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The Ark Returns to the Temple
Bible Passage 1 Kings 8: 1-13
This content is part of a series Bright Morning Reflections, in topic 2022 & books 1 Corinthians, 1 Kings, 2 Samuel, Chronicles, Exodus, Revelation.

The Ark Returns to the Temple

  • Rev. Bright Mawuena Nfodzo
Date preached October 7, 2022

1 Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, to King Solomon in Jerusalem, so that they might bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion.

2 And all the men of Israel were gathered to King Solomon at the feast in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month.

3 And all the elders of Israel came in, and the priests took up the ark.

4 And they brought up the ark of the LORD and the tabernacle of the congregation and all the holy vessels which were in the tabernacle—even those the priests and the Levites brought up.

5 And King Solomon and all the congregation of Israel, who had assembled to him were before the ark sacrificing sheep and oxen which could not be counted nor numbered for multitude.

6 And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the LORD into its place, into the holy place of the house, into the Holy of Holies under the wings of the cherubim,

7 For the cherubim spread forth their two wings over the place of the ark. And the cherubim covered the ark and the staves of it above.

8 And they drew out the staves, so that the ends of the staves were seen out in the holy place in front of the Holy of Holies, but they were not seen outside. And there they are to this day.

9 There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets of stone which Moses put there at Horeb, when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel when they came out of the land of Egypt.

10 Then it came to pass when the priests had come out of the Holy of Holies, the cloud filled the house of the LORD.

11 And the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD.

12 And Solomon said, “The LORD said that He would dwell in the thick darkness.

13 I have surely built an exalted house for You, a settled place for You to abide in forever.”

Solomon had finished building the temple and people came from all over Israel to celebrate its dedication. The ceremony took place at the time of the mid-year festival season.

The temple being ready, the ark of God’s covenant had to be transferred to its rightful place.

The ark was the most sacred object in the temple. It was a wooden box, but gold surrounded the wood. Originally, Moses made it for the inner room of God’s special tent, that is, the tent of the Lord’s presence. Nobody would enter that room except for the chief priest, who was expected to do so only once each year.

The ark contained the stones of the 10 commandments. These reminded the Israelites about the covenant that God had made with them at Mount Sinai.

The transfer of the ark happened during the Festival of Shelters, on the 15th day of the 7th month (Ethanim).

In transferring the ark from David’s temporary tent to the temple, Solomon, evidently remembering the mistake of his father, was careful to see that the priests and Levites carried the ark and all the holy vessels in the proper manner (verse 3-9; see 2 Sam 6:1-7). The mistake in the past led to Uzzah’s death. Uzzah had died because he touched the ark. So the priests carried the box on long poles.

The procession was accompanied by music and singing provided by the priests and Levites, all of whom were on duty for the special occasion (2 Chr 5:11-14).

Once the ark was in its rightful place, God gave the sign of his presence by filling the temple with a cloud of glory. As in the case of the tabernacle, the light of God’s presence was so dazzling that human activity in the sanctuary had to cease (verse 10-13; compare Ex 40:34-35).

God sent the cloud so that people could not see the wonderful light of his presence. That light is too bright for people to see, because of their human weakness. Moses briefly saw the light of God’s presence. But even Moses could not see God’s face. Any person who saw God’s face would die (Exodus 33:20). Afterwards, Moses’ own face shone so brightly that he had to cover it (Exodus 34:24-35). But Paul says that, in the future, we shall see God’s face (1 Corinthians 13:12). This is God’s wonderful promise to every true Christian. John agrees, in Revelation 22:4 and adds that our future home will not need the sun or the moon. That home will be bright because God is present there. And that light will shine across the whole world (Revelation 21:23-24).

🔷 God’s temple must be used reverently with fear and honour for God

🔷 God’s rightful place and presence in our lives must not be exchanged for anything else

🔷 God stays at where He is invited. When you invite God, He will stay with you

🔷 God’s true glory will be experienced when believers join in His kingdom

💥 Ask for God’s ever presence with you
💥 Pray that you will experience the glory of God always

Over familiarity should never make us take God for granted. We must rather yearn for His presence that gives us victory and grants us grace to have a true fellowship with Him.

In series Bright Morning Reflections