(Today’s post by Joshua Indiana Jones)
1 Chronicles 15
“You want to talk to God? Let’s go see him together, I’ve got nothing better to do.” -Indiana Jones (Professor, Archaeologist.)
In one of the greatest movies of all time, Raiders of the Lost Ark, we see the Nazis trying to recover the Ark of the Covenant to use as a weapon. With it in their possession, the Nazis believe that their army would be invincible. A not-your-every-day archaeologist (spoiler alert) thwarts the Nazis effort to use the Ark to take over the world, with a childhood scarring scene in which the Ark was opened, and ghost-like beings exit and kill the Nazi soldiers. I watched Raiders just the other day, and thought, “No wonder I used to have bad nightmares as a kid.”
What many viewers of this instant classic do not realize is that the Ark of the Covenant was real. It was powerful. Not because it was filled with demon ghost things, but because inside of it rested the stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments were written. In addition, the Ark was the physical manifestation of God’s presence on Earth, the Shekhina glory. The Ark was to be taken seriously, so much so that God gave explicit commands as to who would carry the Ark, and how it would be carried. Throughout the conquests of the Jews, the Ark was present, until it was captured by the Philistines. Upon hearing of the capture of the Ark, the High Priest, Eli fell dead.
After capturing the Ark, and placing it in the temple of their god Dagon, the Philistines found that the idol had fallen on its face. The next day, decapitated. Soon after, the whole city was struck with a plague. After moving it city to city, being struck with plague after plague, the Philistines sent the Ark back to the Israelites accompanied with gifts. It is at this time that King David decided to move the Ark back to Jerusalem. When transporting the Ark, one of the oxen stumbled and a man Uzzah reached out to steady it. As he touched it, he died immediately. David decided to leave the ark in the house of nearby Obed-edom the Gittite. After three months, David heard that Obed-edom’s household had been greatly blessed, and decided to finish moving the Ark to the capital city.
This is where we pick up in 1 Chronicles 15. David learned from his mistakes. He knew the Ark did not belong in a home, but in Jerusalem, in the tent he had erected for it. Instead of transporting the Ark on a cart, David commissioned Levite men to carry the ark on poles on their shoulders into Jerusalem. The entrance into Jerusalem was the greatest parade in all of Israel. The presence of God was welcomed back into the city of God. The king danced in the street unashamed, joyous at the return of the Ark.
The Ark of the Covenant was the physical representation of God’s presence to the world. It was feared. It was praised. Where it went, God’s people had victory. It was to be taken seriously. The Ark of the Covenant was a foreshadowing to God’s people of a promise that he gave them. God promised the Israelites that he would live with them, and walk among them (Lev. 26:12). The promise would be fulfilled with the gift of the Holy Spirit.
In his letter to the church at Corinth, the Apostle Paul writes, “For we are the temple of the living God” (2 Cor. 6:16). The Holy Spirit dwells within us, the actual presence of God is inside of us as believers! I think some of us might need to let that sink in. The same presence that struck men down, the same presence that led the Israelites into battle, that same presence dwells in each of us as believers. Now the question is, why do we not take that seriously? We have been given the greatest gift in the Holy Spirit, and yet we treat it as taboo. We get freaked out at the mention of Him; we treat the third member of the Trinity as if it is something mystical.
When Christ left this earth to return again one day, He did not just ascend and leave his followers empty handed. He left so that the Holy Spirit could come. That same Holy Spirit is meant to strengthen us. Comfort us. Convict us. Prompts us. We have a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit, and most of us do not even realize it. We no longer have to go to a temple to worship or to hear from God, but because of the gift of the Holy Spirit, we can always be in tune with God.
Just like any relationship, we have to build our relationship with the Holy Spirit. Pray, seek God. Ask him to fill you anew with the Holy Spirit. Ask him to guide you throughout your day. Convict you in areas of wrongdoing. Ask Him to guide you to His will for your life. Just as the Israelites did, take the presence of God seriously. Welcome him in, and joyfully see the work that he will do in your life and others around you.