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Exodus 25:1-22, The Ark of the Covenant

Friday, June 22

A Box for God

Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.

the Ark of the Covenant

Even though the Israelites were wandering the wilderness, God wanted them to know God was always with them. God instructed them to make an ark (a small box for containing the tablets, not the large boat Noah made for containing the animals). The ark would house the tablets of stone on which God's commandments, laws, and ordinances were written. Wherever the ark followed the Israelites, the people would know that God went with them.

Why is it people are always trying to put God in a box? The Israelites believed that God was with them as long as the ark was with them. When the ark was captured, their armies failed. But was God truly contained in a small, ornate box?

We put God in a box whenever we try to explain or understand God. When we try to wrap our minds around an unknowable God, when we try to make sense of a God beyond reason, we limit what God is and does. Not that we shouldn't try to understand God. But understanding God is only one aspect of faith. Following despite our ability to understand is also critical to our faith growth. Can we let God and the things of God escape our understanding, and still follow and obey?

Narrative Lectionary Text: Exodus 25:1-22

The Lord said to Moses: Tell the Israelites to take for me an offering; from all whose hearts prompt them to give you shall receive the offering for me. This is the offering that you shall receive from them: gold, silver, and bronze, blue, purple, and crimson yarns and fine linen, goats’ hair, tanned rams’ skins, fine leather, acacia wood, oil for the lamps, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, onyx stones and gems to be set in the ephod and for the breastpiece. And have them make me a sanctuary, so that I may dwell among them. In accordance with all that I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle and of all its furniture, so you shall make it.

They shall make an ark of acacia wood; it shall be two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high. You shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and outside you shall overlay it, and you shall make a molding of gold upon it all around. 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. 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, by which to carry the ark. The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark; they shall not be taken from it. You shall put into the ark the covenant that I shall give you. Then you shall make a mercy seat of pure gold; two cubits and a half shall be its length, and a cubit and a half its width. You shall make two cherubim of gold; you shall make them of hammered work, at the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub at the one end, and one cherub at the other; of one piece with the mercy seat you shall make the cherubim at its two ends. The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings. They shall face one to another; the faces of the cherubim shall be turned toward the mercy seat. You shall put the mercy seat on the top of the ark; and in the ark you shall put the covenant that I shall give you.There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the covenant, I will deliver to you all my commands for the Israelites.