1 Samuel 5:1 – And the Philistines took the ark of God, and brought it from Ebenezer unto Ashdod.
1 Samuel 5:2 – When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon.
1 Samuel 5:3 – 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.
1 Samuel 5:4 – 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.
Hello readers, today we will be talking about the ark of God in the house of Dagon. Think about the question… why can’t you just get along? Maybe people wouldn’t mind a true Christian and their God and his word if they would just get along! This is an interesting story in scripture. The setting is that Israel is in sin, they’re religious but disobedient, and in the previous chapter the Philistines had come up against Israel and defeated them comprehensively in battle. To add an exclamation point to their victory, they took the ark of God which was Israel’s, and put it in the house of their god, Dagon.
The ark of God is a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ and his word, the Holy Bible, the scripture of truth. Well, maybe you’re in disobedience and what you’ve been given, that opportunity in life to believe and serve God… it’s been taken from you. The Philistines did not win because Dagon was anything, they won because God had turned against Israel for their sin against him. Remember, we are just out of the book of Judges, a dark time in Israel history where every man did that which was right in his own eyes. Kinda sounds like us today.
So the Philistines bring the ark of God back with them, and they bring it into the house of their god, Dagon. It was like a spoil of war, a trophy and tribute to their god, Dagon. It seemed crazy that Israel’s view of God had so degenerated that they really reduced God to a bit of furniture. Do you really think the God of the universe, the God of glory, is confined to a bit of man made furniture? Hardly.
Well, it turned out the ark of God didn’t quite get along with Dagon. If you read the story the ark of God was a trouble maker. It’s a bit like God’s word today in this world. People wouldn’t mind Christianity if it wasn’t so divisive, if it wasn’t such truth, if it wasn’t such light. Christians in this world, to get along, surrender their salt and light in order to fit in. But even though professing Christians decay and depart, the God of the Bible has not changed. His standards have not changed, his requirements of man has not changed, his judgments have not changed, his truth has not changed, his word has not changed.
You know, God’s word causes all the religions of this world, all the belief systems, all the objects of praise and worship to fall down before it. It cuts off the hands of Islam, of Buddhism, of Hinduism… of Catholicism and every “ism”. God doesn’t share his glory with lies, with false beliefs, with false ways, with false truths, even with false Christs. There are many religious systems in this world, but they all fall down before the Lord God of the Bible. All religions of the world have a common enemy, the born again believer, the child of God who holds to his Bible as his light, his truth and his sword. The Philistines set the ark of God in Dagon’s house, but in the morning they found Dagon fallen down before the ark of God. Their god was defied, humiliated and destroyed. Nothing can stand before the truth of God’s word.
Today we see how utterly irreconcilable Biblical Christianity is with all the other belief systems and philosophies and theories and opinions of this world. You can’t reconcile truth with lie, light with darkness, holiness with unholiness, clean with unclean. God puts a divide there on purpose. He sets before you life and death, blessing and cursing, salvation and damnation… and you will rise and fall on what you do with the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Pilate tried not making a decision, but you’ve been given the gospel, and you’re already living in the decision you’ve made.
You can’t reconcile Jesus Christ with any other beliefs. He doesn’t get along. Remember, he said he is the way, the truth and the life. You know, that’s pretty exclusive isn’t it. If he is THE way, that means all other ways are false ways. If he is THE truth, that means all other truths are lies. If he is the life, it means if you don’t have him, you have no life. He is the only way to the Father, you aren’t coming to God, or being reconciled to God by or through any other. Jesus Christ is irreconcilable, there is no compromise that God will make on who is he for you or anyone. You are only accepted by him coming to him his way, according to this truth, on the basis of repentance and faith.
Jesus Christ and his word is not just irreconcilable, but he is infinitely superior. Christianity is the better way. Nations that have believed God have been exalted throughout history, because the way of living is superior. Christianity is the only religion that deals with the heart of man and his sinful state. Christianity is the only religion whose God is real and true and has power. God was utterly superior to Dagon, as evidenced by Dagon falling down before him, and then Dagon’s hands being cut off.
