1 Samuel 5:1-12
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. 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. 10 So they sent the ark of God to Ekron. As the ark of God was entering Ekron, the people of Ekron cried out, “They have brought the ark of the god of Israel around to us to kill us and our people.” 11 So they called together all the rulers of the Philistines and said, “Send the ark of the god of Israel away; let it go back to its own place, or it will kill us and our people.” For death had filled the city with panic; God’s hand was very heavy on it. 12 Those who did not die were afflicted with tumors, and the outcry of the city went up to heaven.
Is Jesus number one in my life? I might say he is and I may portray that on the outside, but is he really? What other idols have I set up in my heart that are sitting right next to Jesus? Family, money, control, worry. ‘Dagons’ come in many forms.
Here’s the thing though, God’s presence, the Ark, should have bought blessing to the Philistines. That’s what happened years later when the Ark was moved to Obed-Edom’s house (see 2 Samuel 6:11). Instead the Ark bought tumours and death. Why? What was different?
God wasn’t first.
And that happens in my life too. It’s Jesus, but also family. Jesus, but also money. Jesus, but also my sin of choice. I have invited Jesus into my heart where I expect him to co-exist with Dagon. And then I wonder why blessing and answers to prayer don’t come!
Lord help me remember that you told me to not have any other God but you. Help me do the hard heart work – to tear down and break up the idols in my life. To make you Jesus, first. Amen
Written by Boudy Van Noppen