I have been reading and listening to 1 Samuel this week and just can’t seem to quit thinking about Chapter 5. I keep getting the funniest vision in my head that keeps playing over and over, kind of like an Instagram Boomerang video, those little one second video loops. In fact, if Instagram had been around in those days I’m pretty sure God would have posted a Boomerang clip of Him tipping the Philistine’s God, Dagon, right off of his pedestal. With a smile and a quick flip of the very tip of his pinky finger, I see Him flicking Dagon right flat to the ground. The caption? “Doggone Dagon, what you gonna do now?”
Silly Philistines. Here they thought Dagon had helped them defeat the Israelites, and in turn, captured the Ark of God and placed it in Dagon’s Temple as a trophy for him. Perhaps if there really had been a Boomerang video of what happened next, those stubborn Philistines would not have come up with trivial explanations as to why their precious god was laying prostrate, himself bowing down, at the foot of the Ark of God of Israel. They would not have wound up starting a game of hot potato among the Philistine kingdoms which resulted in debilitating plagues and, ultimately, in the decision to send the Ark of God right back to the Israelites.
The really sad part about this to me is that, instead of experiencing suffering and judgement, the Philistines could have benefited from the presence of the Ark of God had they repented and turned towards Him. The same is true today. It is amazing how far humankind will go to glue our Dagons back together and to reject and send away anything that requires a change in our way of life or way of thinking. We can keep setting up other gods, but what they provide will always be temporary and fleeting and they –and, most especially, we –will all eventually stand at the feet of the One True God. I intend to be there of my own free will, on my knees, hands and head lifted high, praising and glorifying Him. The only thump needed here is the thump of a heart that belongs to God Almighty. Amen and Ehmen!
1 Samuel, Chapter 5
5 After the Philistines had captured the ark of God, they took it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. 2 Then they carried the ark into Dagon’s temple and set it beside Dagon. 3 When the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! They took Dagon and put him back in his place. 4 But the following morning when they rose, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! His head and hands had been broken off and were lying on the threshold; only his body remained. 5 That is why to this day neither the priests of Dagon nor any others who enter Dagon’s temple at Ashdod step on the threshold.
6 The Lord’s hand was heavy on the people of Ashdod and its vicinity; he brought devastation on them and afflicted them with tumors.[a] 7 When the people of Ashdod saw what was happening, they said, “The ark of the god of Israel must not stay here with us, because his hand is heavy on us and on Dagon our god.” 8 So they called together all the rulers of the Philistines and asked them, “What shall we do with the ark of the god of Israel?”
They answered, “Have the ark of the god of Israel moved to Gath.” So they moved the ark of the God of Israel.
9 But after they had moved it, the Lord’s hand was against that city, throwing it into a great panic. He afflicted the people of the city, both young and old, with an outbreak of tumors.[b] 10 So they sent the ark of God to Ekron…
It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.'” Romans 14:11