The battle of the gods
“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.