1 Samuel 5

A Different Kind Of Battle

The Philistines defeated Israel twice on the field of battle in spite of the fear they experienced when the ark of God entered Israel's camp. The Philistines gathered the spoils of war which included the ark of God. They brought the ark to Ashdod and placed it in the temple of Dagon. The Philistines ascribed their victory to Dagon and put it in the temple as an offering. The next morning when the priests entered the house of Dagon, they beheld an unexpected sight. The statue of Dagon was face down on the ground before the ark of the Lord. The priests quickly replaced Dagon in the normal position. Early the next morning, the priests arrived to find the statue of their god face down again, except this time the head and hands of the image had broken off at the threshold of the shrine. The destruction of the statue caused the priests of Dagon to avoid walking on the places where the statue had fallen. Israel's God had defeated Dagon in his own temple. This so-called god composed of part man and part fish had been destroyed by the God who made both man and fish. 

The Hand Of God Was Heavy

God devastated the people of Ashdod with terror and tumors. The Philistines were aware of the plagues that God brought against the Egyptians, and this is what terrified them when the ark of God was brought to the army. The people of Ashdod are now experiencing the power and judgment of the Lord through a plague. The men of Ashdod understood this to be from the Lord, and they wanted the ark taken out of their city. They summoned the lords of the Philistines and asked them what to do in light of their affliction. They instructed the people of Ashdod to take the ark of God to Gath. The result was the same in Gath and the people panicked as the plague spread through their people. They immediately sent the ark to Ekron, and as it approached the city, the people cried out in distress. The people of Ekron were dismayed, and they begged their leaders to send it away. The Lord is sovereign even over the Philistines. He gave Israel into their hands, and it was not their strength, power, or ability that brought them victory. They sought to rob God of his glory and give it to Dagon. God demonstrated his power over their so-called god Dagon, and he judged the Philistines. 

Things To Consider:

  • How do we rob God of his rightful glory?
  • Do you ever look at things as if they belong to you or as if God owes you?
  • Have you ever come to a place where you realized that God was doing something that you did not understand at the time?
  • Are you superstitious? Why or why not?
  • How can you tell when you are suffering from disobedience and when you are suffering from the work of your enemy?
  • How do you remind yourself that belonging to Jesus means that suffering always has a greater purpose?
  • Have you ever tried to run from the consequences of your disobedience? Why?
  • What are the implications of God's sovereignty over the nations today?