1 Samuel 5:2-4 When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the temple of Dagon and set it by Dagon. And when the people of Ashdod arose early in the morning, there was Dagon, fallen on its face to the earth before the ark of the Lord. So they took Dagon and set it in its place again. And when they arose early the next morning, there was Dagon, fallen on its face to the ground before the ark of the Lord. The head of Dagon and both the palms of its hands were broken off on the threshold; only Dagon’s torso was left of it.
This story of the Ark of God and the Philistine Idol Dagon is an interesting one to me; I see 3 main characters in this story. The Philistines represent one character; the people of Ashdod are mentioned here, and they’ll fall under the Philistine umbrella for this message. The Philistines are known mostly for being an enemy of God and His people Israel. When you find the Israelites at war, 7 times out of 10 it will be against the Philistines. Goliath is probably the most famous of all Philistine, but we can all agree that they oppose God and Godly values.
Secondly, we have Dagon, the Philistine Idol; an Idol is the image which is used to represent a religious practice or philosophy that as much as possible parallels the Jewish & Christian principles of a relationship between God and His children. Dagon the Philistine selected image was an ancient Fertility God; and a stone figure which was depicted with the torso of a man and the tail of a fish; yes, the first mermaid.
Lastly, we have the Ark of God; a beautiful gold-covered wooden chest with lid cover that contained “the golden pot that had manna (God’s Provision), and Aaron’s rod that budded (God’s Anointed Leadership), and the tablets of the covenant (God’s Covenant/Law). This Ark represented the actual presence of God. In the Bible, whoever was in possession of the Ark of God prospered and had great success in battles.
Now that we know a little about the characters; let’s get to the story. The Philistines had just defeated the Israelites and were able to capture their coveted Ark of God. By capturing this Ark, they believed it enabled them to render the Israelites powerless while at the same time adding this great Israeli power to their own arsenal. You see the Philistines suffered many defeats at the hand of the Israelites while they possessed the Ark of God.
This victory gave the Philistines a boost and they figured it must mean that their Dagon was greater than Israel’s Ark. So, they brought the Ark of God into the Temple of Dagon and sat it right next to their coveted Idol. However, when the Ark (God’s Presences & Power) is placed or assumed to be on the same level as a worldly idol; the truth must be made known. Everything must fall in line and in this case Dagon and the Philistine would see how this turned out.
When the Philistines arrived at the Temple in the next morning, they noticed their Idol Dagon was lying on its face next to the Ark of God. Not thinking much of it, they assumed I’m sure that it must have been knocked over during the back and forth of moving the Ark into the temple. Until the next morning they saw the idol Dagon on its face again; but now Dagon’s head and hands were broken off and only the torso of Dagon remained. This freaked out the Philistines as they would not even go near the threshold that Dagon sat upon again (1 Samuel 5:5 Therefore neither the priests of Dagon nor any who come into Dagon’s house tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day). If only they knew the scriptures; they would see that everything would bow before God (Isaiah 45:23 & Rom 14:11). The Philistines would later find that many people in the town of Ashdod became stuck down in their bodies with tumors; they now realized that this was Israel’s Ark of God ravaging them.
Here it was, the Philistines were putting their Idol Dagon up against the Ark of God. The enemy of God placed their ideology, philosophy and beliefs up against a power that was greater than theirs (the Power of God); and would not turn out so well for them, their idol fell. Dagon the idol they put all their trust in (Psalm 20:7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the Lord our God) was literally destroyed before them.
Why am I talking about this story & Why now?? All over the world, people have seen their lifted idols fall like Dagon during this COVID 19 Pandemic. Numerous people have put all their trust in their economies; or their health; or just their ability to come & go whenever or do whatever they want. Yet, they’ve seen each forced to bow down to the COVID 19 virus and its global impact. This virus has shown itself to be more powerful than the world’s economy, the health of its people and has literally locked down much of all the world within weeks. But COVID 19 aint got nothing on Our God.
Like Dagon found out in Ashdod, COVID 19 cannot stand against the Presence & Power of God. With more than 2,920,000 people confirmed to have contracted the virus and over 204,000 dying from it; I do have good news. Even though it is difficult to see victory in so many deaths; over 830,000 have fully recovered (more than 4 times the deaths) and nearly 80% have been asymptomatic. Also, the world has united (except for a few idiots; some getting more press than others) and health care workers across the globe have teamed up to fight this virus head on. God is a healer and a team builder; He has been at work before, amidst and will be after this pandemic. He has sustained much of the world during this tough time through generous hearts from everywhere to help those in need; those who are sick; those who’ve lost jobs. He will continue to help this World recover over the coming weeks, months, years.
Now for those who have made a choice to this point; stop putting your trust in futile idols that can and will fail. I implore you to put your trust in the Israelite Ark of God; Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding. When we stop thinking we know what is best and place our Trust in God, He promises to:
1. Supply Everything You Need: Philippians 4:19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
2. Supply You With All Healing: 3 John 1:2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. & Isaiah 53:5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
3. Supply You Direction For Life: Proverbs 3:6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. & Psalm 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. & Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.