple at Ashdod step on the threshold.
The Lord’s hand was heavy on the people of Ashdod and its vicinity; he brought devastation on them and afflicted them with tumors.  
When the people of Ashdod saw what was happening, they said, 'The ark of the god of Israel must not stay here with us, because his hand is heavy on us and on Dagon our god.' 
So they called together all the rulers of the Philistines and asked them, “What shall we do with the ark of the god of Israel?”
They answered, “Have the ark of the god of Israel moved to Gath.”
So they moved the ark of the God of Israel."

- First Samuel 5:1-8

Dagon Bows, but the Philistines Do Not Submit


The Lord's presence went along into the land of the Philistines with the returning victorious Philistine warriors. A detachment of Philistines troops pursued the Israelites to Shiloh where the Tabernacle of Moses was burnt to the ground and Shiloh was sacked and destroyed in a violent conflagration (documented by Jeremiah 7:12 and archaeology.)

The Philistines had five major cities each with a king (Ashdod, Gath, Ekron, Gaza, Ashkelon – Joshua 13:3). The head city was Ashdod about 30 miles southwest of the battle scene at Ebenezer. In a pagan temple to Dagon the Ark of the Covenant was set in front of Dagon's image as a trophy of Dagon’s victory over Israel and as Dagon's share of the plunder.

In the morning when the priests of Dagon opened his temple for services they found Dagon on his face before the Ark of the Lord. The message seems to be clear: Dagon had bowed his head to the Lord, and the Philistines should follow their "god's" lead or they would be defeated by the Lord. The priests of Dagon stood their god back up, and resumed their activities.

But, the next day they found Dagon again fallen prostrate in worship, but this time his image was decapitated and dismembered. Kings and troops conquered by their enemies in the battle field where often decapitated so that their head could be displayed as a trophy (1 Chron. 10:10). Likewise, the hands were also removed as a symbol of the defeated foes being left powerless.

Since Dagon's hands were holy to the Philistines the threshold that he had touched also became holy in the Philistine culture. So, instead of submitting to the Lord of Israel, the Philistines took this symbol of the Lord God Almighty's supreme authority and twisted it to mean that Dagon had chosen to touch the thresholds of the all the doors in Ashdod in order to sanctify them, making the thresholds sacred. (Zephaniah 1:9 condemns those who followed this teaching 400 years later in 625 BC.)
Pater (Gr) – Father (Eng) – pater is a Greek word that means “nourisher,” “protector” and “upholder.” Pater can refer to the closest ancestor or to a distant forefather. Pater is also used to refer to:
- a mature believer in
1 John 2:13
- the originator of a belief system in
Romans 4:11-12
- a spiritual leader in
1 Corinthians 4:15 and Acts 7:2
- God in relationship with a believer in
John 1:12; Ephesians 2:18 and 4:6
Do I merely hear or know God's word, but do not understand it? Do I hear, but do not obey? 
I will listen and apply the truth of God's word to my thoughts, words and deeds today.



Bible Reading Descriptions Here

Narrative

(morning only)

Complete Text

General Text




Personal

Medicare

Church

Time of refreshing
Unemployment
Cambodia



A natural tunnel blocked shut with rocks near the entrance into ancient Jerusalem through the water system used by Joab to access the Canaanite city for David in 2 Samuel 5:8 and 1 Chronicles 11:4-6. (Diagram detailing this blocked natural tunnel. Details about the Gihon Springs.)
Coins of Herod Archelaus - He was Herod the Great's son who ruled Judea and Herod's kingdom after his death.




Someone to Quote

"God was the first ever missionary when in Genesis 3:8 he went out in search of two sinners who had rebelled against Him in order to bring them back into fellowship with Him."
- Eddy Ho

Something to Ponder

In 1517, Johann Tetzel, a Dominican friar, came to the Wittenberg area to begin the sale of indulgences (the removal of sin granted by the Church to individual believers who purchased the indulgence and were given a paper document after the purchase). Tetzel’s motto was, “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs” and taught that repentance was not necessary since the indulgence itself provided forgiveness. Pope Leo X needed the money for the building of St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome.

Here’s a Fact

Excavation of the city of Shiloh has revealed that it was not a typical residential city, but one that was used as a sacred temenos (or, sacred enclosure). Archaeology shows that Shiloh was destroyed in a fierce fiery conflagration apparently by the hands of the Philistines around the time of the 1 Samuel 4 (Details here, here, here, and here.)

Proverb

"If you take your neighbor to court, do not betray another’s confidence, or the one who hears it may shame you and the charge against you will stand."
- Proverbs 25:9-10

Coach’s Corner

Quitting after experiencing failure is not the same thing as making adjustments after failure. Quitting ends your opportunity, but adjustments increase your chance for future success.

