How do you view God? Is He someone you worship? Or is He someone you seek to appease?
In 1 Samuel 6, the Philistines prepare to return the ark of the Lord to Israel. They captured the ark seven months earlier and it has been ravishing their people and their gods ever since.
Originally, they placed it in the house of Dagon. He ended up face down in front of the ark with his head and hands cut off. The ark then went to Gath where the people broke out in tumors. Ekron was the next city on the circuit. They experience the same thing as Gath. Since God’s hand was heavy against the Philistines they decide to send the ark back to Israel.
Appeasement Not Worship
As they prepare to send the ark back, they forge five golden tumors and mice. These were placed in the cart with the ark to appease the Lord. The Philistine Priests say in verse 5:
So you must make images of your tumors and images of your mice that ravage the land, and give glory to the God of Israel. Perhaps He will lighten His hand from off you and your gods and your land.
The Philistine Priests did not counsel the people to turn from their idolatry and worship the Lord. Instead they counseled them to appease the Lord. Their reason was simple. They wanted to freely worship their own idols and do as they pleased. Israel’s God was getting in the way, so they sought to appease Him with offerings of gold.
The Philistines acted in a pagan way. Offering gold to God in order to appease Him so they could do as they wanted.
Americans often act the same. No, we don’t offer gold to God, but we offer acts to Him. We go to church on Easter and Christmas, or even every Sunday with the intent of appeasing God. We do this thinking He will allow us to do what we want the rest of the year or week. We serve and give for our own benefit, so that we can pursue our own way of life and our idols.
These actions show we don’t understand who God is. We don’t understand He is the Creator of heaven and earth, the one true God. He is the Redeemer, sending His Son to die in our place so that we might be release from the bondage of sin, Satan, and death. When we offer acts of appeasement to God, we show we don’t understand these things about God. We show we don’t understand Christ’s work. We show we don’t understand the gospel.
Instead of appeasing God so we can continue to worship our idols, we should bow to Him in worship. Freedom from the slavery of idolatry is possible with God. Quit thinking like the Philistines. You don’t have to appease God. Jesus does that for you on the cross.
His work on the cross, however, doesn’t free us so we can live as we please and worship what we desire. Instead, His cross work frees us to worship the one true God. So then, worship God!
Question for Reflection
- Do you appease God or worship God?