We are “Walking Arks of the Covenant.”
That is what the speaker had said. It’ stayed with me all these years. She was referring to those of us who have been baptized into Christ and filled with His Spirit.
The Ark of the Covenant contained three items: a golden pot of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the two stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments were written.
The Ark represented God’s presence and was the place where God chose for His glory to dwell in the Holy of Holies in the tent in the wilderness, and eventually in the temple in Jerusalem.
Our bodies are now the temple of God. 1 Corinthians 6:19
We are priests. 1 Peter 2:9
His Spirit lives in us. 2 Corinthians 1:22
The Ark was greatly revered, and feared. Israel did not want to go anywhere without it. Exodus 33:15
But at the time of Eli, the priest, the priesthood had become perverted. Eli’s sons were “wicked men that had no regard for the Lord” because they had scorned the sacrifice that God had required. 1 Samuel 2:12
And “their sin was very great in the Lord’s sight.” 1 Samuel 2:17. They had been even having sex with women who served at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.
Because of this, the Lord sent the Philistines to wage war on Israel. The priests and Eli were all killed, and the Ark of the Covenant was taken by the Philistines and carried into Dagon’s temple, and set beside their idol, Dagon.
The next day, after waking up, the Philistines found Dagon had fallen. They stood their god back up [Isn’t that funny? Their “god” needed human power to stand. How blind we can be . . . ] The following morning, not only had Dagon fallen, but his head and hands had broken off and were lying on the threshold. Only his body remained.
This sent the Philistines into a panic realizing what power the Ark of God had and after having a meeting decided to move it to Gath. “But after they moved it, the Lord’s hand was against that city throwing it into a great panic. He afflicted the people of the city, both young an old with an outbreak of tumors. So they sent the ark of God to Ekron. 1 Samuel 5:8-10
Ekron cried out in fear. Death, fear, panic and tumors had come upon Philistine and they were desperate to get rid of God’s presence. The priests and diviners of Philistine were called and they devised a plan to move the ark out [you can read about it in 1 Samuel 6, a fascinating read!]
For 20 years the ark rested in Abinadab’s house in Kiriath Jearim under the guard of Eleazar, Abinidab’s son who had been consecrated for the task.
Then, the people of God repented and tore down their idols, sacrificed to the Lord and fasted. Samuel cried out for the Lord on their behalf and the Lord answered him. 1 Samuel 7:9 The Ark returned and God protected Israel once again.
Perhaps you have been feeling like I was this morning, a weight of heaviness over what is happening in our culture, and you remember that the Lord said, “Woe to those who call evil good and call good evil.” And its happening before our eyes. We see that people are exchanging the truth of God for lies. . . and we know, and likely fear . . .what might be ahead for us, and especially our children who will remain loyal to God.
As I read the story in 1 Samuel this morning, the Lord encouraged me in four ways that I want to pass on to you today:
1. That His presence with His faithful people is a majority; His power is within us and He will never leave or forsake us.
2. We might feel fear for what might lie ahead in this life, but God can turn things around when His people humble themselves, pray, and repent.
3. Suffering for the Christian is when Jesus is the nearest, and we reap great eternal benefits.
4. The worst thing that can happen to us is death, but that is the best thing for us who are redeemed because we are ushered immediately into the presence of Jesus.
And since we are instructed to fix our eyes on eternity because that is already where we live, this message from our worship service last Sunday: A Glimpse of Heaven will encourage you tremendously. “It’s all worth it because He is worthy”
This post about the reality of the joy we will have in Heaven: Two Minutes After You Die
We might want to avoid suffering, but it is valuable for the Christian. We can trust that our Good God would only allow good things to come in our lives. Suffering Gives Us Authority.
And we can say with confidence, “Lord, I will Trust In You”