In this story, we behold the enormous error of modern Christianity on so many levels. There truly is leaven in the meal, just as Jesus said in one of his parables. Modern Christianity has made the huge mistake of trying to reconcile Christ with the world. Rather than preach the truth, they tried to coexist, they tried saying we worship the same God, they tried being accepting and tolerant … and all they did was do what Israel did, because they were just doing what they wanted to do, and that’s why they’d lost the ark and been badly defeated in battle, God was not with them. The God of the Bible does not mesh with any other belief or way or idea or philosophy or wisdom of man. Get saved, or go to hell. It’s still the same message, as blunt as that is.
People wouldn’t mind Christianity if it wasn’t so definitive on sin, on righteousness and on judgment. People wouldn’t have such a problem with Christianity if it was just “a” way, but it is actually THE way, and that’s what upsets people. See, people would like the ark of God and keep him there if he didn’t upset Dagon. You know, if God is the most High, he doesn’t share his most high position with anyone or anything else. So often in our lives we want to follow God, but we’ve also got Dagon there as well. We like our sports, our fun, our pleasure, making money, following our ambitions and dreams. We want God, but we also want to do what we want to do, and for God to be ok and work with that. But he won’t. In order to get along, you’re going to have to ship the ark out, just as the Philistines did. Most people eventually reject the Bible, because God is not going to change for them.
God’s word doesn’t coexist with lies. It can’t. Something has gotta go. For most people, instead of turfing Dagon, they’ll be looking to move the ark of God on. You’d think one of the Philistines would’ve thought, hey, God is superior to my false little god. But that’s the power of peer pressure and fitting in. If you want to fit in in this world, you’re going to follow Dagon. See, if the ark of God doesn’t get along with Dagon, you’re going to have trouble getting along when you hold to God and others hold to Dagon. Elijah said to the men of Israel “how long halt ye between two opinions?” Well? Choose one or the other, you can’t have both.
One of the most glorious truths in this story is the preservation of scripture. Despite all that’s happened in history, God has preserved his word, God has preserved his holiness, God has preserved the truth. You’d think that poor little ark all on his lonesome, lost in this evil dark world. But no, the ark of God was just fine. The Bible isn’t the word of man, the Bible is the word of God. If it was the word of man, it would have been assimilated and lost in the religions and lies and darkness of this world long ago. But the word of God lasts forever, because of the God who gave it is forever. God’s word is with power. Dagon had to be helped up, man was propping him up, and that’s how man likes it, man in control of his god. Pretty neat deal when you control your god. He behaves how you want him to. He’ll never rebuke your sin or say no to you!
The Philistines brought the ark into Dagon’s house as a trophy for Dagon, yet here Dagon, in his own house, is having his own house spoiled by the ark of God. What a sight for the Philistines to come into Dagon’s house and see his head and hands cut off, fallen down before the ark of God. You know what cuts the head and hands off false religion? The Bible. The righteousness of Christ. His righteousness cuts off the very best you can think, say and do. He’ll cut off your morality. He’ll cut off you thinking you’re going to heaven based on how good you are. When Dagon gets cut off, Philistines look to ship the ark of God out. Don’t ruin my life. Don’t interfere with my beliefs. Don’t touch my god. Don’t show my god to be a fake loser.
Why can’t you just get along God? Why can’t you just get along Bible? Why can’t you just get along believer? Why is the Bible so definitive about truth? Why does the Bible have to be so exclusive about who’s going to heaven and how to get there? This unsaved world rejects Christianity at the point where it challenges Dagon. They’d love to have Jesus Christ if he didn’t rebuke their sin, if he didn’t expose their dark hearts, if he just tolerated their wickedness a bit more. The crowd that talks about diversity, tolerance, inclusion, don’t judge and all that, they only are happy with the Christians who won’t insult or upset their Dagon. If you don’t touch my god, we’ll get along great. They don’t love diversity as much as they say, they only tolerate people who go along with what they believe and say. They’re only diverse until there is a diversity of belief! Then they’re not very diverse!
