“Arise, O LORD, and come to your resting place, you and the ark of your might.” (Psalms 132:8 NIV)
‘Arise, O Lord’ was the phrase uttered when the ark set out in the time of Moses,
“Whenever the ark set out, Moses said, “Rise up, O LORD! May your enemies be scattered; may your foes flee before you.” (Numbers 10:35 NIV)
It had led the people in the wilderness, finding them resting places on their pilgrimage to the promised land,
“So they set out from the mountain of the LORD and traveled for three days. The ark of the covenant of the LORD went before them during those three days to find them a place to rest.” (Numbers 10:33 NIV)
The story of the ark is summarised by reading through the following passages: Ex 25:10-22, 1 Sam 4-7. The history of the ark was, for the Israelites, a kind of theological handbook. It symbolised God’s presence with His people, but also His holiness – he was not to be ‘used’.
They are not the first nor the last to tread this path of obedience to the temple – a path the ark itself had travelled. We are also part of obedience-history. This makes our faith richer and our resources deeper to face life today.
In Psalm 132 the Psalmist is recalling the time that the ark came home at the end of its pilgrimage, and this inspired the present pilgrims on their way up to Jerusalem. They were retracing the steps of the ark.
We are doing likewise. In our Christian walk we will do well to recall the way that God has done the same things for us that the ark did for the Israelites – except that in the new covenant we have a ‘superior’ version of these things.
Jesus has led us to the truth,
“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 NIV)
He has provided rest for us,
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29 NIV)
He is taking us home to be with him for ever,
“In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2 NIV)
Since we have these great resources and promises provided for us, what should be our response?
We are wise when do not take God’s presence or provision for granted. We are thinking straight when we remember that what we have from God is a result of His grace and not something we earned or deserve. We are blessed when we take time to thank God for everything he has already given us, and thank Him by faith for what we will receive in the future.
The ark was mighty, scary and precious. Our relationship with God is the same – a mighty, scary, and very precious thing!