Set It In It’s Place Again

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Philistines get the ark, bring it to house of dagon, dagon falls in the night towards the ark, so they set it up again, the next morning, its on its face again, but the head and hands are gone, the priests decide to never go in there again. God strikes them with tumors, the people think the power is in the ark, so they send the ark away to Gath. Then God goes to work on the whole city ‘with a very great destruction’ and sends tumors on everyone. Ark goes to Ekron, those people get scared, and God kills a bunch of them and gives them tumors as well.

There’s a lot in this story here’s what we want to focus on “and set it in its place again.”

  1. What is idolatry?
  • Idolatry is worshipping anything or anyone more than worship of God. Self, others, ideas, objects, feelings, opinions, life
  • In this scripture we see the philistines worshipping Dagon their god. It’s a literal graven image that they bow and worship to. They find their power in it
  • Matthew 6: 24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
  • Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.
  • God didn’t create us to worship anyone but him and Jesus is his final effort to do just that
  • These are modern idols set up by people who do not want God worship to be number one- have a good family, marriage, kids, health, life, stuff
  • On a few occasions I’ve been with people who lost a family member tragically. Complete destruction of their idol because of where their heart is at
  • 2 When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon and set it by Dagon.
  • Modern day people would bring the ark before their car, house, resume, family, investments, spouse, kids, plans, making the ark of God bow before their God to test its power
  • Jonah 2:8 “Those who regard worthless idols Forsake their own Mercy.
  • See what the philistines where having trouble with, was this idea that their God Dagon was on equal footing with YHWH. That somehow, if they placed the ark before their graven image, this battle of the Gods would end well for them- well it didn’t. Their God failed. They failed. It was a failure
  • This is the problem with idol worship-you think that what you worship has some sort of special power, but the reality is that it doesn’t.
  • Psalm 115:3-8 READ Those who make them are like them; So is everyone who trusts in them.
  • These philistines had faith in their god and were shown that he was powerless
  • Idols will be destroyed.
  • 4 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.
  • What is interesting is that God doesn’t destroy this idol the first time around. He just knocks it over. Its almost like a slow played ‘ya’ll don’t want to mess with this’ type of moment.
  • IT gives them a chance to stop this idol worship- to make a different decision. To have different focus
  • But YHWH Wasn’t having it. He wasn’t going to stand for it. Every false idol will be destroyed
  • In the OT and the NT we see the promise and the practice of idol destruction
  • Isaiah 2:20 In that day a man will cast away his idols of silver And his idols of gold, Which they made, each for himself to worship, To the moles and bats,
  • Micah 5:13 Your carved images I will also cut off, And your sacred pillars from your midst; You shall no more worship the work of your hands;
  • What does it mean to you?
  • The challenge of the NT is that we would DESTROY that in our bodies that are not of God.
  • When we have desires within ourselves that are above God- that’s idolatry, its worshipping something other than God
  • Galatians 5:24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
  • This is why its concerning to me when people who claim to be Christians are no different than the world.
  • They do what the world does. They want what the world wants. They live as the world lives.
  • A Christianity that costs nothing, requires nothing and produces nothing.
  • These things are IDOLS- Thinks of WORSHIP that we put above GOD.
  • Colossians 3:5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
  • The key here is actually passion “inordinate affection” There shouldn’t be anything that you love too much. Everything must be on the table. Your hobbies, your identity, your goals, your activities, your possessions, your money.
  • Sexual deviancy and attitudes of the heart are central here. Basically- self satisfaction is akin to idolatry because you’re worshipping yourself instead of worshipping God.
  1. What are you setting in its place again?
  • 3 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.
  • God knocked down the idol once, and they next morning they ‘set it in its place again’
  • Idols of your past should never be placed again
  • But its what people do-
  • Galatians 4:8 But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods. 9 But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?
  • Everything BC was idolatry. Everything. All desires. All loves. All wants.
  • This is really important here- a big distinction. No one wants to be in relationship with a spouse who isn’t totally committed to them. They want to be wanted above all else.
  • Even friendships are that way- we want people to want us more than some activity
  • Why would it be any different with God? Why would God want anything less of us?
  • Ephesians 5:3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints;
  • God’s desire is that we would worship and love him above all else- but the question for those who claim to be in Christ is, why don’t you?
  • You used to love your sin more than you loved God, why would you set that sin back up after its been knocked down?
  • IN this story we see tumors (some translators think its hemmorhoids) coming upon these idolaters to the point of destruction. Eventually killing them. Why? Idol worship.
  • Isaiah 46:7 They bear it on the shoulder, they carry it And set it in its place, and it stands; From its place it shall not move. Though one cries out to it, yet it cannot answer Nor save him out of his trouble.
  • False idols will never deliver. Not in this life or the life to come. They will never satisfy.
  • Jeremiah 10:8 But they are altogether dull-hearted and foolish; A wooden idol is a worthless doctrine.
  • 1 Corinthians 10:14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.
  1. God has set you in a place
  • God puts idols in their rightful place and he destroys them. Conversely, God places you into the place that he wants you to be
  • When you submit to Christ- you give your life to him and he places you HIGH in the spiritual
  • Ephesians 2:6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
  • Our standing with God is totally connected to our spiritual standing in Christ Jesus
  • Col 3:1-2 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God
  • We should never put idols back in their place that God has knocked down and we should never knock down something that God has placed in a high place
  • You are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus- God has placed you here- for now for a time such as this- to glorify him. He knows your relationship, your job, your family, your living situation. He loves you and he knows you and he has placed you.
  • 1 Corinthians 12:18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.
  • Is he not powerful enough to place you? Is he not powerful enough to change you? He is in control. He will do it. I promise.
  • Luke 12:32 “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
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