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The Ark of the Covenant

Moses, as representative of his people, was called by God to meet with Him at the top of the mountain. He was presented with two tablets of stone; the Testimony (or Law) of God. ‘The tablets were the work of God; the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets’ (Exodus 32:16). He returned back down the mountain but, as he approached the camp, was shocked by the blatant sin and idolatry of the people. ‘His anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain’ (Exodus 32:19).

Moses felt compelled to go back to God to make amends and seek His forgiveness for their sin, and ‘The Lord said to him, “Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke”’ (Exodus 34:1). God was compassionate, abounding in love and faithfulness towards His people, and said, ‘“I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world”’ (Exodus 34:10).

The precious tablets were placed in a wooden chest, the Ark of the Covenant, which was guarded by the Israelites throughout their time in the wilderness and given a special place within the tabernacle. On the top of the Ark was the Mercy Seat, or Seat of Atonement. This was basically the lid of the Ark. It was covered with gold and sprinkled with blood every year by the High Priest.

The tablets of the Law had been broken, but atonement was made by the blood. Long before the coming of Jesus, God made provision for sin, which would be covered by the Blood of the Lamb. At each end of the Mercy Seat stood the figures of two cherubim, formed in gold. They faced each other with wings outstretched, looking down upon the blood. This was the Holy place of which God said, “there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you” (Exodus 25:18-22).

How many times have we broken the tablets? - Thrown them down in pieces before the Lord, as Moses did in his anger. How often have we gone back up the mountain to make amends with God? But the Blood of Atonement has already been shed.

Angels still keep watch over the Blood today. With wings outstretched they look down on the Holy place of forgiveness, the Cross of Calvary. This is the where God meets with His people and speaks of His abounding love, compassion and faithfulness.

Prayer: Father, please forgive me for breaking the tablets of Your law. I come to the cross now to meet with Jesus, whose blood was shed for my sins. Thank You for Your love and compassion, shown by the blood and the security of Your faithfulness. Help me to live in the grateful assurance of Your un-breakable Covenant. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
 

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Scripture

"Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt. They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt”’.
Exodus 32:7-8, NIV

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Today's Writer

Ron Scurfield with his wife Jill, are Hosts for the Explore courses at Ellel Grange. They are part of the Associate Ministry Team at Ellel Grange and occasionally Ellel Scotland. Ron enjoys walking and writing and meeting interesting people, but his greatest joy is seeing God transform lives, setting people free to live the abundant life that Jesus intended.

Ron Scurfield


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