1 Samuel 5

Talks for Growing Christians

God Makes His Presence and Power Known

1 Samuel 5

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Lesson Number 6

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. God will not be reduced to a “small g” god.
  2. God will not be appeased like a “small g” god.

Practical Application

  1. Don’t prop up your idols.


  1. Review the background events of this chapter.
  2. What were the five main cities of the Philistines?
  3. What did the Philistines do with the captured Ark?
  4. Who was Dagon?
  5. What happened to the image of Dagon and what was the Philistines’ response?


  1. In the previous chapter of 1 Samuel we saw Israel defeated and the Ark of God taken by the Philistines.
  2. Ashdod, Ashkelon, Ekron, Gath, and Gaza
  3. They put the Ark into the temple of their god, Dagon.
  4. He was the false fish god or fertility god of the Philistines. The image of Dagon was a torso of a man with the tail of a fish.
  5. During the night the image of Dagon fell over before the Ark of God. The Philistines propped Dagon up, but the next night it fell over again and was broken.


  1. Many people today try to be polytheists like the Philistines. While they might acknowledge the God of Israel and Jesus of Nazareth, He is just one of many gods they recognize. Why is this status not acceptable to God?
  2. The Philistines tried to move the Ark of the Covenant to a location that would appease the God of Israel. Discuss the truth that our God is not appeased like the pagan gods. Salvation is not attained by appeasement, but by propitiation.


  1. Idols are things that prevent us from making God #1 in our lives. God has ways of having our idols fall over before Him. Don’t prop up your idols.

Key Verses

  • “There was Dagon, fallen on its face to the earth before the ark of the LORD.” 1 Samuel 5:3
  • “Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go back to its own place.” 1 Samuel 5:11
  • “But the hand of the LORD was heavy on the people of Ashdod, and He ravaged them and struck them with tumors.” 1 Samuel 5:6

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