Dethroning Dagon

"Now the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. Then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it to the house of Dagon and set it by Dagon. When the Ashdodites arose early the next morning, behold, Dagon had fallen on his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD. So they took Dagon and set him in his place again. But when they arose early the next morning, behold, Dagon had fallen on his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD. And the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off on the threshold; only the trunk of Dagon was left to him." 1 Samuel 5:1-4

What happens when God comes to dwell in your temple? Are the false gods competing for primacy in your life--Approval-of-Men, Temporal-Success, Self-Pleasure, and all the rest--toppled in the dust? Do they yield before the King of the Universe?

They don't always give way in my life, but it isn't because God lacks the requisite authority! If He can dominate Dagon, He could definitely defeat my demons. The question is simply whether I let Him!

Does that sound backwards? Do we really have to give God permission to do anything? (The short answer is yes--see Rev. 3:20).

They say that in a democracy, the people are sovereign. That may be true, but we only get to exercise our power, at least directly, every two or four years, when an election comes around. God's sovereignty in our lives is something we vote on every day! Multiple times a day!

I heard a simple statement recently that really struck me. (Actually, it was something Tom Waters said at Luke and Chantée's wedding :) All it was was that the time we spend with Jesus should be the most important part of our day. Wow--I was convicted! I have my devotions in the morning, yet how many mornings do I jump on the Internet before I jump into the Word? (This was one, I'm ashamed to report...) It's not that responding to emails and reading the news are bad, but for me, it represents a principle--a priority choice. I'll come right out and say it: in many ways, the Internet is my Dagon--one of the most powerful competitors with God for my attention and affections.

I don't know what's competing for uptake in your mind, but I have an idea about how to topple that idol: name it, claim it, and surrender it (then repeat the last step lots of times.) (No, not that kind:) Figure out what's getting in the way, acknowledge that you're allowing whatever it is to be on the throne of your life, and then give it to God, and ask Him to lay it in the dust!

Psalm 46:10 "Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth."

I want God to be exalted in every part of my life, so that the onlooking world has incontrovertible evidence of the power and love of our God!



  1. God spoke to me through this. Thank, Joel!

  2. I love this story! It crystalizes this critical lesson: God is not a good luck charm to be toted into what ever battle suites our fancy. He is sovereign. But to me, the most powerful and convicting part of this story is this: God allowed Himself to be taken hostage. So profound! Israel certainly deserved to be taken captive - but God goes in their stead - into the heart of darkness and comes out victorious. This is what Jesus has done for me!

  3. Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. 2 Cor 10:5

    Ever thought about writing a young adult devotional? You might recruit some fellow bloggers such as Caitlin and Kristen. You all have written some thought provoking things over the past few years.

  4. Hey Joel. I'm Joel too. Not to many of us in the world. Thought I would say hi.


    Joel, author

  5. Glad it was a blessing, Emily!

    Caitlin: seems like I recall you telling me about this particular story being used in a Bible-storying session--is that right? Maybe this blog is the long-dormant result of percolation from our discussion :)

    That's the perfect verse, Dorinda! BTW, guess who I met outside a random airport in Central America? Jennifer Mundall :)

    Mr. Stottlemire: I'm glad you stopped by, fellow name-bearer :) I hope you were blessed--we Joels have to look out for one another!


Sorry - I was getting too many spam comments so I turned on moderation. As long as you're not a bot or a troll, I'll approve your comment :)