1 Samuel 5:1-12 - The Power and Presence of God
*Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles are books of history that record the establishment of the kingdom, its years of victory and defeat, and the end of a divided kingdom.
One lesson is obvious as you read these books: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34).
Whenever the nation exalted God, God exalted the nation; but when the rulers, prophets, and people turned from the Law, God removed His blessing.
This truth is seen not only in the history of the nation collectively, but also in the lives of the leaders personally. Both David and Solomon disobeyed God and paid dearly in their own homes and personal lives.
First Samuel records the crucial transition from the theocracy (the rule of God) to the rule under the judges to the monarchy under the kings. This transition goes through three stages: Eli to Samuel, Samuel to Saul, Saul to David. So the book is built around three key men: Samuel, Saul, and David.
Samuel’s story begins late in the time of the judges when Eli is the judge-priest of Israel. The birth of Samuel and his early call by God are found in Chapters 1-3.
1. The birth of the New Leader (1:1-28)
a) Hannah’s Barrenness
"The Lord had closed her womb." (1 Samuel 1:5, NKJV)
"And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. Then she made a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.”" (1 Samuel 1:10-11, NKJV)
b) Samuel’s birth
"Then they rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord, and returned and came to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her." (1 Samuel 1:19, NKJV)
"For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord.” So they worshiped the Lord there." (1 Samuel 1:27-28, NKJV)
c) Hannah’s prophetic prayer (2:1-11)
2. The need of the new leader (2:12-3:36)
a) The sinfulness of Eli’s sons (2:12-21)
“The sons of Eli were corrupt; they did not know the Lord.” (1 Samuel 2:12, NKJV)
The stole from God’s people, “Therefore the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord, for men abhorred the offering of the Lord (2:17)
They committed sexual immorality by “laying with the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting (2:22)… “they made the Lords people transgress (v.24)…
But Samuel ministered before the Lord, even as a child, wearing a linen ephod… “And the child Samuel grew in stature, and in favor both with the Lord and men.” (1 Samuel 2: 17-18, 26, NKJV)
b) Compromise of Eli as a father (2:22-36)
(1) Eli heard everything that his sons did but never took the necessary action to deal with it as a parent
(2) Then it was prophesied that his two sons were going to die (2:34).
(3) That speaks volumes to me! We must deal with the sins of our kids, we must intercede on behalf of them to the Lord that they may not die an eternal death separated from God!
3. The transition from Eli to Samuel (3:1-18)
a) The word of the Lord comes to Samuel (3:2-18)
(1) Because of his responsiveness to God (3:20-21) at a time when the “word of the Lord was rare”… there was no wide spread revelation…”
(2) Why was there no wide spread revelation? The Word of God was neglected.
The result of the Word being neglected is that "Everyone did what was right in his own eyes." (Judges 21:25, NKJV)
The Scriptures say "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. (Proverbs 14:12, NKJV)
We read that "So Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel had been established as a prophet of the Lord. Then the Lord appeared again in Shiloh. For the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the Lord. And the word of Samuel came to all Israel." (1 Samuel 3:19-4:1, NKJV)
You remember the woman named Martha who welcomed Jesus into her home? She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations… And Jesus’ response was “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.“ (Luke 10:38-42, NASB95)
(3) You see, you will never go any higher than your devotional life.
b) Israel’s defeat (4:1-21)
(1) Because of the corruption in Shiloh by Eli’s wicked sons, this lead to Israel’s defet in the crucial battle with the Philisitines (4:1-11). The Ark of the Covenant, God’s “throne” among the people, is lost to the Philistines; the priesthood is disrupted by the deaths of Eli and his sons; and the glory of God departs from the tabernacle.
c) The Ark of God had been captured (4:11, 17)
(1) There Was A Purpose In The Ark Being Taken Away.
(2) God broke their idolatry by taking their idol away in order that they would trust in the Lord
(3) God taught them that His presence was not the same as the Ark itself (4:3). They were not to trust in the ark of God but in the God of the Ark.
