April 24
1 Samuel 5:1-11, 7:1-2

Trouble for the enemy

After the Philistines had captured the Covenant Box, they took it to the temple of their god Dagon. Early the next morning, the people of the city found the statue of Dagon lying in pieces, flat on its face. The Lord punished the people of the city by letting bumps grow on their bodies. When they saw what was happening, they said, “We are being punished by the God of the Israelites.” And they took the Covenant Box to another city.

The Lord punished that city too, so the Philistines took the Covenant Box to another city. Wherever they took the holy Covenant Box, the people were punished.

Eventually, they put the Covenant Box on a wagon drawn by two cows. The cows headed straight for the town of Beth Shemesh in Israel from where it was taken to Kiriath Jearim. There it stayed for twenty years.

Can the enemy of God keep whatever he captures?

The Bible says that God’s enemy (the devil) has come to steal and destroy what belongs to God (John 10:10). He wants to take everything he can, and what he cannot steal, he will try to destroy. The devil hates anything that is pure and good!

God’s enemy has stolen our innocence and left us with guilt. The devil robs us of joy and leaves us with sadness and pain. He takes peace from our hearts and leaves us with worry and fear.

But Jesus died on the cross to take away our guilt. He has given us His purity and made us acceptable to God (Ephesians 1:4). He gives us joy in place of sadness (Isaiah 61:3) and puts His peace deep down in our hearts (John 14:27). The devil may take away our possessions for a while, as he did with Job, but he can never take away the treasure inside us. Paul said "I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day" (2 Timothy 1:12).

Verse for today

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. John 10:28