Read 1 Kings 8:1-21

v 6  Then the priests carried the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant into the inner sanctuary of the Temple—the Most Holy Place—and placed it beneath the wings of the cherubim.

God had made it clear to David that he was not the person to build a great Temple in Jerusalem; it was to fall to Solomon to fulfil that responsibility. So the story moves forward to the moment when Solomon finally brings the Ark to its resting place in the newly-built Temple in Jerusalem. Once again it is a moment of national celebration. All the priests and leaders of the nation are present. It is the climactic moment of the nation’s escape from Egypt and settlement in the Promised Land. The Ark – containing the tablets of stone on which the Covenant is written – is at its destined resting place.

Perhaps it is worth reflecting on why the Ark of the Covenant is so important. Why should these Ten Commandments figure so prominently? Are they just arbitrary rules to be kept with a threat of dire punishment if they are broken?

God had made a Covenant with the people of Israel, in the time of Abraham, to be their God and to keep the people under his care. This was long before the Ten Commandments were given to Moses. Their relationship with God did not depend on some kind of legal obedience to these laws; the relationship was promised in the Covenant and the commandments were given to set standards for this covenant people.

The Ark and the laws it contained was not therefore seen as a threat, but as the promise of their relationship with God. He guaranteed to be faithful to them and then went on to set standards which were designed to guide them in living in a way that would please him.

The Ark was therefore the promise of God’s presence among them. That was the reason for all the celebrations. It spoke of God’s presence among the people as well as setting standards for living to please him.

Wednesday 22nd May Daily Notes from the HUB.