“They shall make an ark of acacia wood…[and] you shall overlay it with pure gold…. 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. You shall make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. And you shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark to carry the ark by them. The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark; they shall not be taken from it.
There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel.
– Exodus 25:10-22
A line of significance can be drawn between today’s reading and God’s instructions to Moses on Sinai. The Ark of the Covenant was not a container for the LORD, nor representative of the LORD – as pagan idols were – but it was the evidence of the LORD’s special relationship with His people Israel.
The Ark was evidence – testimony – of covenant. It contained the Law tablets, a sample of manna, and Aaron’s staff. It was where Moses and Joshua had spoken with the LORD in the wilderness. The Philistines were plagued by it and their idols bowed down to it. Once ensconced in the Most Holy Place, none could approach it save for the High Priest of Israel.
Yesterday we saw David crowned king over all Israel and his capital moved to Jerusalem, a defensible stronghold that was strategically both within Judah and near the northern tribes. Today he requests the Ark be brought up from the house of Abinadab – the lone priest who survived Saul’s slaughter. A new cart is built for the occasion. Two Levites, who should have known the law, manage the transit.
But the trip is marred by tragedy, as the fierce holiness of the LORD is exerted. The ark is preserved, but it comes at a cost. A Levite is dead; David is angry, then terrified. As the LORD remains mute throughout – and David’s not about to approach Him – you’re allowed to speculate on the cause of the LORD’s response.
Finally, the transit is completed. And once David, and his house, and the Ark are settled in Jerusalem, David has an idea. Listen to the LORD’s proclamation in chapter 7 as He offers a better promise – a better house – than David ever could.
Our verse for this week is Romans 6:23: For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
2 Samuel 6 and 7. Now let’s read it!
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.