One of the strangest stories of the Bible is that of the journey of the Ark of the Covenant, the marker of God’s agreement with His people, to the land of Philistine conquerors. It was not just a box, it was represented something more… The Ark was a representation of God’s rules that were to govern a people that HAD A RELATIONSHIP with Him It was a box that contained the power to please God IF its contents were observed obediently.
Key Principle: Apart from a relationship with God, His rules become a condemning, guilt producing curse.
The Process of Extraction:
- The worldly people got the rules by enveloping the people of God and overwhelming them. People with the relationship still existed, but their voice was muted in defeat (5:1).
- They tried to “incorporate” the rules into their pagan philosophies without the prerequisite of a relationship with God (5:2). They understood there was power in the rules, but had no idea what the power was.
- The power of God reflected in the rules shatter ever other system, and increasingly made them uncomfortable with even keeping the memory of them in their thinking (5:3,4).
- They turned power into superstition and that was retained in their culture for generations. It was not about God, nor the power retained in His Word, it was simply an old wives tale. (5:5).
- Without a relationship, the rules became a condemning influence. (5:6).
The Tragedy of Substitution:
- Because there was no relationship, and God’s people had been silent and unconvincing on the issue of relationship, the world sought every way to remove any vestige of the influence of the rules or their God (5:7).
- Leaders work hard to become popular by ridding the world of the influence of the rules and the God they represent (5:8).
- They will work harder and harder as their solutions don’t work, but make things worse! (5:9-10).
- As the solutions only make things worse, people of the world asked that they simply isolate the rules and the people of God, and get them out of the influence of the larger society (5:11).
- God sees the whole thing, but doesn’t answer! (5:12)
- The world tries to appease God with things He didn’t ask for, can’t use and doesn’t want! (6:1-5). Why? Because they have learned the POWER of God without the LOVE of God. Instead of a GOOD GOD that wants a relationship, they are left with a MAD GOD that wants to extract appeasement! Apart from a relationship with God, His rules become a condemning, guilt producing curse.