Sometimes people imagine that they can work out a way to control God. That is a very foolish idea. We cannot control the God who created heaven and earth. Instead, we must learn to respect him and to obey him in a sincere manner.
God had acted to punish the inhabitants of Ashdod. They had taken possession of the ark of God, which was a very holy object. They refused to serve God, because they wanted to remain loyal to a false god. The result was that many people in Ashdod became ill.
Their rulers saw that they must act. However, they did not ask God to forgive them. They continued to serve their false gods. So those rulers made a plan to try to stop Godís action against the people. Their plan was to move the ark of God to another town that they controlled.
That town was Gath (5:8). There, as in Ashdod, many people became ill. The illness in Gath was the same illness that people were suffering from in Ashdod. The inhabitants of Gath were very afraid.
Still, the rulers wanted to keep the ark. So, they again moved it to another one of their towns, Ekron.
The people in Ekron became desperate even as the ark entered their town. They appealed urgently to their rulers to send the ark away. The illness in Ekron was like that in Gath and Ashdod, except that it was even more severe. Many people died; everyone there was ill. The people in Ekron believed that they all could die. They cried out for help.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.