Year 2 Day 224
Read - 1 Samuel 5:1-5
Message - Alan Burke
There is but one living and true God, it is an exclusive claim that is made throughout scripture, all other gods are as good as an ornament on your mantlepiece for all the good they do. We live in an age that despises the truth, we want to call black white and white black but it doesn’t change the truth and the truth of scripture is there is one God and all other gods are but idols. Here we see that and it is humours and revealing.
Where we are is that Israel has been defeated, the ark of the covenant captured, the Philistines here take it to Ashdod the furtherest Philistine city away from Israel and they put ark in the temple of Dagon. Dagon was their god, well he was one of them, he was their chief god and what they are doing is putting the defeated God of the Israelites at the feet of their mighty god who had brought them victory. After all the God of Israel was still a god even if he was a defeated god and they added him to their collection. Like a collection of good luck charms, the more you have the better, sure one of them might work when we need it (they won’t by the way).
Anyway here we have the ark of the covenant God of Israel brought into the house of Dagon and something amazing happens. When they wake early the next morning, you know jogger time before the traffic starts, well when they wake Dagon is there lying prostate on the ground face down before the ark. The picture that is present here is of Dagon, worshiping the Lord of the Israelites, that’s not what Philistines had intended by putting the ark there, the ark was there as a defeated foe, at the feet of their mighty Dagon. And then, just so we don’t loose the significance of this, and you don’t miss the humour we are told they put Dagon back in his place. Oh mighty Dagon had to be put back in his place, you can imagine the hoists and the ropes lifting such a mighty god, pushing and heaving. How wonderful Dagon was.
The next day, just so the Philistines didn’t miss it after putting the mighty Dagon back in his place he is lying in bits, his head and hands had been broken off and lying on the threshold. Dagon lying before the ark of the Lord, with his head and hands broken off, it was a clear symbol that the Lord had conquered Dagon so completely, and a warning to the people if they did not act that much worse to come.
Appearances can be deceptive, they were in the defeat of the Israelites and the apparent defeat of the Lord God at the hand of the Philistines. Initially it may have seemed to the people of Israel that all was lost, that the Lord had abandoned them, that the glory of the Lord had departed, but we see even when things look bleak, even when things seem far from the case, the victory is the Lord’s.
Maybe you look at the culture around us, and think that the Lord is on the loosing side, the culture is ever increasingly hostile to the Lord and his people. The elected representatives of this land seem to want nothing to do with him. Maybe we think that the church needs to be much more vocal, much more proactive, that we need to be on the defensive, but here we see that the Lord God will cast down the false gods of the nations, the false ideologies, the false narratives of this world, the Lord God will give the victory. For there is but one living and true God.
Q101 What do we pray for in the first petition?
In the first petition, (which is, Hallowed be thy name, (Matt. 6:9)) we pray, That God would enable us and others to glorify him in all that whereby he maketh himself known; (Ps. 67:2–3) and that he would dispose all things to his own glory. (Ps. 83)