Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
1 Samuel 5:1-2 (NIV)
After the Philistines had captured the ark of God, they took it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. Then they carried the ark into Dagon’s temple and set it beside Dagon.
1 Samuel 5:1-2 (MSG)
Once the Philistines had seized the Chest of God, they took it from Ebenezer to Ashdod, brought it into the shrine of Dagon, and placed it alongside the idol of Dagon.
“Then the Philistines took the ark of God, and they brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. They took the ark of God and brought it into the house of Dagon and set it beside [the image of] Dagon [their chief idol].” -AMPLIFIED
Let us be completely aware of this truth; God will not share His glory with anyone, EVER! “I am the Lord, that is My Name; My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to carved idols.” -Isaiah 42:8 (AMP)
We can see evidence of this as His-story (God’s story) continues in the book of 1 Samuel. The Philistines have captured the Ark of God. In their arrogance they think that they have not only conquered Israel, but also Israel’s god. So they march back to Ashdod with their plunder and their fantastic treasure, the Ark of God. Once they arrive home they carry the Ark into Dagon’s temple; thinking that they were setting the Ark in a place of honor, but they were sorely wrong.
“When the Philistines had beaten the Israelites in battle, and captured the sacred chest called the ark, they boasted and gloried as though they had defeated God Himself. They evidently regarded the golden casket as the very choicest part of the spoil, and they placed it as a trophy in the chief temple of their god Dagon, to show that he was mightier than the God Jehovah, who was unable, as they thought, to protect His people.” -Charles Spurgeon (Dagon’s Ups and Downs)
What happens over the next few days in the temple of Dagon bears testimony to God’s view on being placed alongside the Philistine’s graven image. “Next morning when the citizens of Ashdod got up, they were shocked to find Dagon toppled from his place, flat on his face before the Chest of God. They picked him up and put him back where he belonged. First thing the next morning they found him again, toppled and flat on his face before the Chest of God. Dagon’s head and arms were broken off, strewn across the entrance. Only his torso was in one piece. (That’s why even today, the priests of Dagon and visitors to the Dagon shrine in Ashdod avoid stepping on the threshold.)” -1 Samuel 5:3-5 (MSG)
The destruction wreaked havoc on Dagon over the coming days was no accident. The fact that Dagon was flat on his face the first day was a demonstration that the Almighty God was not about to put up with the insolence of the Philistines, nor would He put up with being put on equal status with Dagon.
The second day the Philistines came into Dagon’s temple and find that their god had lost his head and his arms were broken off. The head was a symbol of wisdom and the arms a sign of action. Now we find God making the point that this graven image had neither wisdom or nor any way of moving to action. This false god was without power of any kind. We are told that the only part of Dagon that was not damaged was his torso.
“The hand of the Lord was heavy upon the Philistines; he not only convinced them of their folly, but severely chastised their insolence. Yet they would not renounce Dagon; and instead of seeking God’s mercy, they desired to get clear of his ark. Carnal hearts, when they smart under the judgments of God, would rather, if it were possible, put him far from them, than enter into covenant or communion with him, and seek him for their friend. But their devices to escape the Divine judgments only increase them. Those that fight against God will soon have enough of it.” -MATTHEW HENRY’S CONCISE COMMENTARY ON THE BIBLE
As this story continues we will continue to see the confirmation that God will not share His glory with another; especially with an idol or graven image. In closing today I leave you with a passage from the book of Exodus as a reminder of the magnitude and magnificence of the glory of God. “Then Moses went up to the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory and brilliance of the Lord rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days. On the seventh day God called to Moses from the midst of the cloud. In the sight of the Israelites the appearance of the glory and brilliance of the Lord was like consuming fire on the top of the mountain.” -Exodus 24:15-17 (AMP)
Lord, forgive me for those times that I have allowed other things or other people take the place in my life that rightly belonged to you. You need to be the center of my life; my focus. In obedience I once again admit that I need to submit to your complete will. I know that you will not share your glory with another. Be number one in my life, Lord. Help my spiritual ears to be in tune with your still, small voice so that I can be quick to obey. I seek to know you more, also, Lord. Allow your Holy Spirit to lead me into deeper understanding of who you are.