Dagon and the Ark – Gospel in Life

Dagon and the Ark

Tim Keller |  October 6, 1996

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  • Idolatry
1 Samuel 5:14
RS 272-04


We’re looking at places in the Bible in which someone, or in this case something, got near to the presence of God.

Whenever a person gets into the presence of God, there’s usually some kind of physical manifestation. In other words, God connects his presence to something visible, something tangible. There’s only one object, however, in all the history of the Bible, that God routinely attached his presence to, and that was the ark of the covenant.

Let’s look at what the ark is and what happens in this incident. Then we’ll look at what it teaches us about getting close to God. It shows us that 1) the presence of God is never permanently connected to any one object or method, but 2) his presence is always attached to several principles

1 Samuel 5:1–4

Think about getting to know God in a real, personal way. Imagine being able to feel His presence in your life. The ark of the covenant is an old symbol of God being with us, but we must remember that God isn’t something we can touch or see. He’s more than that.

1. God wants us to be all in

God wants everything from us, our total dedication. The ark of the covenant, which held God’s Law, shows us this. Some people tried to use the ark for their own good without really giving themselves to God. But that’s not what God wants. He’s not tied to any object, but He is always tied to the idea of us giving Him our whole hearts.

2. Being close to God means giving up our idols

If we want to get closer to God, we need to let go of the things we put above Him. These “idols” could be anything from our jobs to our achievements. They’re not bad on their own, but they can become a problem when we value them more than God. Realizing this and correcting it helps us understand our true value and make choices based on God’s wisdom, not our idols’.

3. God’s presence is tied to mercy

The ark of the covenant shows us a special relationship with God. His glory was shown between the angel figures on the mercy seat, a place of sacrifice. In the New Testament, Jesus shows us God’s glory as the true ark. One day, we’ll see a new heaven and earth like the Holy of Holies, where Jesus’ presence means we don’t need a physical temple. We’ll be able to feel God’s closeness all the time.



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