December 4, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“Have them make an ark of acacia wood—two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high. Overlay it with pure gold, both inside and out, and make a gold molding around it. Cast four gold rings for it and fasten them to its four feet, with two rings on one side and two rings on the other. Then make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. Insert the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark to carry it. The poles are to remain in the rings of this ark; they are not to be removed. Then put in the ark the tablets of the covenant law, which I will give you. Make an atonement cover of pure gold—two and a half cubits long and a cubit and a half wide. And make two cherubim out of hammered gold at the ends of the cover. Make one cherub on one end and the second cherub on the other; make the cherubim of one piece with the cover, at the two ends. The cherubim are to have their wings spread upward, overshadowing the cover with them. The cherubim are to face each other, looking toward the cover. Place the cover on top of the ark and put in the ark the tablets of the covenant law that I will give you. There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the covenant law, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites.”—Exodus 25:10–22 (NIV)
I love building things. Give me a complicated piece of furniture with illustrated directions and I will happily spend hours following the instructions to build the furniture. Then I look on with pride at my finished piece!
This section of Scripture begins a series of chapters of detailed directions and instructions for the tabernacle. God gave these instructions to Moses.
It’s important to observe that the first thing God tells Moses to build was the ark. This was a chest made of acacia wood and overlaid with gold. Acacia wood—a dark wood that has large thorns on its branches—is used a lot in the construction of the tabernacle. The gilded ark was constructed with two poles attached to either side to carry it because it was not supposed to be touched by humans. In it were stored the tablets of the covenant law that Moses received on the mountain.
The ark was closed by the atonement cover. On the very top stood two angels—cherubim—facing one another. And the space in between them on the cover of the ark was called the mercy seat. It’s where God promised to meet with him.
This ark was holy. It was so holy that it was situated within the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle, a room behind a heavy curtain. No one except the high priest was allowed to enter into this room to meet with the Lord on behalf of the Israelites.
Everything else that’s placed in the tabernacle leads up to this moment of meeting with God. This is why God gave Moses instructions on how to build the ark first. It’s the most important part because it represents God’s presence.
Perhaps another reason why this ark is so important is because it points to Jesus. He, the most pure and holy God, would wear a crown of thorns on a tree for us. His blood was our atonement, which covers us and cleanses us from sin. He came to fulfill the law, and He was the only one who could because He is perfect.
Furthermore, when He breathed His last breath, it says in Matthew’s gospel that the curtain of the Holy of Holies was torn from top to bottom, symbolizing the way for us to come to the Father has been cleared by Jesus. We don’t need a high priest to meet with God on our behalf anymore. Jesus is our Great High Priest! God no longer meets with us between two cherubim on the mercy seat behind the curtain in the Holy of Holies. Jesus is holy, and He is also God with us!
I’m thankful for the detailed instructions about the ark and the other items in the tabernacle because when I read them, I see Jesus!
Pause: How else do you see Jesus in these verses?
Practice: As you continue to read through the next few chapters, look for Jesus.
Pray: Father I thank You for Your Word and Your attention to detail. I’m grateful I can approach You boldly, without fear or dependence on anyone else. Give me eyes to see more of who You are. I want to behold Your beauty and Your splendor and continue to learn more about who You are. Let the knowledge of who You are allow me to live more like You so others might come to know You as well. Amen.
Denise Trio has been on staff with Calvary for almost two years, serving as the Director of Strategic Development. She has 10 years of project management experience, with a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture and Engingeering from Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA and a Master’s degree in Pastoral Counseling from Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA. When not on campus, Denise is either making her way through her book list at the beach, ordering tacos on any menu that serves them, or running her side business, The Rose Creative, which specializes in creating beautiful and meaningful products for her clients.