Sacred signs are not things that God is tied to or that man can trust to for blessing.
His presence may be a savour of life unto life or of death unto death.
I Samuel 1
1 And the Philistines took the ark of God, and brought it from Eben-ezer unto Ashdod.
2 When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon.
3 ¶ And when they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth before the ark of the LORD. And they took Dagon, and set him in his place again.
4 And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off upon the threshold; only the stump of Dagon was left to him.
5 Therefore neither the priests of Dagon, nor any that come into Dagon’s house, tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod unto this day.
6 But the hand of the LORD was heavy upon them of Ashdod, and he destroyed them, and smote them with emerods, even Ashdod and the coasts thereof.
7 And when the men of Ashdod saw that it was so, they said, The ark of the God of Israel shall not abide with us: for his hand is sore upon us, and upon Dagon our god.
8 They sent therefore and gathered all the lords of the Philistines unto them, and said, What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel? And they answered, Let the ark of the God of Israel be carried about unto Gath. And they carried the ark of the God of Israel about thither.
9 And it was so, that, after they had carried it about, the hand of the LORD was against the city with a very great destruction: and he smote the men of the city, both small and great, and they had emerods in their secret parts.
10 ¶ Therefore they sent the ark of God to Ekron. And it came to pass, as the ark of God came to Ekron, that the Ekronites cried out, saying, They have brought about the ark of the God of Israel to us, to slay us and our people.
11 So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go again to his own place, that it slay us not, and our people: for there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there.
12 And the men that died not were smitten with the emerods: and the cry of the city went up to heaven.
I Samuel 1 – J. Vernon McGee
1 Samuel 5:1-12 – The Captured Ark Brings Trouble
Dagon’s fall before the Ark of God has a sublime significance. In the evening, as the priests left the temple, the hideous image stood erect on its pedestal; in the morning, it was found prostrate before the sacred symbol. A repetition of the incident proved that it was no coincidence. So shall it be with all the idols of the heathen. They shall be utterly abolished, and the demons of whom they are the grotesque representations, together with the Devil whom they obey, shall be cast into the “bottomless pit,” Revelation 20:3. Thus has it been in many countries already. “A man shall cast his idols… to the moles and to the bats” (Isaiah 2:20).
Let this scene be reproduced in your heart! Let Jesus enter and the dearest idols you have known will yield before Him. The presence of Christ, which brings terror to his foes, will bring blessing and deliverance to those that love Him. The dying thief passes from his cross to Paradise, while Judas goes to his own place. Dare to admit the Savior into the secret place of your heart. He will utterly destroy the works of Satan, and will drive out the evil things that have too long infested it. —Through the Bible Day by Day
I Samuel 5:3—Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth before the Ark of the LORD.
The idols of the heathen represent demons who are their accepted gods, just as the Ark was the symbol of the presence of Jehovah. In the one case there was a material representation of the demon; but in the case of the Ark there was only a throne, the Mercy Seat; and no attempt was made to represent the appearance of the God of Israel. When placed in the Holy of Holies, the Shekinah shone between the cherubim; this alone spoke of the Divine Spirit who filled the apparently vacant throne. When the effigy of the fish god was confronted by the Sacred Ark, it was as though the demon spirit and the Divine Spirit had come into contact, with the inevitable result that the inferiority of the one ensured the crash of its effigy to the ground.
What a lesson this must have been to the Philistines similar to that given Pharaoh in the plagues of Egypt, and with the same object of leading them to see the superior greatness of Jehovah! How great the encouragement to Israel to know that God could defend his superiority! And how striking the prognostication for the future, when all the Dagons of the world shall be broken before the symbol of Divine power and love!
Bring the Ark of God into your life. Set it down in your heart, and forthwith the Dagons which have held sway for so long will one after another succumb. “The idols he shall utterly abolish” (Isaiah 2:18). Let Christ in that is the one need of the soul; and let Him take full possession of you. Then He will do his own work. Darkness cannot abide light; nor the defilement of the Augean stable the turning in of the water of the river.