1 Samuel 5:1-3
After the Philistines had captured the ark of God, they took it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. Then they carried the ark into Dagon's temple and set it beside Dagon. 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!
The passage contains one of the funniest stories in the Bible. Between what we read about yesterday and today's passage, the Philistines had soundly beaten Israel. Rather than being defeated because the Israelites had brought the Ark of the Covenant into their camp, the Philistines wiped them out. Then, they captured the Ark and placed it into the temple of their own god Dagon.
They probably assumed that the God of the Israelites was really wimpy and didn't deserve their respect or fear. After all, they had demolished Israel on the battlefield in spite or the Ark's being there. What they hadn't counted on was another element of God's character—His jealousy. God won't share space with any other god. In fact, he proved that on the first night the Ark was in the temple of Dagon by knocking the idol of Dagon to the floor, making it lie face down in the dirt. We could say that Jehovah made Dagon "assume the position", just like cops do to criminals when they arrest them.
While this story is funny, it carries a very serious warning to us. God won't share space in our hearts with any other person or thing either. It's sort of like the way little kids make a big deal of being best friends. The ultimate threat when they disagree is "You're not my best friend anymore." God wants to be our only best friend. He wants for us to spend time with him, listen to him, enjoy him, and obey him. He doesn't want for us to make him share our hearts with our friends at school or our video games and music.
That seems pretty selfish at first. If any of your friends demanded to be the only one you hung around with, you wouldn't like it. In fact, you would probably stop being that person's friend pretty quickly. But, God is different. He knows that the only way we can really have peace, joy, and contentment in our lives is to become what he made us to be—his best friends. When we try to make him share our hearts, he knows we're heading for trouble. If we don't act like his friendship is the most important thing in our life, we miss out on the greatest adventure we could ever hope for—the adventure of loving and serving the Almighty God who is the Creator of everything.
Dear Lord, please help me to keep the very best place in my heart for you. Help me love you and learn to be your best friend. Teach me how to talk to you, listen to you, and enjoy your company. Amen.
Written by Martha E Menne, Flagstaff Arizona