Summary: God is the Living God; He is able to uphold his own Name & honor. He’s not a fabrication of human ingenuity; He’s independent of us. What a miracle when he enters a human life.
WHEN DAGON FELL ON
1 Sam. 4,5
1. My son John Wesley got married yesterday. During the reception they had 2 couples who’d been married over 50 years tell how they’d stayed married. The women said, “Have lots of patience.” The men said, “Do what she says.”
2. The women’s speaker was lecturing on marriage and asked the audience how many of the women wanted to “mother” their husbands. One raised her hand.
“You want to ‘mother’ your husband?” the speaker asked.
“Mother?” the woman echoed. “I thought you said ‘smother.’
3. Someone asked how much it cost to get married. One man responded, “Forty-five dollars for the license and your income for the rest of your life.” It’s a life commitment!
B. TEXT & THESIS: 1 Sam. 4:2-18; 5:1-12
1. 4:2 Israel was defeated by the Philistines…. 3 The elders of Israel asked, “Why did the Lord bring [allow] defeat…today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the Lord’s covenant from Shiloh, so that he may go with us and save us from the hand of our enemies.” 4 So the people sent men to Shiloh. 5 When the ark of the Lord’s covenant came into the camp, all Israel raised such a great shout that the ground shook. 6 Hearing the uproar, the Philistines asked, “What’s all this shouting in the Hebrew camp?” When they learned that the ark of the Lord had come into the camp, 7 the Philistines were afraid. “A god has come into the camp,” they said. 8 “We’re doomed! Who will deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods? They are the gods who struck the Egyptians with all kinds of plagues…9 Be strong, Philistines! Or you will be subject to the Hebrews. Be men, and fight!” 10 So the Philistines fought, and the Israelites were defeated and…the slaughter was very great; Israel lost 30,000 foot soldiers. 11 The ark of God was captured, and Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, died. 12 A Benjamite ran from the battle line and went to Shiloh with his clothes torn and dust on his head. 13 When he arrived, there was [the Priest] Eli sitting on his chair by the side of the road, watching, because his heart feared for the ark of God. When the man entered the town and told what had happened, the whole town sent up a cry. 14 Eli…asked, “What is the meaning of this uproar?” The man told Eli, 16 “I have just come from the battle line…17 Israel fled before the Philistines, and the army has suffered heavy losses. Also your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been captured.” 18 When he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell backward off his chair by the side of the gate. His neck was broken and he died.
5:1 After the Philistines had captured the ark of God, they took it…to Ashdod. 2 Then they carried the ark into Dagon’s temple and set it beside Dagon. 3 When the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! They took Dagon and put him back in his place. 4 But the following morning when they rose, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! His head and hands had been broken off and were lying on the threshold. 6 The Lord’s hand was heavy on the people of Ashdod… he brought devastation on them and afflicted them with tumors. 7 …They said, “The ark of the god of Israel must not stay here with us, because his hand is heavy on us and on Dagon our god.” 8 So they moved the ark of the God of Israel [to Gath]. 9 But…the Lord’s hand was against that city, throwing it into a great panic. 10 So they sent the ark of God to Ekron. As the ark of God was entering Ekron, the people of Ekron cried out, 11 “Send the ark of the god of Israel away; let it go back to its own place, or it will kill us and our people.” For death had filled the city with panic; God’s hand was very heavy on it… 12 and the outcry of the city went up to heaven.