Summary: 2nd Samuel chapter 6 where King David decides to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Israel’s new capitol of Jerusalem.
My personal prayer time always includes this prayer, “Please make the presence of Christ real to me and my congregation.”
Our scriptural text for the sermon today is taken from Wednesday’s reading of 2nd Samuel chapter 6 where King David decides to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Israel’s new capitol of Jerusalem.
So, before we read the text, let me give you some background on the Ark. In Hebrew the work for “ark” is ’aron, the common name for a "chest".
This chest was called the "ark of the covenant", because in it were deposited the two tablets of stone upon which were written the Ten Commandments, the terms of God’s covenant with Israel. It was also called "the ark of the testimony" because it contained the commandments that were God’s testimony to His own holiness, and the people’s sin. In 1 Samuel it is called "the ark of God" because it is the throne of the divine presence.
The ark of the Covenant represented the power and presence of God.
As the symbol of the Lord’s presence, it was carried by the priests ahead of the Israelites as they traveled. At its presence the waters of the Jordan separated; The Ark was carried about Jericho at the time of its downfall. Very naturally, the neighboring nations, ignorant of spiritual worship, looked upon the Ark as the actual god of Israel (1 Sam 4:6-7).
The Ark was placed at the town of Shiloh until the time of Eli the High Priest, when it was carried along with the army, in the hope that it would secure victory for the Israelites against the Philistines. The Philistines not only defeated the Israelites, but also captured the Ark (1 Sam 4:3-11). When the ark was taken the Bible says, the "glory" was departed (1 Sam 4:21-22).
The Philistines were glad to return it after seven months of physical affliction, misfortune and calamity and so they sent it back to Israel (1 Sam 6).
The presence of God in your life will work against you if you are not right with God. If your life is surrendered to God and you handle the things of God properly, then you will prosper, but if you aren’t right with God – watch out!
The ark was taken to the town of Kiriath-jearim, where it remained until the time of David.
The Ark of the Covenant was a box 45 inches long by 27 inches high and 27 inches wide. It was covered with gold inside and out. It is significant to note that the ark as not made of oak or cedar, the best woods of the Holy Land, but of acacia, the wood of the wilderness.
It was out of the wilderness experience that God spoke to us giving us the first five books of the Bible. It was out of the wilderness experience that God demonstrated his power and might and his awesome holiness and splendor.
And so the Ark of the Covenant was constructed of simple wood, wilderness wood and it contained the two stone tablets that represented the covenant between God and Man.
It was on a cross of simple wood, that God established the new covenant between himself and man. It was there on the cross where the blood of Christ was sprinkled making atonement for our sins – on a cross of simple wood came salvation.
The mercy-seat was not merely regarded as the lid of the ark, but as the most important feature in the holiest place (Ex 25:17; 26:34; Lev 16:2), the only meeting place between God and man. It was the kaporeth or covering, not merely of the ark, but it also became the covering or Israel’s sins when it was sprinkled with sacrificial blood once a year on the great day of atonement. In the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament) the mercy seat lid of the Ark of the Covenant is called "the atonement or propitiation."
It is no coincidence that Christ, our true mercy-seat and place of meeting between the holy God and guilty man, is called the very same thing in (Rom 3:25).
Let me read Romans 3:21-26 to help you get a better grasp on the concept that Jesus is our atonement for sin:
21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement (the same word used to describe the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant), through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished- 26 he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.