The bat­tle of the gods

Journal Pioneer - - COMMUNITY - Ian Kury­lyk Ian Kury­lyk is pas­tor at Sum­mer­side Fun­da­men­tal Bap­tist Church.

“When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon. And when they of Ash­dod arose early on the mor­row, be­hold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth be­fore the ark of the LORD. And they took Dagon, and set him in his place again.” (II

Sa­muel 5:2-3) This in­ci­dent from the Old Tes­ta­ment took place when God al­lowed the sym­bol of His pres­ence in the midst of His peo­ple to be cap­tured tem­po­rar­ily by their en­emy, the Philistines. The ark spoke by its sym­bol­ism of the Lord’s dwelling in ac­cor­dance with right­eous­ness, truth and mercy.

How­ever, the Philistines, with nei­ther faith nor un­der­stand­ing of the true God, ap­par­ently viewed the ark as Is­rael’s idol and brought it into the house of their god, Dagon (the fish god), and placed it along­side him. Prob­a­bly they were glad to add it to their col­lec­tion and viewed it as a vas­sal de­ity to their own Dagon. How­ever, the very next morn­ing their fishy idol was ly­ing on its face be­fore the ark of the Lord. This is a kind of pic­turesque de­pic­tion of what hap­pens even to­day when­ever the true God is placed be­side some idol for com­par­i­son.

We can com­pare na­tions that have dif­fer­ent un­der­ly­ing spir­i­tual and moral foun­da­tions. Coun­ties that tra­di­tion­ally have Bible-based laws demon­strate greater lib­erty, op­por­tu­nity, equal­ity, sta­bil­ity and se­cu­rity. The rest of the world is clam­our­ing to move to such coun­tries be­cause ev­ery­body knows this is true. Sim­i­larly, fam­i­lies that have taken up God’s plan for do­mes­tic or­der are the hap­pi­est and safest and con­trib­ute sta­bil­ity to a coun­try’s so­cial or­der.

The great­est and most sig­nif­i­cant tes­ti­mony of the supremacy of the God of the Bible comes from those in­di­vid­u­als that have be­come born-again Chris­tians and wor­ship God through His Son, the Lord and Saviour Je­sus Christ. These peo­ple had been mod­ern-day Dagon wor­ship­pers be­fore com­ing to Christ but now ex­alt Je­sus Christ as Lord of all. There are count­less tes­ti­monies.

But de­spite all this ev­i­dence and tes­ti­mony we have had, our world is re­peat­ing the mis­take of the Philistines. They are stand­ing Dagon back up. The world is go­ing back to its idol­a­trous past and be­com­ing post-Chris­tian in its philoso­phies, belief struc­tures and wor­ship life. What comes next is re­vealed in verse 4. “And when they arose early on the mor­row morn­ing, be­hold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground be­fore the ark of the Lord; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off upon the thresh­old; only the stump of Dagon was left to him” (I Sa­muel 5:4).

God passed judg­ment on the Philis­tine idol, and the rest of the chap­ter tells of that judg­ment in the lives of the peo­ple. The Bible prophe­cies we have of the last days tell us what it will mean for our world in due time.

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