每日诗歌: 親近，更親近 (http://www.mbcsfv.org/chinese/library/hymncampanions/040.html)
把诗篇115篇和今天的旧约放在一起读是很有帮助的。我们的神随自己的意旨行事（诗115:3），并且他不被任何人操纵。可是，我们仍很容易落入这个陷阱。我们常想利用神来得到我们想要的，有时甚至有一个看似好的意图，像以色列人一样。但神看我们的心，并且他公正地判断我们的动机。让我们保持警觉作那“忠心有见识的管家” （路12:42），因为“主人来到，看见仆人这样行，那仆人就有福了。”（路12:43) 。
1 Samuel 4 [Read]
1 Samuel 5 [Read]
1 Samuel 6 [Read]
Luke 12:35-59 [Read]
God cannot be manipulated. Those who try to use God to get things will taste the bitter consequences. God does what is good in his eyes (1 Sam 3:18), and all we are asked to do is to humbly walk with him (Mic 6:8).
The Israelites obviously did not understand that. Throughout the period of Judges, the Ark was located in Shiloh (Jdg 18:31). However, the people of God did not bother to consult him for many things. They did whatever they saw fit (Jdg 21:25). As a result, “the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions” (1 Sam 3:1). Suddenly, they had trouble with Philistines and they tried to use God for their own purposes (4:3). That wouldn’t work with the sovereign God, and they paid dearly for their manipulative scheme (4:10).
Then, it’s the Philistine’s turn. After a surprised captive of the Ark, they thought they had control over the LORD. They put the Ark besides their idol of Dagon, showing the superiority of their god over the God of Israel. That wouldn’t work either. It was almost comical when Dagon, the supposedly superior god, fell before the Ark and they need to “put him back in his place” (4:3). For the next 7 months, they learned a hard lesson for not being reverent to the true God of the universe.
Finally, the Ark returned to Beth-shemesh of Judah. People of Israel rejoiced and celebrated, but they obviously did not learn the lesson about the reverence of God (6:19). Ironically, they sent the Ark to Kiriath Jearim where the people survived in Joshua’s time through their own manipulative scheme (Jos 9). However, those people actually learned their lesson and revered the LORD properly. The Ark stayed there for 20 years until the whole Israel repented (7:2).
It is helpful to read Psalm 115 alongside today’s OT reading. Our God does whatever pleases him (Ps 115:3), and he is not to be manipulated by anyone. We easily fall into this trap, though. We tend to use God to get what we want, sometimes even with a seemingly good intention like the Israelites. But God sees our hearts, and he judges our motive justly. Let us be watchful in being “faithful and wise manager of the Lord” (Lk 12:42), for “it is good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns” (Lk 12:43).
Praise the Lord, for you have persisted for 100 days. This is not easy. Keep on reading