(4) It Led to a Serious Cry and Prayer after the Lord (1 Samuel 7:1-6) producing a Godly sorrow which leads to repentance (2Cor.7:10-11)
II. The Ark (5:1-12)
A. In Ashdod (5:1-8)
1. The Temple of Dagaon (5:1-2)
a) The Ark of God is brought into the house of Dagon (v.2)
(1) The Philistines brought the Ark of God into the house of Dagon setting it by Dagon as if the Ark was a trophy of victory & ascribing to Dagon that he is superior to Jehovah. They changed to glory of the incorruptible God into an image (Rom.1:18-23)
Paul writing to the Romans said "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. “(Romans 1:18-23, NASB95)
(2) They honored a false god, which is man made and dishonored the true God. They did not deny the existence of Jehovah, they just counted Him as “one of many gods.” Just like today, many believe that Jesus is a god, but not Jehovah God.
The Lord says in Isaiah, “I am the Lord, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images (Isaiah 42:8).”
(3) The Idol Dagon: Dagon was the fish-god of Philistia. The upper part of Dagon was a man or woman, and the lower part of the idol was carved like a fish (mermaid). Dagon was just a merman or mermaid; only, of course, there was no pretense of his being alive.
b) Dagon and the Ark Are in the Same Temple (v.2).
(1) Our Bodies Are The Temple Of The Holy Spirit (1Cor.6:19).
Paul writing to the Corinthians says that "All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body. Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “The two shall become one flesh.” But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body." (1 Corinthians 6:12-20, NASB95)
(2) What Fellowship Does Light Have With Darkness (2Cor.6:14-16)
Paul says it this way: "Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can goodness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the Devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said: “I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore, come out from them and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete purity because we fear God." (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1, NLT)
(3) You Cannot Serve Two Masters (Matt.6:24).
Jesus said that "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth." (Matthew 6:24, NASB95)
2. Dagon falls before the Ark of the Lord (v.3-4)
a) Dagon Was on Its Face before the Ark of the Lord (v.3).
(1) This Is Where We Need To Be Daily, So When We Fall, We Can Get Up.
Listen to this promise: "The Lord sustains all who fall And raises up all who are bowed down.” (Psalm 145:14, NASB95)
The writer of Proverbs says that "A righteous man falls seven times, and rises again, but the wicked stumble in time of calamity.” (Proverbs 24:16, NASB95)
The Lord is the one holding on to us; he says that when you fall, you “will not be hurled headlong, because the Lord is the One who holds his hand.” (Psalm 37:24, NASB95)
(2) Dagon Was On Its Face, But Not Broken (v.3)! Not only does God want to knock down these Dagon’s in our lives but to break them as well. Sometimes there is a struggle, after the Dagon’s in our heart have bowed before God.
(3) Being Broken Before God Is A Beautiful Thing. This will happen when you confess your sin!
When David committed Adultery with Bathsheba, he collapsed under his guilt; he said "Make me to hear joy and gladness, Let the bones which You have broken rejoice.” (Psalm 51:8, NASB95)
"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17, NASB95)… the Lord has been sent to bind up the broken hearted (Is.61:1)
The Lord says "But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word.” (Isaiah 66:2, NKJV)
(4) Illustration: A wild horse, before it can be saddled and ridden, must first be broken. In the same manner, before God can use us, we must first be broken.
b) Dagon was set in its place again (v.3).
(1) Quick Note: would you want to serve a god that falls and you need to pick it up?
(2) Just like the Philistines went back into the temple to set up Dagon, we to go back into our temple, (our minds, and hearts) and set up our Dagon’s as well.
c) The Flesh Must be Put to Death—Amalek (1 Samuel 15:1-3).
(1) The Amalekites Attacked Israel Shortly After They Had Come Out Of Egypt (Ex.17:8-16).
