The collapse of an idol

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?

Thid-FoldedFlagNow, 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?

Do we…

  • 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.”

In fact, the republic for which our flag stands is constantly changing. Please consider…

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.

Thid-TatteredFlagCould 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?

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About Chip
Chip is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, AR and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, TN. He served more than five years on the staff of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana as Director of Communications and Public Relations, editor of the Indiana Baptist newsjournal, and regular contributor to the Baptist Press, the official news service of the Southern Baptist Convention. He currently earns his living as a writer. He serves his local church as a teacher and deacon and his local Baptist Association as a Seminary Extension instructor and supply preacher.

2 Responses to The collapse of an idol

  1. Pingback: Hail Caesar « Thideology™

  2. Pingback: Iron Sharpens Iron: Learning From Old Teachers, Discerning Our Flaws, Understanding Our Calling, and Casting Off Idols | Five Solas Reformation

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