1 Samuel 4
New International Version (NIV)
And Samuel’s word came to all Israel.
The Philistines Capture the Ark
Now the Israelites went out to fight against the Philistines. The Israelites camped at Ebenezer, and the Philistines at Aphek. The Philistines deployed their forces to meet Israel, and as the battle spread, Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who killed about four thousand of them on the battlefield. When the soldiers returned to camp, the elders of Israel asked, “Why did the Lord bring defeat on us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the Lord’s covenant from Shiloh, so that he may go with us and save us from the hand of our enemies.”
So the people sent men to Shiloh, and they brought back the ark of the covenant of the Lord Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim. And Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.
When the ark of the Lord’s covenant came into the camp, all Israel raised such a great shout that the ground shook. Hearing the uproar, the Philistines asked, “What’s all this shouting in the Hebrew camp?”
When they learned that the ark of the Lord had come into the camp,
the Philistines were afraid. “A god has come into the camp,” they said. “Oh no! Nothing like this has happened before. We’re doomed! Who will deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods? They are the gods who struck the Egyptians with all kinds of plagues in the wilderness. Be strong, Philistines! Be men, or you will be subject to the Hebrews, as they have been to you. Be men, and fight!”
10 So the Philistines fought, and the Israelites were defeated and every man fled to his tent. The slaughter was very great; Israel lost thirty thousand foot soldiers. 11 The ark of God was captured, and Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, died.
Death of Eli
12 That same day a Benjamite ran from the battle line and went to Shiloh with his clothes torn and dust on his head. 13 When he arrived, there was Eli sitting on his chair by the side of the road, watching, because his heart feared for the ark of God. When the man entered the town and told what had happened, the whole town sent up a cry.
14 Eli heard the outcry and asked, “What is the meaning of this uproar?”
The man hurried over to Eli,
15 who was ninety-eight years old and whose eyes had failed so that he could not see. 16 He told Eli, “I have just come from the battle line; I fled from it this very day.”
Eli asked, “What happened, my son?”
17 The man who brought the news replied, “Israel fled before the Philistines, and the army has suffered heavy losses. Also your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been captured.”
18 When he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell backward off his chair by the side of the gate. His neck was broken and he died, for he was an old man, and he was heavy. He had led Israel forty years.
19 His daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant and near the time of delivery. When she heard the news that the ark of God had been captured and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she went into labor and gave birth, but was overcome by her labor pains. 20 As she was dying, the women attending her said, “Don’t despair; you have given birth to a son.” But she did not respond or pay any attention.
21 She named the boy Ichabod, saying, “The Glory has departed from Israel”—because of the capture of the ark of God and the deaths of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 She said, “The Glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.”
Jeremiah 7:11-16
New International Version (NIV)
11 Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the Lord.
12 “‘Go now to the place in Shiloh where I first made a dwelling for my Name, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of my people Israel. 13 While you were doing all these things, declares the Lord, I spoke to you again and again, but you did not listen; I called you, but you did not answer. 14 Therefore, what I did to Shiloh I will now do to the house that bears my Name, the temple you trust in, the place I gave to you and your ancestors. 15 I will thrust you from my presence, just as I did all your fellow Israelites, the people of Ephraim.’
16 “So do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you.
Joshua 13:3
New International Version (NIV)
from the Shihor River on the east of Egypt to the territory of Ekron on the north, all of it counted as Canaanite though held by the five Philistine rulers in Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron; the territory of the Avvites
1 Chronicles 10:8-11
New International Version (NIV)
The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the dead, they found Saul and his sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. They stripped him and took his head and his armor, and sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines to proclaim the news among their idols and their people. 10 They put his armor in the temple of their gods and hung up his head in the temple of Dagon.
11 When all the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul,
Zephaniah 1:9
New International Version (NIV)

