READ EXODUS 25
God has set out to give Moses the exact specifications for His tabernacle. He is giving Moses the blueprints for His dwelling place, and in doing so, He is displaying His holy character.
The first piece of “furniture” in the tabernacle that God gives specifications for is the Ark of the Covenant. Read the description of the Ark of the Covenant in 25:10-16. What stands out to you? What do you envision this looked like?
Where would the Ark of the Covenant sit in the tabernacle?
Why do you think this is significant?
God is starting with the Ark of the Covenant, namely, because it is the most important piece of the tabernacle construction. This is the very place where God would descend to dwell with His people, and, God being holy, the Ark of the Covenant would sit in the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle.
Herein lie two very important lessons for you and me. First, we are reminded that God’s holiness and His glory cannot be taken lightly. God’s specific measurements and instructions for the Ark of the Covenant are the result of His protective covering for HIs people. They are not able to approach His holiness without boundaries and restraint, and so God is incredibly precise in His directions on what the Ark of the Covenant should look like.
In this vein of thought, why do you think purified gold was to cover the entire Ark? Why do you think the Ark was to sit on four gold feet?
The nation of Israel was to cover the Ark of the Covenant with purified gold – a very difficult, labor-intensive process for a wandering nation in the wilderness with limited resources. The underlying reality is that the purified gold can touch the earth, but the presence of God is too holy to do so. In our world, we value gold and wealth in a way that makes us forget that God is worth so, so much more. And God reminds His people of this in designing the Ark of the Covenant to sit on gold feet, so that His place of dwelling doesn’t touch the ground.
The second very important lesson for you and me is this: God is starting with the Ark of the Covenant because He is starting His design from the inside out. He is designing the entire tabernacle around His holiness and glory. Other things – the courtyard and altar – will come later. But God, unlike our human tendency, is starting from the place of greatest holiness and working out from there.
Do any of the commands concerning the Ark of the Covenant surprise you?
Almost looking like an insignificant command, we read that the poles of the Ark are not to leave their rings. While, as we will see, other items had carrying poles, the Ark of the Covenant is the only one that comes with the command to leave the poles always in their carrying rings.
Why do you think this is? What is significant about it?
Remind yourself: What was in the Ark of the Covenant?
Since the Ark of the Covenant carried just that – God’s covenant with His people – the Ark needed to be mobile. The people have not yet arrived in the land of promise. They will be traveling often and only God knows for how long. The Ark also could not be touched because it was, by God’s presence, holy. So, how would Israel move the Ark if they couldn’t touch it? With the designated poles. The consequence for touching the Ark itself was death, and so God ordered them to have the Ark ever-mobile, always able to travel with them.
How is this command to always leave the poles in the rings a merciful command of God?
How can you in your day-to-day life remember God’s holiness?
How do these commands point you to the Gospel?
PRAY & REFLECT
Praise God for His holiness. Ask Him to remind you consistently that He is holy. Ask Him to drive deep into your spirit the desire to delight in His holiness. Thank Him for His merciful commands that help us recognize His holiness.