(2) Theirs was a sneak attack against the rear of the camp. Against the old and feeble, who could not keep up with the pace of the moving people.
(3) God hates it when the strong take cruel advantage over the weak, especially when the weak are His people. So God promised to bring judgment against the Amalekites.
(4) The Amalekites Were Always Opposing The People Of God.
(a) When they first tried to enter the Promised Land after their failure to trust God because of the evil report of the 10 spies, it was the Amalekites that came down from the hills and defeated them.
(b) We find the teaming up with the Moabites on one occasion to attack Israel. On another occasion they teamed up with the Zidonites. Yet on another occasion with the Midianites, and still another with the Canaanites. It seemed that it didn't make any difference who was fighting Israel; the Amalakites would join forces with them to destroy Israel.
(5) God announced that He would have war with Amalek from generation to generation.
As God was giving Moses instructions concerning their settling in the new land, He said, "Remember what Amalek did when you came out of Egypt, the sneak attack against feeble, those who were weary and faint. When you have settled in the land and have established yourselves, you are to blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. Don't forget this (Deut.25:17-19).
(6) In 1 Sameuel 15 the Time To Fulfill This Command Of God Has Come.
(a) | Little sins (infants) left unchecked grow into bigger ones (James 1:14-15) |
God wants this old score with Amalek to be settled.
(b) Saul & his army are to be the instruments of God's judgment against these vile people.
(c) Saul was to “utterly destroy” all that they have but he did not (v.3). The result of that was:
(i) Saul was killed by an Amalekite
(ii) David was harassed by the Amalekites
(iii) In the book of Esther (3:1-6) Haman was a descendent of Agag.
(7) The Haman or Agags in your life is that area of the flesh that has not yet been dealt with that is seeking to bring you under bondage again to the flesh life.
(8) It is that area of your life that has not yet been fully surrendered to Christ.
(9) The area the flesh life that you are still holding on to, if it is not brought to the cross will ultimately rise up against you and seek to destroy you.
(10) God has promised that He would be at war with Amalek from generation to generation.
(11) God will not make peace with your flesh life. He hates it.
d) Colossians 3:5-10 put to death your members.
Paul writing to the Colossians says to "Put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual sin, impurity, lust, and shameful desires. Don’t be greedy for the good things of this life, for that is idolatry. God’s terrible anger will come upon those who do such things. You used to do them when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old evil nature and all its wicked deeds. In its place you have clothed yourselves with a brand-new nature that is continually being renewed as you learn more and more about Christ, who created this new nature within you." (Colossians 3:5-10, NLT)
(1) When he speaks of killing bodily parts or members, Paul is actually referring to the sins associated with those members (Matt.5:29-30). Paul is saying that believers are:
(a) To make a decisive resolution to put sin to death, bringing the flesh under subjection to the Spirit-filled new nature.
(b) The positional reality must be worked out in the believer’s practical living. Sins power can be strong because our flesh is week. The new man lives in an old body.
(c) We put sin to death by yielding to the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:13), the Spirit’s weapon is the Word (Eph. 6:17), as the believer is strong in the Word, he “overcomes the evil one” (1 John 2:14).
(2) Galatians 5:19-21 describes the behavior of the old man & (vv.22-25) says those who belong to Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (v.24).
(3) If The Old Self Isn’t Dead, Conversion Hasn’t Occurred!
(4) Biblical terminology does not say that a Christian has two different natures. He has but one nature, the new nature in Christ. The old self dies and the new self-lives; they do not coexist. It is not a remaining old nature but the remaining garment of sinful flesh that causes Christians to sin.
e) The 2nd time Dagon was on its face and “broken” (v.4)
(1) Its Head & Hands Were Broken Off! “The head is the seat of wisdom; the hands, the instruments of action: both are cut off, to show that Dagon had neither wisdom nor strength to defend himself or his worshippers.
