Solomon then summoned to Jerusalem the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes—the leaders of the ancestral families of the Israelites. They were to bring the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant to the Temple from its location in the City of David, also known as Zion. So all the men of Israel assembled before King Solomon at the annual Festival of Shelters, which is held in early autumn in the month of Ethanim. When all the elders of Israel arrived, the priests picked up the Ark. The priests and Levites brought up the Ark of the Lord along with the special tent and all the sacred items that had been in it. There, before the Ark, King Solomon and the entire community of Israel sacrificed so many sheep, goats, and cattle that no one could keep count! Then the priests carried the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant into the inner sanctuary of the Temple—the Most Holy Place—and placed it beneath the wings of the cherubim. The cherubim spread their wings over the Ark, forming a canopy over the Ark and its carrying poles. These poles were so long that their ends could be seen from the Holy Place, which is in front of the Most Holy Place, but not from the outside. They are still there to this day. Nothing was in the Ark except the two stone tablets that Moses had placed in it at Mount Sinai, where the Lord made a covenant with the people of Israel when they left the land of Egypt. When the priests came out of the Holy Place, a thick cloud filled the Temple of the Lord. The priests could not continue their service because of the cloud, for the glorious presence of the Lord filled the Temple of the Lord.
1 Kings 8:1-11
Dear God, I started to do this yesterday, but the story of the Ark was so big that I didn’t know where to start. After thinking about it throughout the day, I started to wonder if I had any Ark equivalents in my life.
It is important to note that the Ark wasn’t you. Your presence was with it and you treated it as holy, but it wasn’t to be worshipped. You were. It was also a container that had two 480-year-old stones in it (the 10 Commandments). It also had history. It had journeyed with the people of Israel for a long time. It spent some time captured by the Philistines and you gave them plagues because of it–so many even that they did what it took to get rid of it. You killed people when they revered you, but didn’t revere it. You blessed people when they worshipped you and cared for it. And now Solomon brought it to the temple with proper worship of you and reverence of it.
So is there anything in my life that I carry with me that has a special role of reminding me of you and who you are? I can think of two books–an NIV Study Bible my mother bought me when I was 18 and a copy of My Utmost for His Highest my dad gave me before I went to college. Both have been used a lot over the years, although I’ve predominantly gone digital with them now. But whenever I substitute preach, it’s that big Bible I use from the pulpit. And I’ve given out My Utmost for His Highest as a gift to others who are starting a Christian journey. But I don’t worship these things. They are reminders of my journey with you.
Father, you are to be worshipped and appreciated, and these things should contribute to that process, not substitute for you. Help me to be sensitive to the idea of worshipping you better, and help me to remember to set up altars to remind me of the specific moments you have been good and faithful to me along the way.
In Jesus’s name I pray,