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Chapter Five (ESV)
1 When the Philistines captured the ark of God, they brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. 2 Then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it into the house of Dagon and set it up beside Dagon. 3 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. 4 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. 5 This is why the priests of Dagon and all who enter the house of Dagon do not tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day.
- Despite their prowess against the Israelites, the Philistines are no more successful at co-opting the power of Yahweh than were the Israelites. The Philistines placed the Ark next to the image of Dagon in order to demonstrate Dagon’s superiority over the God of Israel, but the symbolism was reversed when Dagon was toppled to a position of homage before the Ark of the Lord.
- True faith relinquishes the desire to control God. Instead of trying to hold on to God, define God, keep God in a box, we are asked to let go and allow God to hold on to us; recognizing that he is powerful and sovereign (as he did in the temple of Dagon). Doing this is a huge step of faith. But Jesus reminds us that the life we seek is found in a life of surrender to God.
O God, help us let go of my desire to control my life and to define who You are and limit what You can do. Please hold on to me, especially in my uncertainty so that I may enter into Your rest and protection.