The reigning power of sin is utterly broken and destroyed. Paul asks "Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? "May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?... "Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; "for he who has died is freed from sin.” (Romans 6:1-2, 6-7, NASB95)
(2) We have been “crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20).
(3) Dagon’s Torso Was Left! The battle with sin is common to all believers, even Paul because sin still dwells in us (cf.Rom. 7:14–25; 1John 1:8).
(4) Whiskey bottle illustration.
(a) The desire of the new inner man to live a life pleasing to God is held back by the old, sinful flesh with its fallen patterns.
(b) Although believers are new creatures on the inside (2 Cor. 5:17), the new creatures live in old bodies. Thus our bodies can either be instruments for righteousness, or for iniquity. For this reason Paul wrote in Romans 12:1–2
(c) We need to watch and pray lest we enter into temptation (Matt.26:41) because “sin lies at the door and its desire is for you” as God said to Cain (Gen.4:4-7)
(5) We are to walk in the newness of life (Rom.6:4) sin no longer has dominion over us (Rom.6:12-15).
(6) Dagon Cannot Stand In The Presence Of God. What Dagon’s are in your life, what idols seem to be pulling at you wanting to take over? What sins seem to snare you?
The Dagon’s will be brought down and overcome by placing them before the Lord & spending time in His presence. Paul said that "We all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit." (2 Corinthians 3:18, NASB95)
(7) The Lord brought His people out of Egypt with His presence and His mighty power (Deut.4:37). God brought us out of Egypt by His presence and to stay out we must continue to be in His presence. When you bring the ark in watch the Dagon’s go down in my heart. Fix your eyes on Jesus (Heb.12:1ff).
The Cross of Jesus Christ Effectively Crucified the Old Man
The cross is central to the gospel precisely because of its graphic message, including the awfulness of sin, the intensity of God’s wrath against sin, and the efficacy of Jesus’ work in crucifying the old man (Rom. 6:6). A. W. Tozer wrote, The cross is the most revolutionary thing ever to appear among men.
The cross of Roman times knew no compromise; it never made concessions. It won all its arguments by killing its opponent and silencing him for good. It spared not Christ, but slew Him the same as the rest. He was alive when they hung Him on that cross and completely dead when they took Him down six hours later. That was the cross the first time it appeared in Christian history.…
The cross effects its ends by destroying one established pattern, the victim’s, and creating another pattern, its own. Thus it always has its way. It wins by defeating its opponent and imposing its will upon him. It always dominates. It never compromises, never dickers nor confers, never surrenders a point for the sake of peace. It cares not for peace; it cares only to end its opposition as fast as possible. With perfect knowledge of all this, Christ said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” So the cross not only brings Christ’s life to an end, it ends also the first life, the old life, of every one of His true followers.
It destroys the old pattern, the Adam pattern, in the believer’s life, and brings it to an end. Then the God who raised Christ from the dead raises the believer and a new life begins. This, and nothing less, is true Christianity…
We must do something about the cross, and one of two things only we can do—flee it or die upon it. “For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s shall save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:35–37).
3. God Put All Those To Shame Who Worshiped This Carved Image.
a) Psalm 97:7 God even made this image worship Him.
b) Mark 3:11 unclean spirits fell down before Jesus.
c) John 18:1-6 Jesus declared “I Am” and all those who heard it fell back.
d) Philippians 2:9-11 and in the final and last day all will bow their knee to Jesus and confess He is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
Amazing what people think and how they will justify their false god’s. Why? You have to understand that these pagan religions including the worship of Dagon included all sorts of bizarre practices and immoral procedures. And the people were attracted to a very immoral and loose lifestyle that was justified by these false God’s. In other words they justified this false religious system because they wanted to do what they desired to do in indulging their fleshly appetites (John 3:18-19) men love darkness rather than light for their deeds are evil
4. The Tumors (5:6-8).
The people of Ashdod are afflicted with tumors because of the Ark’s presence. So they send the Ark to the city of Gath.
a) The hand of the Lord was very heavy on the People of Ashdod (v.6)
(1) | God has a way of interupting our rest as He did with Nebuchadnezzar(Daniel 2) |
They would not listen when God struck down their statue of Dagon; they just set it up again. When we close our ears to God, He often finds another way to speak to us, and we may not like the second way.
