But when the citizens of Ashdod went to see it the next morning,
Dagon had fallen with his face to the ground
in front of the Ark of the LORD!
So they set the idol up again.
1 Samuel 5:3 NLT
A couple years ago, one of my coaches asked me to determine for myself what my top five values were. It seemed like a simple, straightforward assignment when I first heard it, but the more I worked at it, I realized something…
The only kinds of values I was aware of were the ones I wish I had more of.
For example: I wrote down “Punctuality.” I value punctuality because it shows my loved ones that I value their time just as much as I value my own time. However, in reality, I usually arrive at events somewhere between five and ten minutes late. My choices in life reveal my true values. When I have to choose between getting somewhere on time or taking the five minutes to comfort my son when he falls getting into the van, I will choose the latter. The actual value I live by would be “parental responsibility” or possibly “child wellness”.
In my Bible reading this past week, I noticed something that made me think of applying the concepts of “active vs. passive” values to my faith-life.
I am in the book of 1 Samuel now, and I am reading about Israel’s final Judge – Samuel. Once again, the Israelites were stuck in a dangerous situation and had no way out. They had been at war with the Philistines and were losing horribly so they decided to bring the Ark of the Covenant (a Holy symbol of God’s presence among them) out to the battlefield. In that battle, not only was the Ark was taken by the Philistines but also, the Israelites lost another 30,000 soldiers.
Look what happens while the Ark is in foreign territory:
“They carried the Ark of God into the temple of Dagon and placed it beside the idol of Dagon. But when the citizens of Ashdod went to see it the next morning, Dagon had fallen with his face to the ground in front of the Ark of the LORD! So they set the idol up again.” (1 Samuel 5:2+3 nlt)
These verses made me laugh when I read them. The way this appears in my own mind’s eye is that even a man-made statue [made in honor of a false god] will bow before the true God. There is a passage in James that says something very similar:
You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. (James 2:19 nlt)
Even the demons believe. I want to do so much more than just acknowledge God with my words. I don’t want to just take my faith into each day as a “lucky rabbit’s foot,” either, like the Israelites did. So the question is are my daily choices confirming my faith or are they the tells that point to where my true values lie?
I want to know God. I want to know Him so well that when I get to Heaven, I can hug him like my oldest, closest friend and brother – not just give him an awkward side-hug or hi-five. So, if I really do value an intimate knowledge of God, I will be making choices that support that now.
CHALLENGE: Each morning, I will write down one word, ONE VALUE, that I will live out as a witness to God that day. I will see what His Word says about it, I will talk with Him about it in prayer, and I will live out that value in my actions with His help. Today’s will be GRACE.
Dear Lord, you are so amazing. How often do entire weeks go by that I don’t thank you for your grace, mercy, love and truth? I want to love you with my thoughts, words and deeds; I want my whole life to be a living offering to you. Please help me live with a faith that walks – not just talks. Amen.