Israel did not take the time to listen to God. Instead, they tried to devise their own plan to fight the Philistines and assumed God would join them. Instead, they lost thirty thousand soldiers, their High Priests, and the Ark of the Covenant. Overall, this was a bad day. They did not see God’s perspective until it was too late. That’s because they did not ask God. More than that, they did not listen.
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. (1 Samuel 5:1-2 NIV)
Even when we do not listen, the LORD speaks to us. God speaks to us in ways that we can understand. To the Israelites, God sent prophets that they would hear and trust. To non-Israelites, like the Philistines, God would often use other methods to get their attention.
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! They took Dagon and put him back in his place. (1 Samuel 5:3 NIV)
To the Philistines, Dagon was a god. The LORD started to show them that Dagon was not a god at all. It was just a statue. This statue bowed down to the one true God. The Philistines did not listen.
But the following morning when they rose, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the LORD! His head and hands had been broken off and were lying on the threshold; only his body remained. (1 Samuel 5:4 NIV)
Even though they did not listen, the LORD did not give up on them. He showed them a second time that Dagon was not a god. This time, the head and hands of the statue were broken off. Only the LORD is God. All other “gods” are false. I love knowing that God does not give up on us, even when we don’t see His perspective right away. Did the Philistines finally see?
That is why to this day neither the priests of Dagon nor any others who enter Dagon's temple at Ashdod step on the threshold. (1 Samuel 5:5 NIV)
No. Rather than acknowledging YHWH (the LORD) as the only true God, they chose to make the threshold, where Dagon’s head and hands landed, sacred. They did not listen to God. They did not gain the LORD’s perspective.
How about you? Does the LORD try to get your attention? Do you listen? Do you see God’s perspective?