Tag: Ark of the Covenant

Respecting God’s Presence!

Scripture reading for March 16: 1st Samuel 4-7

I love the presence of the Lord.  I almost always experience tears or feel all my senses are alive and awake. I am often speechless–not wanting to violate His holiness but wanting to hear His voice. Although God’s presence was present with the Israelites in the Ark of the Covenant, they sought to use the Ark as an object instead of honoring God’s presence.  

1 Samuel 4:3 “And when the people came to the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord here from Shiloh, that it may come among us and save us from the power of our enemies.”

The Israelites had just lost four thousand men in battle and were asking why the Lord had allowed the defeat. The elders suggested bringing the Ark to lead them in battle. When the Ark was brought into the camp by Hophni and Phinehas, Eli’s two wicked sons, the camp erupted in shouting!  The enemy heard the commotion, and it ignited a desire to fight extra hard!  The Philistines whipped the Israelites and 30,000 more Israelites died in the ensuing battle!  Hophni and Phinehas were killed and the Ark of God was captured!  Eli died at this news and his daughter-in-law died in childbirth! 

God had warned Eli, Hophni, and Phinehas about their wickedness and about His coming judgment! (1st Samuel 2:16-22) Treating God’s Presence as something to be used or manipulated for advantage is not allowed.  Disregarding prophetic warning leads to disaster. Hophni and Phinehas had been dishonoring God, their father, and the nation by eating the fat portion belonging to God!  They had been having sex with the women who served at the temple.  But God will not be mocked!  (Galatians 6:7) Living in rebellion to God as a leader is never wise.  

What caused these Israelites to drift into a form of religion instead of a true relationship? Have you ever tried to use God or symbols of faith instead of walking in relationship? Are you filled with God’s Holy Spirit, the Father’s personal present of His presence?

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The Tabernacle–a place to connect with God!

Scripture reading for January 28th: Exodus 25-27

God gave Moses specific instructions as to how His tabernacle was to be constructed.  He told him numbers, lengths, weights and the type of materials for each part.  God left nothing to chance when it came to His first dwelling with His people on earth.  It was a mobile dwelling because God was moving with the Israelites and leading them as they journeyed. Four times in our reading today God re-emphasized the need to make everything after the pattern shown on the mountain.  (Exodus 25:9,40; 26:30; 27:9)  (He knew that men need clear instructions–they won’t ask!)

God’s dwelling place was a special representation of heavenly reality.  The ark was a chest of acacia wood about 4 feet long,   coated with pure gold.  Two gold cherubim were to be beaten out for each end.  God’s glory would reside between these cherubim.  The box was to have two rings on each side where poles of acacia wood would be used to transport it.  It was to be carried by priests who were consecrated for this job.  The tablets of Testimony, the ten commands, were to be placed inside of this box.  Later a jar of manna was placed there as well as Aaron’s rod that had budded and sprouted in God’s presence.  (Hebrews 9:1-5)

The ark of the Covenant reminds believers today of Jesus Christ, God dwelling with us.  John 1:14-15 tells us that Jesus came and “pitched his tent” (tabernacled) among us.  We beheld His glory!  Jesus kept the law of God, the tablets of Testimony.  He was the only man who has ever lived who fully obeyed the Law and was without sin. (Hebrews 4:15-16) He was the living bread (manna) come down from heaven, that if any man eat of this bread, he would never die!  (John 6:47-50)  He was the one chosen by God to have all authority in heaven and on earth! (Aaron’s rod!) (Matthew 28:18)  He was worshiped by angels at his birth, and now is in the presence of holy angels in heaven. (Revelation 4:12) This awesome object lesson opens our understanding of heavenly reality!   Thank God for this ancient object lesson!

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The shadow of Reality!

Scripture reading for November 8th: Hebrews 9:1-10

The first covenant had an earthly tabernacle designed according to the pattern that Moses had received from God on the mountain.  This tabernacle had two rooms.  The outer room had a lamp stand, a table with twelve loaves of bread.  This room was called the Holy Place and the priests would go in there regularly to keep the lamps burning, change the loaves of bread.  The second room, the Most Holy Place, was behind the curtain and it contained the Ark of the Covenant made of pure gold overlay and guarded by two golden cherubim with wings outstretched.  The ark contained the tablets of stone with the ten commandments on them, a jar of manna from the Israelites wilderness journey, and Aaron’s rod that budded and produced fruit.  In front of this Ark was a small golden altar of incense.  (Hebrews 9:1-5)

The writer of Hebrews did not want to discuss the articles he had just listed.  As we think about the Ark and its contents, we are reminded of Jesus Christ.  The lid of the Ark was called the ‘mercy seat’ where the glory of God dwelt.  This ark was made of common Acacia wood, overlain with gold.  Jesus had the appearance of a normal human, but was really the royal Son of God who was King of Kings.  He was the One who came to fulfill the law written on the tablets of stone, perfectly obeying the Father.  He was going to give His own body as the true ‘bread from heaven’ as an offering for sin.  His body would be dead and in a grave but God the Father would resurrect Him as His chosen authority to be ruler and High Priest forever!  Jesus would offer His sinless blood on the real Mercy Seat in heaven once, for all!

The priests of Israel could enter the first room to minister daily, but only the High Priest could enter the Most Holy Place once a year on the Day of Atonement.  He must bring sacrifices for his sins and for those committed in ignorance by the people.  As Jesus breathed His last breath, the curtain blocking the Most Holy Place to ripped apart!  Now reality is ours in the new covenant!  We have access to the Most Holy Place through the torn body and blood of Jesus !

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God is Good! His Love endures forever!

Scripture reading for April 23rd: 2nd Chronicles 1-5

Two great truths about God are voiced in this simple song that was sung when the priests and Solomon moved the Ark of the Covenant into the completed temple of the Lord.  These truths are so simple and obvious that one would think everyone should know them and had experienced them but Satan is a liar!  He is always questioning God’s goodness and His enduring love!

The first truth is that God is good!  God is good in all his ways and character.  His goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our lives.  (Psalm 23:6)  He is good in his creation through which He has provided for all creatures food and drink to sustain them.  Everything we eat ultimately comes from His hands.  He is good to both the evil and the good.  He shows mercy by his goodness in sending rain and bringing forth crops and food for all, no matter how they might treat Him!  God is good in His character as well.  He is pure and holy and righteous in every way. (Revelation 15:3-4)   His perfection and holiness causes the hosts of heaven to adore Him, crying: “Holy, Holy, Holy!”  ( Revelation 4:8)  Ultimately all nations will come and worship Him for his goodness, justice and truth!

The second truth declared by those who moved the Ark into the Temple was that God’s love endures forever.  God is love.  (1st John 4:16)  His nature is good because He is love that is eternal.  God is from everlasting to everlasting!  (Psalm 90:2)  He pours out His love on those He has made in His image and likeness!  “God so loved the world” (John 3:16) is one of the most quoted verses of the Bible.  God’s love moved Him to send His only Son, Jesus Christ, to the earth to seek out lost men and save them. (Luke 19:10)  His love heals the sick, cleanses the defiled, and restores broken lives to trophies of love!

Today, try singing this simple song as you go through your day.  Look for all the ways that God is good to you and thank Him as you are reminded of His goodness!  Tell Him that you love Him today and appreciate his eternal love!  As you do, remember that you now bear His presence and glory as a living stone in his temple!  You join Solomon and the hosts of heaven as they worship eternally!

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