Bread – Dagon

June 22, 2009


Readings for Monday, June 22
    from the Book of Common Prayer:
    1 Sam. 5:1-12; Acts 5:12-26; Luke 21:29-36
    Psalms 89
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We (people) have an incredible ability to look the truth in the face and then proceed with our lives as if nothing has happened.  When we have our blinders on, we have no power of observation, no discernment, no recognition.  We may see or hear the truth, we may even repeat it, but nothing penetrates to our awareness, much less our behavior.  I am not sure that psychology or sociology have ever been able to explain our denseness.  Our Bible explains it somewhat by describing our condition as death.  We are dead to the truth and we are dead to the things of God until we are awakened and empowered by God into life.

But even though our Bible explains our denseness, to me it is still an interesting observation – that I can observe something for a long time without seeing it, that I can hear something for a long time without focusing on it and really listening to it, and that I can be confronted with it for a long time without ever dealing with it.

Do you find yourself doing the same things?  I’ll bet you do.

In our Old Testament reading today, it is reported that the Philistines have taken the Ark of the Covenant and placed it in the sanctuary of their god – Dagon.  1 Sam. 5:1.  The next day, the Ark was where they had left it, but Dagon had fallen over.  The people put Dagon back in its place and, the next day, the Ark remained where it had been left and Dagon had fallen over, broken into pieces.  The people glued Dagon back together (presumably) and then got rid of the Ark.

Now the irony of this scene is that the people see the truth – they know that God has done these things to them and has destroyed their god – but it does not affect them at all.  Rather than recognize their need to deal with God in the way that God demands, they chose instead to get rid of the thing causing the trouble and restore their prior lives, the lives they had before being confronted with the truth.  They were blind going into the encounter with the Ark and, even though God forced them to see the futility of their beliefs in their own gods, systems, philosophies, beliefs, programs, and procedures, they remained blind.

In a different vein but with the same message, in Luke Jesus warns us today not to be blind to the signs around us – such that when the Son of God returns in glory, we are distracted by "dissipation, drunkeness, and the anxieties of life." Luke 21:34

Has God entered your life and smashed your Dagon?  When He did that, did you put your Dagon back together and get rid of the person or circumstances trying to speak God’s truth into your life?  Is your temple occupied by God’s presence or by Dagon’s?

Is God doing a work in your life, your family, your ministry, your job?  What has been your response?  To turn a blind eye and fix up Dagon or stare clearly into the power and the truth which is before you?  Will you send God away to go "terrorize" someone else or will you throw your Dagon into the trash where it belongs?

In our reading today, the Philistines throw out God and keep Dagon.  The choice was theirs and it is ours.

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Lord, help us with your Holy Spirit to cast out the Dagons in our lives.  Help us to wisely answer the question, "Will you really lay down your life for Me?"  Lord, help us to love your Word, incarnate in Jesus Christ and written in Scripture, and to solely rely upon them as our source of information about how we should live.  Help us Lord to come to You, and once having come to You to become closer to You and to preach the Gospel to all people in all circumstances, in and out of season, as You have commanded.  Help us know that You are God and we are not.  Assist us Lord through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to be willing and obedient servants.  It is only through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ that we are empowered to even make this prayer.  And so we thank You and praise You!  Amen.
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