Who Can Stand Before the Lord?
Topic: AM Service Passage: 1 Samuel 6:1–7:2
The Philistines learned from their time with the ark that the Lord was a God completely different from other pagan gods. He is not a God to be controlled and used. Now as the ark travels back to Israel we learn something else about the Lord. The Lord is not a soft and comfortable God whose main purpose is to make our lives easier. The Lord is a holy God, and He must be approached as such. The Puritan Stephen Charnock put it well, “The holiness of God is his glory, as his grace is his riches; holiness is his crown, and his mercy is his treasure.” While we are congratulating ourselves that we are not Philistines who put the Lord at the feet of Dagon, we must be careful to avoid speaking of “the big guy upstairs,” or the “co-pilot” of our life. The Lord is not a casual god that we can take or leave at our pleasure. The better thing we should consider each of our days is “Who Can Stand Before the Lord?” (1 Samuel 6:1-7:2)
I. The Lord Among the Philistines
A. Avoiding God’s Holy Wrath
B. Understanding God’s Ways
II. The Lord Among the Israelites
A. In the Presence of the Lord
B. Two Ways to Respond
Questions for consideration: (1) Does it surprise you that the Philistines thought they needed to appease God? What are some of the ways people today act to appease the God they do not really believe in? (2) What do you think the Philistines’ reaction would have been if the cows had returned back to their barn? What does this tell us about the danger of putting out a “fleece” (some circumstance where we expect God to act) and waiting to see what God does? (3) What was the fundamental difference between the men of Beth-shemesh and Kiriath-jearim? What should that difference look like in your life?