1Samuel 5 tells of the ark of God being held by the Philistines in Ashdod. The ark was placed in the house of Dagon right beside the idol. In the morning , they found Dagon lying on its face while the ark remained in place. They would restore Dagon to its upright position only to find it back on its face the next day. This little myth like story actually puts forth a hard and fast law in the Kingdom of God; in His presence, idols will fall.
This phenomena is as consistent as the repelling of magnets when placed like pole to like pole.
An idol is a being, a thing, or an idea that assumes positions in a child of God's heart that belongs to God. The toppling of idols is really the key to chastisement (or making chaste; though sharing a common root, the two words have lost their ancient commonality. I will restore it here and use chastening as a verb meaning to cause one to give up other "lovers" rather than just punishing for whatever reason). An idol can be relatively benign; the Lord chided me one day for my frequency of looking forward to meals. While benign, food or TV can remain our delight rather than God. He wants to be our delight, our joy, and cause for high spirits as the psalmist writes. A less benign and very difficult idol is money. We look to it for security, for joy, for health , and to a great degree, a substitute for faith in God. Jesus declared that it's impossible to serve both God and Mammon, using a proper name for money thus labeling it a God or idol. Very often, money to a woman is the means of satisfying a need for " stimulation" by buying goodies that please and delight her, or securing peace by buying solutions to problems. For a man, money secures his ticket to freedom; accumulate enough money and he'll no longer have to answer to a boss, or to customers or coworkers. Enough money and he's better than the next guy.
Beyond money there are hobbies, friends, even family. Jesus made it clear that unless a man ( or woman) loves Him more than anything or anybody, that person is not fit for the Kingdom.
In the book of Hebrews, chapter 12, verses 5- 11, we are admonished that if we are the sons and daughters of God, then as a benefit of His love we will be corrected, disciplined, and chastised. He will enact measures to purify our attitude towards Him; He alone should instruct and command us. When we are unduly influenced by other voices, He might need to raise His a little. In my experience, He does this by depriving you of communion with your idol; if you crave financial security- a bigger cash flow than you have, greater assets than you have, or a bigger pile of money than you have- He might deprive you of that which you do have. It is not to harass or torture you, it is to cause you to quit relying on piddly ol' Mammon and rely on the eternal God, who promises you that He will not fail you materially (Heb 13:5 ). If the good opinion of others is an idol, He might deprive you of that. The deprivation of whatever you idolize is a painful thing. Dieting is a wonderful example. Forgoing those foods that bring you satisfaction and comfort is difficult! The analogy is imperfect, though, because you choose or decide to go on a diet; idol toppling proceeds without your consent! But the reason it proceeds is because of the things you have done to allow God to inhabit your being. Remember; Dagon didn't fall until the ark was brought into his abode!
I believe this is a time in which God is preparing His true followers. Idol toppling is a most unpleasant process and the casual follower will not endure it. He or she will leave the church or remove themselves from sound spiritual leadership citing imperfections ( he's mixed up with that Cushite woman) or bail with that tried and true excuse, " it's just a bunch of hypocrites at that church!" Stay the course, Saints! He wants us to fully trust and desire Him and Him alone and He is worthy of it! Theo