Have you ever seen something so shocking that it marked you for life?
In First Samuel 5, the Philistines were drunk on their victory over the Israelites. Not only had they killed thousands of enemy soldiers and left the rest running for their lives, they had captured the most important symbol of the Israelite’s God- the Ark of the Covenant.
As a show of power, the Philistines stored the Ark in the temple of their god Dagon, then they closed the doors and jubilantly returned to their homes.
Early the next morning, when they opened the temple doors, the people were surprised to see that the statue of Dagon had fallen face first in front of the Ark. Perhaps a little perplexed at how that happened, the people stood the statue back up and went on their way.
The next day the people opened the doors to their temple to find that not only was the statue again face down in front of the Ark, this time, his head and both of his arms had been broken off.
Almighty God was noticeably trying to get their attention.
And do you know what? It worked! The Bible records that the people were so impressed by the obvious display of Divine superiority of Israel’s God over their own that, “Still today, the priests of Dagon and everyone who enters the temple of Dagon in Ashdod do not step on Dagon’s threshold.” (1 Sam 5:5)
The Philistines had heard from God, were impressed at God’s power and even changed the way that they walked into the temple of their god for the rest of their lives, but tragically, they didn’t put away their idol worship and begin worshiping the One True God.
Isn’t that tragic?
This Easter Sunday, our churches will be swell with people. It may be the only time that many of them hear the Word of God, and the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection is surely impressive. What an opportunity! Let’s pray that our neighbors do not leave our doors unchanged, like the Philistines. Let’s pray that this Easter, the people that we welcome into our fellowships will leave radically changed by the One True God.