The Ark of the Covenant(part 2)

As we learned in part 1, the Ark of the Covenant was central to the Israelite’s worship of God and played a key role in their history. In our modern times, much mystery and legend has surrounded the Ark.
In Chapter 3 of the Old Testament book of Joshua, we learn that as the priests were carrying the Ark upon entering the Promised Land, the waters of the Jordan River miraculously stopped, reminiscent of the Israelites Red Sea experience leaving Egypt. Later in Joshua, we read about the Ark being carried ahead of the Israelites at the battle against Jericho.
For a time, the Ark is kept at the tabernacle in Shiloh, until God allows it to be captured by the Philistines because the Israelites were unfaithful to the Lord. Upon placing the Ark in the temple of their god Dagon, the Philistines discover the Dagon idol fallen prostrate before the Ark in a miraculous act of reverence, ultimately leading to the Philistines sending the Ark back to the Israelites.
God’s presence above the Ark renders it so sacred that a well-intentioned Uzzah is struck dead at once upon touching it in an attempt from preventing it from falling off the cart to the ground. David gets angry at God for killing Uzzah.
Why did the Lord strike down Uzzah? Wasn’t Uzzah just trying to do the right thing? Good questions.
The underlying lesson taught here is that in God’s economy, it’s not only what we do that is important, but how we go about doing it that matters as well. David sought to bring the Ark into his new capital city because it symbolized God’s presence. David wasn’t superstitious. He didn’t view the Ark as some type of automatic blessing dispenser. He didn’t see it as a spiritual ATM. He saw it as a key component of Israel’s worship the Lord. He wanted the Israelites to understand, as he did, that as a symbolic representation of God, the Ark should serve as the central focus of national life. Unfortunately, as reverent as David may have been regarding the Ark, he failed to move the Ark according to the specifications of Mosaic Law. Priests were to carry the Ark on poles, not a cart. Absolutely no one was allowed to touch it (Exodus 25:14, Numbers 4:1-20). That’s where our buddy Uzzah comes in. Not only were he and his brother Ahio moving the Ark in an irreverent manner, when he reached out to stabilize it, Uzzah touched it. Because of Uzzah’s transgression, God struck Uzzah dead on the spot. Even when our motives are well intended, coming close to doing God’s will doesn’t count. As the old saying goes, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.
David had failed to ensure that the regulations that the Lord had laid down to safeguard respect for His holiness. Like is so often true for us when we fall short of God’s standards, David got angry at the Lord. David was outraged. David was also afraid. He left the Ark in Obed-edom, located in Gath-rimmon in Dan.
After a 3 month layover at Obed-edom’s house, David determines to bring the Ark into Jerusalem. David became convinced to do so after he witnessed the blessings that God poured out on Obed-edom and his home.
Being sure to follow God’s prescribed methods of transporting the Ark, David brings the Ark into Jerusalem.
Over time, David grows disturbed that the Ark is stored in a tent, whereas David himself lives in a house built of cedar. Eventually, Solomon builds the temple into which the Ark is finally placed until the destruction of the Temple in 586 B.C, during the Babylon raids and the Israelites exile.
What happened to the Ark after the Israelites exile or where it may be hiding is a mystery that has spawned a number of stories, including movies like “Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark”.
In the Bible, Revelation 11:19 indicates that as believers destined for Heaven, we will possibly see the Ark of the Covenant again someday.
What we believe about God informs what we are to do. What God has revealed to us about Him through His word informs us about how to do it. Our Lord is a holy God. It is important that we don’t take His holiness lightly.

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