Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Falling Flat on my Face

O. T. #581  "Falling Flat on my Face"
August 19, 2015
1 Samuel 5
... Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord...
1 Samuel 5:4


Have you ever tripped and fallen flat on your face? I have several times. The last time I was able to catch myself, protecting my long nose, and put my arms in front of me. so I hurt my shoulder that time. It was humiliating, even though I was alone. Today, the Philistines god was going to fall flat on its face. Yeees! You go Lord! show Yourself mighty!

We last read of the tragedies which occurred to Israel-Ark of the Covenant, high priest Eli's death, and his two sons' death. Not to mention that 34,000 Israelis died in the battle with the Philistines. If only Israel had repented of their sins. If only...

Now the Philistines had possession of the Ark, passing it around to their various cities. (The Ark was considered evidence of God's presence.)
First the Philistines took it from the city of Ebenezer to Ashdod (located 30 miles west of Jerusalem near the sea). That is the place where they had the temple of their false god named Dagon, which was actually outside the city.
Four writers of commentaries gave a different description of Dagon:
  • considered the father of god Baal, and was thought to supply both harvest and fertility (Judges 16:23-30) (D. Jeremiah);
  •  a deity as a fish god, whose image had the lower body of a fish and the upper body of a man (MacArthur);
  • a chief god of the Philistines who was believed to send rain and assured a bountiful harvest (Life Application Study Bible);
  • the god of agriculture, whose name is derived from "corn" or "grain." (Falwell)
  • Apparently, it was a statue, an idol.
Actually, it doesn't matter which kind of god it was to the Philistines, does it? They soon found out it was a false god, helpless and powerless in comparison to Almighty God, Elshadiah.

Continuing, what happened at Ashdod?
  • They set the Ark was placed in front of the Philistine god.
  • The next morning, Dagon was found flat on its face in front of the Ark of God, symbolizing its bowing to the only Almighty God.
  • They put Dagon back in its place, only to have God put it in its place. 
  • The following morning the same thing was found-Dagon on its face before the Ark, only its head and palms were broken off and on the threshold, with only its body remaining. Since it smashed into many pieces, only a stump was left.
Without a head and hands on their idol, it couldn't hear their requests and could not help them, as if an idol could have. It represented the enemy was dead.
What a display of God's sovereign control! He has the last word and will not be mocked.
Do we have to fall flat on our face before we admit God is in control and yield to Him?
Why do we wait for Him to put us in our place before we do so?


God showed His sovereignty over all. We read of the hand of the LORD being heavy upon the people of  their cities:
  • First, it happened when the Ark was taken to the city of Ashdod. God destroyed the people and those in the vicinity by afflicting them with tumors called emerods.
  • Emerods are boils, abscesses, swellings. It seems to have been the Bubonic Plague, caused by an outbreak of rats or mice. It was obvious that the hand of the Lord was punishing the Philistines.
  • They had to get the Ark out of town and right away, didn't they? So next they sent the Ark 12 miles away to the city of Gath. The same plague, boils in the secret places, killed the residents. Guess what they did.
  • The Ark was sent to a fourth Philistine city of Ekron. Those people did not want it in their city, due to the previous deaths due to the plague. Can you blame them? God's hand was heave upon them, also, and many died the same way.
Verse 11 explains what happened next:
*The rulers of the Philistines had their meeting and decided to send away the Ark of the God of Israel
   and let it go again to His own place.
*This was so it would not slay any more of them and their people.
*The men who did not die were afflicted with tumors.
*The outcry of the city went up to heaven.

We need to keep the Lord in His proper place-first place in our heart. If He is not there, what will it take for us to surrender so He is? Will it take tumors, cancer, diseases, loosing our family?

In Matthew 22:37, Jesus instructs us to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.


                               ... anything that is first place in my life, which is not God.
                                ... of the control and let God take control.
                                ... and love God more than anything with my everything.
                                ... falling on my face to worship the Lord before He sees that I fall flat on my
                                    face in whatever I am doing.

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