Sunday, 9 October 2016

The Ark of the Lord

Scripture: Genesis 6 v 17-18:  "And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.  But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee."

Exodus 2 v 3: "And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laidit in the flags by the river's brink.  And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him. And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to washherself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river's side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it."

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, huge geysers spouted everywhere, 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 of the mountain, where the glory of God shone forth, and he was given the ten commandments written in stone.  He was also given 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. This tabernacle would eventually be exchanged for the Temple, built by Solomon, the house of God, and the place the Ark rested.

Throughout the ages people have wanted to find the lost Ark of the Lord, which went missing after the destruction of the Temple by the Roman, Titus, in AD 70, when those Jews left alive were scattered throughout the world.  Everyone wants the Ark 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 Babylonian 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 those who are born again, 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).

This means 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.