Article: Idols Get in the Way

Long before Jesus, the nation of Israel was more of a loose confederation of tribes. There was no national government, only the 12 tribes that descended from Jacob’s sons and grandsons.

The Israelites endured slavery in Egypt until God rescued them and gave them the ten commandments and the law.

But they still struggled, like we do.

Before the time of the kings, Israel lost a battle to their coastal neighbors called the Philistines. And this is what happened…

After the Philistines had captured the ark of the covenant, they took it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. Then they carried the ark into Dagon’s temple and set it beside Dagon. 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. 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.  1Samuel 5:1-5

Dagon was the (false god) of the Philistines. When the ark of the covenant arrived in the temple of Dagon, something interesting happened.

The statue of Dagon tipped over during the night as if it were bowing to the God of Israel (our God).

This happened a second time and it broke the poor statues head and hands off.

Eventually the ark of the covenant was returned to Israel because the Philistines saw it as “bad luck.”

But here’s the thing, just as the Philistines added the ark of the covenant to the temple of Dagon as a spoil of war, don’t we treat God the same way at times?

That somehow, we collect God and add Jesus to all the other things going on in our lives but never make him Lord over all of our joys and all of our messes.

Casual Christianity treats Jesus like “one more thing” in an already busy schedule. There is a belief in Jesus but there is little faith about his power in their life. That being a Christian is just an identity or a label.

This story is a metaphor of how to honor God. The reminder is this: surrender all the other stuff in our lives to Jesus. All of the “Dagons” in our life should bow to the King of  kings and Lord of lords. We may not have idols made of stone and wood, but anything we put above God is an idol. This includes our egos and anything else we withhold from God.

Let me leave you with this word from God…

What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator. Does a clay pot argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying, ‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’ Does the pot exclaim, ‘How clumsy can you be?’
Isaiah 45:9

We were formed by God to be known by God and to be loved by God. Relinquish your control and let Jesus lead you and mold you into his likeness.

God bless,
Pr. Ben