The Pilgrim Ark
The Ark of the Covenant is a beautiful picture of the Lord Jesus. It was the single most important vessel of the tabernaclebeing the very throne of God. It was constructed of shittim wood (incorruptible humanity) inlaid and overlaid with gold (deity) – how blessed to remember that God (gold) was manifest in the flesh (shittim wood)! These were twoseparate and different materials, but one glorious vessel. Likewise the Lord Jesus is perfect humanity and full deity in one glorious person. This Ark was the meeting place between God and His people – so the Lord Jesus is the one Mediator between God and men (1 Tim. 2.5). But, as one year closes and another opens, I would like to leave a word (or three!) of encouragement in relation to the movements of this most holy of objects. The Ark was…
The Ark had four rings, two on either side, through which two staves were placed (Ex. 25.12-15). These enabled the ark to be borne aloft and carried by the Kohathites (Num. 4.4-5). The staves were not to be taken from the ark because this was a pilgrim ark for a pilgrim people. Wherever the people went, the Ark went. How blessed then to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, ‘Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world’ (Matt. 28.20). The Lord Jesus has promised to be with us every step of the pilgrim pathway until finally we are ever with Him.
IN THEIR MIDST
The centre-piece of the tabernacle and indeed the camp of Israel was the Ark. The Ark was ever in the midst, whether in the camp (Num. 2) or on the move. There was no mistaking the Ark as it travelled – it was conspicuous above every other vessel, being the only one outwardly covered in blue (Num. 4.6). It is the greatest privilege to gather to the name of the Lord Jesus alone and enjoy the promise of His presence in the midst. And yet, it is our priestly responsibility to lift Him high above any and every other. God help us to make Him conspicuous above a myriad in every gathering.
Scripture records only two instances in which the Arkled the congregation. First, in Joshua 3, the Ark ‘went before the people’ down into the midst of Jordan to see Israel safely through the river of death. In a glorious picture of Calvary, the flood waters were rolled right back to ‘Adam’ until all had passed over and everything was ‘finished’ (Jos. 3.17) The Ark was then ‘lifted up’ onto the dry land of Canaan (Jos. 4.18). Thus the Ark went before them into Jordan as our Lord Jesus has gone before us into death. Should we ever be called to go into death, He has been there before. Second, in Numbers 10, as the nation first moved from Sinai the Ark ‘went before them’ three days’ journeyto search out a ‘resting place’. So our Lord Jesus, on resurrection ground, has gone before to the Father’s House. His very presence there has prepared the many ‘resting places’ (mansions) for His people (John 14.2). Thus He has gone before us into death and gone before us into glory.
May God encourage our hearts. Our Saviour is with us. He is in our midst. He has gone before us. And He still leads usonward to glory.