Summary: David isn’t so much a "Raider," but a "parader" of the lost Ark, and from this episode come some truths for us on obedience and worship.
PARADERS OF THE LOST ARK
One of my favorite movies is "Raiders of the Lost Ark". It is the first of three films that feature Indiana Jones, in all kinds of high adventure and perilous escapes. “Raiders,” the first of the trilogy, is set during the period of WW II and our government comes to seek the advice of one Dr. Jones, a professor of archeology and an obtainer of rare antiquities. They tell Indiana that the Nazi’s are possibly close to recovering the actual Ark of the Covenant of which our passage speaks. That news greatly excites Jones and when.. well instead of me telling it, let’s see the discussion.
Movie Clip -“Raiders of the Lost Ark”- Paramount Pictures - used by permission. 4 min.
Well, whoever, wrote the script for Indiana’s dialogue that we just heard, may have gone to S.S, but they certainly weren’t inspired. They don’t quite have the Biblical facts right. The Bible would agree that the Ark was tangible evidence for God’s presence & power. But in 1 Sam. 4-5 we learn that the Israelites took the Ark into battle and were anything but invincible. Not only were they defeated but the Philistines, their enemy, captured the Ark. They put it in their temple, which is where they worshiped Dagon, an idol that was half man, half fish. Look what happened:"After the Philistines captured the Ark of God, they took it from the battleground at Ebenezer to the city of Ashdod. They carried the Ark of God into the temple of Dagon and placed it beside the idol of Dagon. But when the citizens of Ashdod went to see it the next morning, Dagon had fallen with his face to the ground in front of the Ark of the Lord! So they set the idol up again. But the next morning the same thing happened - the idol had fallen face down before the Ark of the Lord again. This time his head and hands had broken off and were lying in the doorway. Only the trunk of his body was left intact. Then the Lord began to afflict the people of Ashdod and the nearby villages with a plague of tumors. When the people realized what was happening, they cried out, ‘We can’t keep the Ark of the God of Israel here any longer! He is against us! We will all be destroyed along with our god Dagon.’” The Ark may not have had the power the movies give it, but God wouldn’t have it abused.
In the movie, the supposed power of the Ark is the motivating force behind it’s search & capture. However, in real history, David, who is now King over Israel, simply wants to bring the lost ark back to it’s rightful home in Jerusalem. He enlists 30,000 men to retrieve it and they bring it back with great celebration. David isn’t so much a "Raider," but a "parader" of the lost Ark. And from this episode in David’s life come some meaningful truths for us on obedience and worship.
I. EVIDENCE OF GOD.... We need it - Vss: 4-5
One lesson for us here is that God understands, as humans, that we need some kind of tangible evidence of His presence. The Lord provided that especially in the O.T. When the Israelites were brought up out of Egypt God showed His presence by leading them with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Then in Ex. 25-27, while they were in the wilderness, God gave the Hebrews directions to make a place of worship called the tabernacle which was a simple tent structure. Toward the rear of the tent there was a section called the Most Holy Place. In this section stood the Ark of the Covenant. Now under Saul’s reign the permanent tabernacle in Jerusalem had deteriorated, worship itself had become virtually non-existent and the Ark was gone. David wanted to renew his people’s reverence of God and revive their spiritual fervor. In order to do that it meant gathering the scattered articles of furniture and arranging them in the order God had given them years before. The most important piece among all those furnishings was the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark was a chest that was gold plated inside and out. Inside were the two tablets upon which God had written the 10 commandments, (by the way, not the broken pieces as the movie said but the restored tablets that God re-issued to Moses.) It also contained the rod of Aaron which had miraculously budded in the wilderness and some manna which God supernaturally fed the children of Israel. The Ark had a pure gold lid which held two angelic figures of hammered gold. Their wings spread out over the lid and the area beneath those wings was called "the mercy seat,." where God’s presence was the most evident. The Ark was the heart of Jewish worship & extremely valuable.