Monday, 22 July 2013

The Ark of the Lord

Scripture: Genesis 6 v 14; Exodus 2 v 3; Exodus 24 v 12 - 18, Ex 25 v 1 -16; 1 Samuel 5; Matthew 27 v 50-51. 

The first Ark was Noah's amazing vessel that was built hundreds of miles from any coast in the middle of a desert to the great jeers of all that knew about it. When we - like Noah - are called to build something for Jesus that no-one else comprehends, expect the mockers and scoffers to show up. Satan wants to undermine the faith of believers and uses his ignorant people to voice their opinions.

They jeered until God shut Noah, his family and pairs of all creatures into the Ark and the rain bucketed down and great tsunamis swept over the Earth. They begged Noah to open the Ark but he could not as God Himself had sealed it closed. The Ark is God's ultimate protection for His chosen people.

The second ark was the reed basket Moses' mother made to save his life after Pharoah commanded all male babies to be killed. Satan knew a Deliverer was coming and tried to remove him before he got started. That backfired when the very man who would lead Israel out of captivity was raised by Pharoah's daughter, who found the small ark, and baby within, on the banks of the river. Moses' mother was even brought to the palace to feed the baby.  

When the Jews fled from Egypt through the Red Sea and reached Mount Sinai in Arabia, Moses was called up to the top where the glory of God shone forth and given the ten commandments written in stone plus the plans to build a temporary tabernacle or tent and the design for the ark of the Covenant that would be kept in the Holy of Holies - the inner sanctum covered by a curtain of interwoven gold four inches thick.

Throughout the ages people have wanted to find the lost Ark of the Lord because the power it confers of complete protection makes them invincible in any battle, but maybe they should heed the words of this passage from 1 Samuel 5. 

The Philistines had captured the Ark of the Covenant and put it in Dagon's temple - Dagon is a false god. The next morning their idol was broken as it had fallen on his face; also bubonic plague had broken out in that city.  So they decided to send the Ark back to Israel via Gath but that city also contracted the plague. Next it was sent to the city of Ekron but they refused it as bad news travels fast.

Wherever the Ark went in the hands of enemies of Israel they were destroyed by the mighty power of God. The symbol of the priests of Dagon is the headgear of the open-mouthed fish as is worn by the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church! Food for thought!

The Ark represents Jesus Himself who now lives within you and who protects you just as fiercely as the Ark protected Israel, and scares your enemies away as long as you continue in holy righteous living. Jesus within you will destroy the idols in your life too and fill you with peace, healing and victory over your problems. The Ark now protects the invisible Body of Jesus Christ, in the true Church made without hands.  (Hebrews 9 v 11-12).

One of the great attributes of the Ark was that Israel could not be defeated by any nation while she had the Ark and was being obedient to God.

The same applies to us when Jesus is our Lord in more than name only. If we are following His plan for our lives then we can be secure in the knowledge that He is able to preserve us until that plan is completely fulfilled. We are as safe as Noah, Moses, and the Jews were who were our examples.

When Jesus died on the Cross, at that same moment the great golden curtain that covered the Holy of Holies and hid the Ark from view split from top to bottom - a message from God that His Mercy Seat was now accessible to all who would come in the name of His Son Jesus. 

Don't be fooled into making your own plans though and expect God to bless them. He only blesses what He initiates and He will see it through to its conclusion. Many people backslide through disappointment when their elaborate schemes disintegrate. Wait on the Lord to reveal His plans for your life. He will and He will see them through. 

Prayer: Heavenly Father Christians have been thought of as feeble and poor but we have Your power within us, which makes us victorious in all You give us to do.  Thank You for preserving us from all danger because of the power of the invisible Ark that covers us as we obey Your commands. Teach us to respect the power of Your Covenant with us and handle it wisely. In Jesus' name. Amen.