Devotional Thoughts for Today
“God with Us”
“They shall make an ark of acacia wood. Two cubits and a half shall be its length, a cubit and a half its breadth, and a cubit and a half its height. 11 You shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and outside shall you overlay it, and you shall make on it a molding of gold around it. 12 You shall cast four rings of gold for it and put them on its four feet, two rings on the one side of it, and two rings on the other side of it. 13 You shall make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold.14 And you shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark to carry the ark by them. 15 The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark; they shall not be taken from it. 16 And you shall put into the ark the testimony that I shall give you.
Throughout history, mankind has constructed many remarkable structures and buildings. Just think about the Great Pyramids in Egypt, the palace at Machu Picchu, the Parthenon, the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China. But, probably the most important structure that was ever built in history was the Ark of the Covenant. The very center of God’s presence was the ark, which was placed in the Holy of Holies – the innermost tent in the tabernacle.
Like the other articles in the temple, it was made from acacia wood (v. 10), which was a highly durable wood. The ark was covered with pure gold and it had been treated to remove any impurities (v. 11). Obviously, anything less could not be a fitting piece of furniture for the King of kings. Basically, the ark was a box fitted with poles so that it could be lifted onto the shoulders and carried without being touched directly. These poles were never removed (vv. 12–15), probably so that the ark could be carried off at a moment’s notice. The ark went everywhere that Israel went, even into battle (Josh. 6), and the ark’s constant availability to be picked up and carried off symbolized God’s willingness to go with His people wherever they might go. I like how one author, Daniel Hyde, describes the Ark:
“Here is such a mind-blowing idea about the God of the Bible that we have to pause for a moment. The eternal God who is not constrained by the existence of time, the infinite God who is not bound by the constraints of space, the transcendent God who dwells above and beyond all time and space, and the immense God who fills all time and space condescended to the weakness of His people and became manifest for their benefit in one locale. This God is not bound by time, but He bound Himself to the time-bound experience of His people. This God is not bound by space, but He bound Himself to this box. He is above all creational constraints, but He bound Himself to them. He is everywhere, but He was there.”
One lesson we can apply today is that God’s presence is with us now and forever. In John 17:17-18, Jesus reminds us that the Holy Spirit is in us which ensures us that his presence is always there and He will never leave us. This means we can have comfort amid pain, joy amid sorrow and assurance that God is with us even when it does not seem like it. Have confidence and draw near to Him!
Prayer: Lord, thank You for the story of the Ark of the Covenant because it reminds us that You are a God who is still dwelling in our midst. Thank You that we can come to You freely because of the blood of Jesus!
Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 7
Lunch Break Study
Read Psalm 23:1-5: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters. 3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Questions to Consider
- As believers, what do you think it means to not be ‘in want’?
- How should this truth free us from anxiety and worry? Why is this important to understand?
- How can these verses challenge and comfort you today?
- As a shepherd, He is the one who is our provider. He satisfies my needs. That is the place where God wants to bring us. He wants us to be independently dependent upon Him, to need Him alone.
- It also means that he provides for our practical needs such as food, job, possessions, etc. We should never worry or be in want but rather continually trust in Him. Even in the darkest moments of our lives, God’s goodness and mercy follow us (v.6), which ought to give us confidence in our Great Shepherd.
- Take some time and mediate on what this means for you in every area of your life.
James 4:8: Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
Be encouraged that we can have intimacy with our Holy and Majestic God! Take some time in prayer and worship to draw near to him!