The collapse of an idol
January 4, 2013 2 Comments
In 1 Samuel chapter 5 we read about the results of a battle between the Israelites and the Philistines. The Philistines captured the ark of God — which the Israelites had carried into battle — and took it into the house of Dagon, the Philistine god. In those days if you defeated an enemy in battle it was considered an indication that your god was greater than the god of your enemy. The ark of God was to the Philistines a representation of the God of Israel and so they brought it into the house of Dagon as a way of honoring Dagon. And why shouldn’t they? I mean, after all, a victory in battle is a clear indication of divine favor — isn’t it?
Now, we know that Dagon was a false god — a mere idol fashioned by the hands of men. Nevertheless, it was this false god the Philistines believed provided them with food, security, victory over their enemies, etc. And, since Dagon provided them with these things, they paid homage to Dagon — as was the common practice among many pagan nations of that day.
To varying degrees, nations honored their idols. They gave their money to them, sacrificed animals to them, called upon them in their time of need, worshipped them with ceremonies, sacred words and songs, and even sacrificed their own children to them.
But, God does not tolerate idols forever. Sooner or later they will all be brought low before Him. If you keep reading in 1 Samuel chapter 5 you will see what happened to Dagon after the Philistines placed the ark of God before him.
“And when the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, behold, Dagon had fallen face downward on the ground before the ark of the LORD. So they took Dagon and put him back in his place. But when they rose early on the next morning, behold, Dagon had fallen face downward on the ground before the ark of the LORD, and the head of Dagon and both his hands were lying cut off on the threshold. Only the trunk of Dagon was left to him.” — 1 Samuel 5:3-4
After that God plagued the Philistines with tumors. They finally got the hint. Israel’s God was more powerful than Dagon. They got rid of the ark in a hurry.
Now, before we start talking trash about the speck in the eyes of the Philistines, we’d better take a look in the mirror to see if you have a plank in our own. Is there anything out there we regard in the same fashion as the Philistines regarded Dagon?
- Pay homage to an emblem made by the hands of men?
- Give our money to something?
- Call upon someone in our time of need?
- Worship some entity with ceremonies? Pledges? Songs?
- Do we sacrifice our children for the sake of something?
If you live in the United States of America as I do then you don’t have to look very hard to discover the answer to all of these questions is a resounding “yes.”
- We look to our government for security.
- We call upon the government in our time of need.
- We give our money to our government.
- We consider our songs and ceremonies to the government as sacred, hallowed.
- When we mention God at all it is usually in the context of asking His blessing on America, like He is our divine secret weapon for national success.
- If one of our children should happen to die in the service of our government, we consider it the most honorable of deaths — a worthy sacrifice.
- We swear our loyalty to a piece of cloth made by the hands of men. And, if you want to argue that we are really swearing our loyalty to the “republic for which it stands,” I will remind you that the “republic for which it stands” is just as much the product of the hands of men as is the flag.
In fact, the republic for which our flag stands is constantly changing. Please consider…
- Our president has just signed into law a provision for the indefinite detention of American citizens.
- The federal government is bent on disarming the citizenry.
- The current administration has decided it can and will force Christians to act against their faith.
- The U.S. government is now claiming for itself the authority to determine who lives and who dies as a necessary provision of the recently passed “health care” law.
I remain convinced that the vilest idol in America is America. But please note, the characteristics of the United States that may have prompted many of us to regard it as an idol are quickly vanishing.
Could it be that God is allowing Christians to witness, first hand, the fall of such a prominent idol so that we might return to Him as uncompromising subjects of the King of kings? Might this be a call to Christians to reject loyalty to any earthly empire in exchange for the desire to serve only Him and His Kingdom?