God and Dagon are not on equal terms. Salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ alone. God’s not changing to suit you. He’ll cut this lie off and that lie off. He’ll cut the head and hands off your ideas, your philosophies, your beliefs, your imaginations, your thoughts, your ways, your life… and that’s when you’ll cool on him. God’s not sharing his glory with Dagon. The funny thing is, the ark of God was set in there as a trophy to Dagon, a tribute to Dagon, a notch on Dagon’s belt… and Dagon’s going to end up on his face before him in his own house. God is the only one with power. Remember, God isn’t dead religion, God is God, he is the Creator and sustainer of all things. He is the only one, the ONLY one who offers and can give forgiveness and eternal life. He’s the only one with power, and he showed it here.
Oh the Philistines would’ve loved it if the ark would just get along with Dagon. They could’ve sat in the same house together forever. But the ark of God and Dagon just didn’t get along. You’d think the Philistines might think about switching their god out when they see him flat on his face, when they see his head and hands lopped off . But no, they don’t. That’s the craziness of this world. They’d rather lies over truth. They’d rather darkness over light. They choose insanity over a right mind. They don’t want any part of it, you know, because everyone else is worshipping Dagon so must I type mentality. They don’t want any part of it because the God of the Hebrews demands holiness and faith and obedience, but they’re more interested in their god who doesn’t mind when they sleep around, fornicate, commit adultery, lie, cheat steal and all that. Nah we don’t want that God. We like a Jesus who doesn’t insult our Dagon, but we’ll ship the Lord Jesus Christ of the Bible on when he cuts off the head and hands of our fake, lying little life.
Most people don’t mind the idea of God, of going to heaven, of forgiveness, of salvation. But they want it on their own terms… not on the terms of repentance and acknowledging of the truth. When they find out the cost of the ark, they say pass. There’s a cost to Dagon when you believe in Jesus Christ. He’ll put your false gods out. He’ll put your lies out. He’ll put your sin out. He’ll expose, rebuke, reprove, convict… and that’s not welcome here. You know, at Bethshemesh the Philistines looked in the ark, and God killed over fifty thousand of them. Maybe you think you’re good enough to go to heaven. Maybe you think you’re pretty moral and good. Maybe you’re self righteous. But noone is. Only Jesus Christ kept the law, only Jesus Christ pleased God.
God is Holy, Holy, Holy. Israel had forgotten that, but God hadn’t changed. So today we see that God doesn’t get along with Dagon. Believers shouldn’t get along with the lies and darkness of this world. God doesn’t get along with your lying life. God doesn’t go along with your delusion. God doesn’t accommodate your sin. God is still holy, God is still righteous, God is still just, God is still true. The truth is still the truth. What’s right is still right. What’s wrong is still wrong. God hasn’t changed, he hasn’t struck a compromise with Dagon, he is the unchanging God with the unchanging word. We need to get back to believing that God, his word still has power.
Salvation isn’t striking a deal with God, salvation is repenting of your sin and believing and trusting in Jesus Christ to forgive and save your wretched soul. Dagon was the disgusting god of the Philistines, maybe you’ve got some disgusting gods and masters in your life… you’re trying to have God and Dagon. Get on to that. If you try having both, you’ll just end up serving Dagon. God’s not sharing the seat with Dagon in your life. He’ll go. He’ll find someone who will believe and trust and obey and honour him in their life. Thank God that he is not inferior to Dagon and that he is not reconciling with Dagon. The Lord God of the Bible stands alone, eternal, unchanging and forever… thank God there’s no getting along with Dagon.
Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 30 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – kjvbibletruth.com/about :)