There is no confusion, no possibility of happenstance or mere ‘chance’ that the Ark made it back to Israel on its ‘own.’ The text is absolutely clear God brought the Ark home. All Philistia knew that and still they refused to believe.
I was surprised to read that Philistia knew the exploits of the Lord that brought Israel out of Egypt. The Philistines asked, “What guilt offering should we send to him?” They replied, “Five gold tumors and five gold rats, according to the number of the Philistine rulers, because the same plague has struck both you and your rulers. Make models of the tumors and of the rats that are destroying the country, and give glory to Israel’s god. Perhaps he will lift his hand from you and your gods and your land. Why do you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh did? When Israel’s god dealt harshly with them, did they not send the Israelites out so they could go on their way? (4-6 bold mine).
The Philistines hold no reverence for the Lord as their God or the true God, but they did know the miraculous story of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt by the Lord. I wondered how this could be, then I realized only a people with monotheistic beliefs would be concerned about a true God or one true God. Others in the world, like Philistines, had many gods and what mattered was ‘if my god was stronger than your god’.
I accept the Israelite notion that there is only one God who created heaven and earth… all that is and will be. I believe this God existed before time and matter. I believe in the God presented in the Scriptures. I believe in the Father, Jesus, the only Son and the Holy Spirit –the Trinity –one God in 3 persons.
I believe… do you?
I believe and so I bow before God. I worship and surrender my life to serve the living and true God for all of my days.
Praise be to You, Lord God Almighty, the one God I will worship, adore and follow. To You be honor and glory. To You be all praise. To You alone… May my life bring You honor and glory. Amen and amen.