Read: 1 Samuel 5
Israel had lost the battle and those who remained alive, had scattered. It was a devastating blow. Not only had they lost the fight, they had also lost the Ark of the Covenant and with it, God’s presence. As the triumphant Philistines marched straight to the temple of their god, Dagan, to present him with their spoils – Israel wept. How would they move on from such a defeat? How could they move on?
The Philistines rejoiced in Israel’s sorrow. They had destroyed the army that had shattered Jericho’s strongholds and drowned Egypt’s hopes of ever rebuilding to its former glory. Stories would be told of this day! The day that God of Israel bowed to the power of their god, Dagan. Their celebration, however, would be short-lived.
The very next morning, they returned to Dagan’s temple to find him on his face before the Ark. The following day, they would find him face down with both his hands and head broken off and lying beside him. The chapter goes on to tell us that soon the Philistine people became plagued with tumors and oozing sores. Sickness ran rampant through the streets and the devastation was catastrophic. Is it any wonder that the elders would begin to point to the Ark and cry aloud, “It can’t stay here! Get rid of it! Take it back to Israel!”
From verse one to the very end of the chapter we see a God who stands alone, a God who is far above all other gods, a God who will not be and cannot be compared to any other. We see a God who is unrivaled. And this reality should bring our faith bubbling up to the surface. It should awaken within us hope, expectation, …explosive joy! Paul said, “If God be for us, who can be against us (Romans 8:31)?” Let Dagan’s crushed form stand as proof: There is no God like our God!
“The Lord is my Light and my Salvation. What do I have to fear (Psalm 27:1)?”
“Greater is He that is in (me) than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).”
Whatever you are facing today –know this: God is worthy of your hope. Believe today. Believe that God is still writing the story – and the battle that felt as if it ended in defeat, might be the very birth place of your victory. Because…
“One thing I’ve noticed, one thing I’ve found – is I serve a God who turns things around.
And it’s not over, over, over, until He says.”
-Lyrics from “It’s Not Over” by Nicole Homan