According to the Bible the Ark of the Lord contained three things:
“…the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron's rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant” (Hebrews 9:4b)
The manna represented the provision of the Lord because He fed the Israelites during their forty year long trip through the wilderness. The rod of Aaron represented the power and authority of the Lord that rested on Aaron. The tablets of the covenant refer to the stone plates that Moses brought down from the mountain; they represent the Law.
Christians have, as sons of the Most High God, all three of these all the time. God provides our needs (Philippians 4:19). He has given us His power and authority (Ephesians 1:14-21 and elsewhere in the New Testament). He has written the Law on the hearts of Christians (Romans 2:15) by His Holy Spirit.
We take these with us wherever we go.
In 1 Samuel we see that forces hostile to our Father, the Philistines have captured the Ark of the Lord and bring it into their temple. They mockingly place it before their “god” Dagon to make it look like the Ark was worshiping this man-made “god.”
“Then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the temple of Dagon and set it by Dagon.” (1 Samuel 5:1-2)
Prior to becoming a Christian I believed that I was self sufficient. I believed that I didn’t worship anything or anyone. I was very pleased with myself that I considered myself superior to those who were weak and, unlike me, needed to worship God or satan or ancestors, etc.
The truth is that I DID worship something because everyone worships something. I was just ignorant (as most people are) about the nature of worship, faith and sacrifice.
Faith has to do with that in which we place our trust. Worship has to do with dedicated time, effort and focus. Sacrifice has to do with showing our trust in what we worship by giving something completely to the object of our worship.
Prior to giving myself to Jesus I had many “gods.”
I trusted ME. I trusted alcohol and substances. I trusted other people, circumstances and things to make my life perfect. I worshiped myself through my praise of myself (bragging) and through depending upon myself. I worshiped and sacrificed to alcohol, substances, and other people, circumstances and things through spending time and focus and money on them. I worshiped myself and other people and things through preferring them over worshiping the One True God.
Back then I thought this was all a great idea…..much the same as people who have not yet humbled themselves before Jesus still do. The problem with this is that God loves people too much to allow them to successfully worship any “god” that is inferior to Him without challenging that “god” and they are ALL inferior to Him and His goodness and power. He craves for us to have His best and that can only be Him.
“You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God…” (Exodus 20:3-5a)
Nothing has changed since He wrote that on the stone tablets that even today remain in the Ark of the Lord, wherever it is. Yet, all lost people and many Christians still bow before other “gods.” Let’s see what happened when the Philistines attempted to cause our God, as represented by the Ark, to bow before one of these satanic imposters of God:
“And when the people of Ashdod arose early in the morning, there was Dagon, fallen on its face to the earth before the ark of the LORD. So they took Dagon and set it in its place again.” (1 Samuel 5:3)
God caused Dagon to bow before Him! What happened when the Philistines discovered their false god bowing before the One True God? They did what we all do when our self made “gods” fail us – they hurried to make their god work for them. They scurried about trying to make everything look like it was working for them. When we fail to be good “gods” to ourselves we explain it away or we shore up ourselves to make ourselves look like suitable “gods” just like they did with Dagon.
So, God had to bring it to the only end there could be: the destruction of the false god.
“And when they arose early the next morning, there was Dagon, fallen on its face to the ground before the ark of the LORD. The head of Dagon and both the palms of its hands were broken off on the threshold; only Dagon's torso was left of it.” (1 Samuel 5:4)
As I sat at my desk in my office this morning and prayed, the Lord was gracious to reveal to me that even as a Christian I am subject to satan’s temptation to not allow the One True God to be the only “god” in my life. I truly trust Him so I asked Him to reveal these “gods” to me so that I might destroy them. I want to know before which “gods” I have unwittingly placed the Ark of the Lord that I carry about in myself. I want to worship Him alone.
What are the “Dagons” in your life? To whom or what will you bow?
If you have never received Jesus as your Lord there are most likely dozens, if not hundreds, of little “gods” erected in your life to help you manage what the world will throw at you. They will all fail you. If this is your reality , I urge you to be wise and cast down all those idols. Turn, instead, to the One who truly does have power, the One who will never fail you and the One who has everything so He doesn’t stand to gain anything by being active in your life. Receive Jesus as your Lord today and allow Him to be your Savior. (If you don’t know how to do this please contact me.)
I did this in October 1986 and my life has been changing to the better ever since. I can finally rest, knowing that my Father in heaven has my back (and my front and sides). It’s no longer all up to me to be my own “god” or find false gods to supplement my obvious failure to be all knowing and all powerful.
If you have received Jesus as your Lord, I’m thrilled to hear it! However, I must remind you that you are not exempt from the devil’s temptation to still rely on other “gods” to supplement the One True God in your life. Ask the Lord to reveal to you what these “Dagons” are in your life. He will. Then be wise and cast down all those idols. Ask the Lord to build within you an increasingly habitual trend of turning, instead, to the One who truly does have power and will never fail you.
Jesus said this:
“…the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.” (Matthew 13:15)
Let’s ask the Lord to open our ears and our eyes so they will work they way He designed them so that we will understand with our hearts. Then we will turn to Him and He WILL heal us.
God loves you and so do I.
May the Lord bless you and keep you free of any distraction from the joy of trusting in and worshiping God alone. Amen.