1 Samuel 5:2-4 – When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon. And when they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth before the ark of the Lord . And they took Dagon, and set him in his place again. And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord ; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off upon the threshold; only the stump of Dagon was left to him.
Obey. It is four letter word. It carries with it a mountain of meaning, perception, and no insignificant amount of trouble for many. People naturally do not like to be told to obey. Obedience smacks of subservience, and our pride and perceived independence require us to rebel against anything that feels like servitude.
In the passage above, the Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant from the Israelites in battle. The Philistines clearly understood that the Ark was central to the Hebrew religion, and capturing it was a huge victory. They shamed the Israelites and took their precious Ark as a souvenir, but after their idol of Dagon was miraculously cast down and broken, the Philistines quickly sent the Ark back to Israel.
While it is funny to consider the horror of the Philistines seeing their idol brought low, but it sad that instead of realizing the power of Jehovah, they wanted the symbol of His presence away as quickly as possible. Rather than submit to His authority, they wanted everything back to how it was before they captured the Ark. They rejected the Living God for one they could position as they wanted.
A day is coming when sending back the Ark will no longer be possible. No amount of faithfulness to false religions and philosophies will prevent our submission. According to the Apostle Paul, all will submit to Jesus Christ, because God has exalted Him and His name above all others. “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).
For those who wait upon the Lord, this day will be a great day, a day when we can joyfully come before the presence of the King and bend the knee as His servants. For the rest, it will be a day of horror as their false idols and false religions fall broken before the Almighty. May the Lord help us tear down our idols today. And may He bless us with humble hearts and willing knees. Amen.