An almost amusing story, were it not for what happened to the Philistines. After capturing the ark of the covenant, they brought it into the temple of their god Dagon. The next day, the idol of Dagon was on the ground face down before the ark of the Lord. They set him up again, and the next day, not only was it face down before the ark, but its head and hands were broken off. Then everyone started getting tumors. They moved it to another Philistine city, and then another, but everywhere it went, the tumors and death followed.
Eventually, the rulers went to their priests and diviners for advice, and basically all they could say was, “Don’t be like Pharaoh. Send it back to the Israelites before we are destroyed like the Egyptians were.
What is the point? I think it’s found in the book of Isaiah, where God says,
By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. (Isaiah 45:23)
The apostle Paul then applies these words to Jesus in the New Testament when he writes,
9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)
In other words, sooner or later, everyone will bow before God and submit to him. Sooner or later, everyone will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. The only question is, what will our attitude be when we do so? Will we do so with eyes full of love and wonder for the Savior who redeemed us? Or will we do it with fists and teeth clenched, words pulled out of our mouths with hearts that refuse to yield to him even then?
I don’t say these things to threaten or scare anyone. It is God’s desire that all be saved. It’s his desire that you come to know him and his love in a personal way, and that you would follow him in response to that love. But he will not force anyone to follow him. You do not have to follow Christ if you do not wish to. But you do need to know that ultimately, you will bow down, and you will confess that he is Lord whether you want to or not.
What will be your attitude when that day comes?