August 15 I Wednesday
“There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the covenant law, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites.”
Part of the revelation God gave Moses on Mount Sinai included instructions on how to build the tabernacle. He told Moses what size to make the tent, what materials to use, and the furnishings to fill it with. The most important piece was the Ark of the Covenant, kept in the Most Holy Place at the back of the tabernacle. The ark was a rectangular box almost four feet long, two and a quarter feet wide, and the same in height. It was made of acacia wood, overlaid with pure gold both inside and out. On top was a lid, translated as the “mercy seat” or the “atonement cover,” with attached golden cherubim forming an arc above the cover with their wings.
What made the Ark of the Covenant so special was that this was where God chose to meet with His people. Within the tabernacle, the mercy seat was essentially God’s throne from which He would speak to Moses and the Israelites. Occasionally, the ark was taken from
the tabernacle, and marvelous things occurred wherever it was carried.
After 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, the Israelites crossed the Jordan River to enter Canaan. The Jordan was in flood at the time, but Scripture tells us, “...as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing” (Joshua 3:15-16). Once all the Israelites had crossed on dry ground, Israel’s next big obstacle was Jericho. God commanded the people to walk around the city once each day for six days and seven times on the seventh day, carrying the ark with them as they went. On their very last circuit of the city, Joshua commanded that the people shout when the priests blew their trumpets. This they did, the walls collapsed and the Israelites were able to capture Jericho.
Carrying the ark was a crucial part of these proceedings, but it was not the ark that stopped the waters or brought the walls down. The ark was not a magic box. God alone was responsible for these miracles; the ark was merely a symbol of His presence among His people and His power on their behalf. When the ark was lost centuries later, God was not lost with it. He remained committed to His people and at work among them, but after Christ, the symbol was replaced with reality. There is no more need for arks or tabernacles because God now goes with His people by living in them, directly expressing His strength, power and wisdom through the indwelling presence of His Spirit.
Prayer: Father God, I am deeply humbled that You would choose to live in me and be at work for my good. Thank You for always going with Your people.