(2) God’s hand was on Egypt because Pharaoh would not let His people go (Exodus 9:1-5)
(3) God’s Hand Was Heavy Upon David When He Had un-confessed Sin (Psalm 32:1-5)
David said "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. “(Psalm 32:1-5, NKJV)
b) He ravaged them and struck them with tumors (v.6)
(1) What were these tumors? Older commentators often describe them as hemorrhoids, and newer commentators often describe them as signs of the bubonic plague (a contagious fatal disease) or even mice. Either way, they were bad.
c) It must not remain with us (v.7), Let the ark of the God of Israel be carried away (v.8):
(1) Instead of submitting to the God of Israel, they decided to get rid of Him. The problem is, we can’t get rid of God.
The Psalmist Declares: "Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” Even the night shall be light about me; Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, but the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You. “(Psalm 139:7-12, NKJV)
(2) We may ignore Him and try and patch up our lives or we can even do things to push Him away, but even the best of those are temporary. We must all face God, and stand before Him one day.
(3) Don’t Run From God. Sin and shame often cause people to run from God, rather than to Him and His forgiveness.
(a) Adam and Eve ran from God in the garden (Genesis 3:8-10)
(b) David ran from God until he was confronted by the prophet Nathan and repented (Ps. 51).
(c) During the tribulation, people’s hearts will be so hardened against God that they will run from rather than to Him (Revelation 6:12-17).
John says "I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”“ (Revelation 6:12-17, NASB95)
(d) Men begged Jesus to leave their city after casting out demons from two men (Matthew 8:28-31)
(e) Men of Nazareth wanted to throw Jesus off a cliff (Luke 4:29)
5. In Gath (5:9).
a) The citizens there also suffer from an outbreak of tumors.
(1) The hand of the LORD was against the city with a very great destruction: The city of Gath didn’t do any better than Ashdod. More of the destructive and painful tumors broke out on them.
6. In Ekron (5:10-12)
a) Tumors and great fear begin to sweep through Ekron (v.10).
(1) They sent the ark of God to Ekron (v.10): The Ark of the Covenant is now, among the Philistines, a “hot potato,” burning every city where it stays. The Ekronites were not happy see the ark (“They have brought the ark of the God of Israel to us, to kill us and our people!”), but they still wouldn’t submit to the LORD God of Israel.
(2) God is now making a point with the people of the world of unbelievers “Repent”. Why do we not see anyone repenting but only rejecting God? The presence of God comes in contact with them and they say we don’t want this send it away. They don’t understand what God is trying to do. They are running from the One who wants to help them.
(3) What is God trying to do?
(a) Ashdod—Hebrew means “inclination”; meaning “a bent or tilt” these are a bent people and God is trying to straighten them.
(b) Gath—Hebrew means “press” the philistine Goliath was from the land of Gath. These people were under pressure & God’s trying to release them but they still reject Him.
(c) Ekron—Hebrew means “barrenness” these people are empty.
(4) Now here is the power and presence of God come into their camp and they say, “hey we don’t mind being bent we want to stay bent, we don’t mind being pressured it o.k. we might be barren but we don’t mind being empty. Then each of them shove God away & what happens? Judgment
(5) Many will shove God away in their lives, but will stand before him in that final day of judgment (Revelation20:11-15).
b) Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go back to its own place (v.11):
(1) The Philistines, if they would have repented and turned towards the LORD, could have benefited from the ark. Instead, it became a curse and a judgment to them.
Jesus said "Whoever falls on that stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.”" (Luke 20:18, NKJV)
The same is true of the presence of God among us. Paul wrote, For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. (2 Corinthians 2:15-16)