Idols Fall, God Stands!
1 Samuel 5:1-7:1
August 1st, 2010
· The Ark has been captured.
o When the nations of this time went to war it was always the assumption that it was not so much the people who were battling against one another but the gods of the people.
o So that when the ark of the God of Israel is captured by the Philistines and then placed in the temple next to their god dagon they thought that this was the ultimate sign of defeat.
o By placing the ark next to dagon they were saying in effect that we have rendered your god absolutely powerless.
· What is really going on with the ark being captured?
o Could not God have kept the ark from being captured? Of course, so what is God seeking to reveal about Himself to the Philistines?
§ That He would not be placed next to dagon, because He was holy, all powerful and the only true God worthy to be worshiped.
o When things happen in our lives that God obviously could have prevented we need to be willing to ask the question, what is God seeking to reveal about Himself in the midst of this time.
§ God longs to be worshiped in our lives , not added to our lives.
· That God would allow the Philistines to take the ark reveals much about what God was seeking to teach the Philistines about who He really was.
I) He is the only true God.
A) When you look up the word Philistine and look at the synonyms - you find words like barbarian, uncouth, ect, but the Philistines were anything but barbarians, they were the sophisticated ones of their day.
B) When they set the Ark of God next to dagon they were essentially saying we have conquered your god for he is not really as strong as our God. Yes we have heard all about what your god did to the Egyptians but he was no match for our god, dagon.
1) Nothing could have been farther from the truth. (v. 2)
C) When the workers of the temple of dagon came in the next morning there was dagon on his face before the ark, They put dagon back, (what He could not care for Himself?) (one of the things that will become painfully clear to the Philistines by the end of this time is that God can take care of Himself , He does not need anyone's help) But the Philistines thought this was just a fluke.
1) The following morning dagon is on his face again with his head and hands off and the hands lying on the threshold.
(a) The philistines would have understood exactly what this meant. When people were conquered in this time they would not only remove their head (goliath) but they would also remove the hands.
(b) In addition to this the hands were on the threshold, this would also have been understood as a sign of begging for mercy.
(c) Even though dagon was not real God was speaking to them in a way that they would understand. He not dagon was the true God. (this was a message that Israel needed to hear as well) Is. 43:10-13, 44:6b
D) This is a truth the we need to understand as well. For while we say that God is our Lord, there are times when we are guilty of putting things next to or on the same plane as God. (our happiness, our jobs, our money, our homes, our toys, our future, our children or our children's future, our reputation, our ministry)
1) When the things of our lives are placed next to the character of God they will be revealed for what they really are.
2) Sometimes we don't even know that what we are worshiping is not a real god, that is why God steps in to reveal that which is not God so that we can have the opportunity to turn to the true God.
3) God in His mercy will do what He needs to do to reveal those things in our lives that are not God. The question is will we understand or will we continue to move along as the Philistines did?
II) He is holy.
A) The LORD's hand was heavy, a play on words. (v. 6,7,11-gaining intensity as it goes along) The Lords hand was heavy because He is holy. (Rev. 4:8)
B) When the Ark of God was placed in the temple of dagon God sought to get their attention that He was a holy God.
1) He brought devastation , death, tumors, rats, was this just? (Ps. 77:13- the LORD's ways are holy)( Uzzah was struck down when he touched the ark- an irreverent act)
2) God even strikes down the men of Beth Shemesh because they looked into the Ark. This wasn't just a box, this was the Ark of the LORD God
C) They thought that by simply moving the ark they could control and stop the devastation. They moved the ark to Gath- The city where Goliath came from, thought to be a very strong city.
1) It isn't until seven months later that they finally seek to find out what can be done about the Ark.
2) Before we are quick to judge the Philistines how about us? What else does God have to do to get our attention?
D) There are times that we think that we can play games with the holiness of God. Instead of dealing with issues of sin in our lives. (Eph. 5:3)
1) So what do we do? (Col. 3:5, Heb 4:16)
2) Well how do I know if what I am doing is not right? When the ark was put next to the image of dagon the character of God revealed what dagon was- lifeless, powerless, and unholy. When we put the things of our lives next to the character of God they will be revealed for what they truly are. Isaiah "Woe is me for I am undone"
(a) Illustration: Barney in the trunk- he let us know he was there and that he stunk.
III) He is all powerful
A) They thought because they had captured the ark that they were more powerful than the nation of Israel and her god.
B) All that was about to change, because God not only brought about destruction he also orchestrated the ark being brought back to Israel.
1) Two cows that had calves but had never been yoked would be sent with the ark and a guilt offering. If the cows went straight then the disaster was from God , if they did not go straight up to Israel then the destruction was a chance happening.
C) The Philistine rulers saw that it went straight up to Israel. (6:16) yet it did not change their hearts. They will continue to be a burr in the saddle blanket for many years to come. All that God had done in their midst all of the mercy that He had shown- yes mercy He could of wiped them out - did nothing to change their view about who God was.
D) There are those times that God allows things in our lives so that we would not only see His power but that it would change our hearts and lives and especially the way that we worship Him.
1) God's healing power is available to His children (James 5)
2) We live in the resurrection power of God(Did God raise Jesus from the dead? Then is He able to work in the midst of our situations? but first we must put them next to the character of God , then we need to entrust them into the hands of our All powerful God.
3) God is the Only God -yet even when people see this they still need to make the decision to believe this as truth.