On that day I will punish     all who avoid stepping on the threshold, who fill the temple of their gods     with violence and deceit.
1 John 2:13
New International Version (NIV)
13 
I am writing to you, fathers,     because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men,     because you have overcome the evil one.
Romans 4:11-12
New International Version (NIV)
11 And he received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them. 12 And he is then also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
1 Corinthians 4:15
New International Version (NIV)
15 Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.
Acts 7:2
New International Version (NIV)
To this he replied: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Harran.
John 1:12
New International Version (NIV)
12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—
Ephesians 2:18
New International Version (NIV)
18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
Ephesians 4:6
New International Version (NIV)
one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
2 Samuel 5:8
New International Version (NIV)
On that day David had said, “Anyone who conquers the Jebusites will have to use the water shaft to reach those ‘lame and blind’ who are David’s enemies.” That is why they say, “The ‘blind and lame’ will not enter the palace.”
1 Chronicles 11:4-6
New International Version (NIV)
David Conquers Jerusalem
David and all the Israelites marched to Jerusalem (that is, Jebus). The Jebusites who lived there said to David, “You will not get in here.” Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion—which is the City of David.
David had said, “Whoever leads the attack on the Jebusites will become commander-in-chief.” Joab son of Zeruiah went up first, and so he received the command.
1 Samuel 1
New International Version (NIV)
The Birth of Samuel
There was a certain man from Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.
Year after year this man went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the Lord Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the Lord. Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the Lord had closed her womb. Because the Lord had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”
Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on his chair by the doorpost of the Lord’s house. 10 In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. 11 And she made a vow, saying, “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”
12 As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk 14 and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.”
15 “Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord. 16 Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”
17 Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”
18 She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.
19 Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the Lord and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her. 20 So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the Lord for him.”
Hannah Dedicates Samuel
21 When her husband Elkanah went up with all his family to offer the annual sacrifice to the Lord and to fulfill his vow, 22 Hannah did not go. She said to her husband, “After the boy is weaned, I will take him and present him before the Lord, and he will live there always.”
23 “Do what seems best to you,” her husband Elkanah told her. “Stay here until you have weaned him; only may the Lord make good his word.” So the woman stayed at home and nursed her son until she had weaned him.
24 After he was weaned, she took the boy with her, young as he was, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh. 25 When the bull had been sacrificed, they brought the boy to Eli, 26 and she said to him, “Pardon me, my lord. As surely as you live, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the Lord. 27 I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. 28 So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there.
Joshua 11
New International Version (NIV)
Northern Kings Defeated
11 When Jabin king of Hazor heard of this, he sent word to Jobab king of Madon, to the kings of Shimron and Akshaph, and to the northern kings who were in the mountains, in the Arabah south of Kinnereth, in the western foothills and in Naphoth Dor on the west; to the Canaanites in the east and west; to the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites and Jebusites in the hill country; and to the Hivites below Hermon in the region of Mizpah. They came out with all their troops and a large number of horses and chariots—a huge army, as numerous as the sand on the seashore. All these kings joined forces and made camp together at the Waters of Merom to fight against Israel.
The Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them, because by this time tomorrow I will hand all of them, slain, over to Israel. You are to hamstring their horses and burn their chariots.”
So Joshua and his whole army came against them suddenly at the Waters of Merom and attacked them, and the Lord gave them into the hand of Israel. They defeated them and pursued them all the way to Greater Sidon, to Misrephoth Maim, and to the Valley of Mizpah on the east, until no survivors were left. Joshua did to them as the Lord had directed: He hamstrung their horses and burned their chariots.
10 At that time Joshua turned back and captured Hazor and put its king to the sword. (Hazor had been the head of all these kingdoms.) 11 Everyone in it they put to the sword. They totally destroyed them, not sparing anyone that breathed, and he burned Hazor itself.
12 Joshua took all these royal cities and their kings and put them to the sword. He totally destroyed them, as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded. 13 Yet Israel did not burn any of the cities built on their mounds—except Hazor, which Joshua burned. 14 The Israelites carried off for themselves all the plunder and livestock of these cities, but all the people they put to the sword until they completely destroyed them, not sparing anyone that breathed. 15 As the Lord commanded his servant Moses, so Moses commanded Joshua, and Joshua did it; he left nothing undone of all that the Lord commanded Moses.
16 So Joshua took this entire land: the hill country, all the Negev, the whole region of Goshen, the western foothills, the Arabah and the mountains of Israel with their foothills, 17 from Mount Halak, which rises toward Seir, to Baal Gad in the Valley of Lebanon below Mount Hermon. He captured all their kings and put them to death. 18 Joshua waged war against all these kings for a long time. 19 Except for the Hivites living in Gibeon, not one city made a treaty of peace with the Israelites, who took them all in battle. 20 For it was the Lord himself who hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel, so that he might destroy them totally, exterminating them without mercy, as the Lord had commanded Moses.
21 At that time Joshua went and destroyed the Anakites from the hill country: from Hebron, Debir and Anab, from all the hill country of Judah, and from all the hill country of Israel. Joshua totally destroyed them and their towns. 22 No Anakites were left in Israelite territory; only in Gaza, Gath and Ashdod did any survive.
23 So Joshua took the entire land, just as the Lord had directed Moses, and he gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal divisions. Then the land had rest from war.


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