A Name That Lives
When the Philistines seized the Ark of God at Ebenezer, they took it first to a place called Aphek which means “strength and fortress.” This was one area that Israel was never able to take from the enemy when they conquered Canaan and it eventually became a base from which they launched attacks against Israel (1 Samuel 4:1; 29:1).
In Aphek, the Philistines defiled and plundered the Ark. Any area of your life left unconquered becomes a stronghold and fortress of Satan. It will be used by the enemy to launch attacks against you to defile, violate, and plunder. The glory of God cannot remain in such an environment.
In 1 Samuel 5, the Bible records that the Philistines next moved the Ark to a place called Ashdod. Ashdod was one of the five chief cities of the Philistines, the location of one of the most famous temples of their national god, Dagon. At Ashdod, the Philistines tried to set up the Ark with other idols but their gods kept falling on their faces and finally were broken in pieces. The Philistines learned that you cannot set up the glory of God alongside worldly idols.
Beloved, you can’t have the glory when you are trying to see just how much of the world you can hold on to and still have the presence of God. All other idols must fall before His glory, just as they did in Ashdod. The Ark could not coexist with idols, so it travelled on to Gath.
Next, the Ark was moved to a place called “Gath” which means “winepress.” Whenever you compromise and allow the enemy to establish strongholds in your life (symbolized by Aphek and Ashdod) you will soon find yourself in his winepress. Satan will squeeze and press you until every last ounce of God’s glory is drained out of your life.
At Gath, the repercussions of the lost glory finally began to be manifested and the wrath of God began to fall. God sent judgment on the Philistines. God will not allow His glory to remain amidst ritual, desecration, and compromise. So…the Ark moved on to Ekron.
Ekron means death. If we don’t heed God’s judgment, then spiritual death soon follows. We become like the Church at Sardis with a name that we live, yet we are dead (Revelation 3:1). Death came to the people of Ekron when the Ark came to their city, so they, too, sent it on its way.
Make this declaration:
I serve a God who lives. His life force flows in and through me today and equips me to face every circumstance of my life.