This got me thinking...
So here is a short history lesson before I get to the point.
Way back in Exodus 16 before the Ark of the Covenant was even built, the first object which would be placed in it comes into being. The Israelites rebel and complain that they have nothing to eat and would be better off back in Egypt in slavery. Even though God just supernaturally led them out of slavery! So God gives them manna, a substance made into bread. God tells Moses to take some manna and keep it for the generations to come (Exodus 16:32). We learn in Hebrews 9:4 that God indeed had the manna placed in the Ark.
Shortly after, Moses receives the stone tablets of the 10 Commandments and the Law from God, but as the people rebel against the Lord, Moses smashes the stones (Exodus 32:19). God replaces the stones and commands that this "testimony" (or law) be placed in the Ark of the Testimony, which is the other name of the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25:16).
That brings us to the third object in the Ark... Aaron's staff. The Israelites once again rebel against God (anyone seeing a pattern?) and question whether Aaron really should be in a place of authority. Even though God himself put him there! God commands the leaders of each tribe to put forth a staff. Aaron's staff buds and bears life in flowers and almonds as a sign that God has chosen Aaron to be in a high place over the Israelites (Numbers 17:1-11).
So far so good. Manna, stone tablets, Aaron's staff. Three objects in the Ark. Okay.
Then I realized... the Ark is not simply an object of God's presence in the Old Testament. Nope. It is a reminder to the Israelites of their failure. Of the rejection of God. Check it out...
Manna: Israelite rejection of God's provision. > They did not trust God would provide as he said he would do.
Stone Tablets: Israelite rejection of God's standard. > They did not accept God's commands of how they should live.
Aaron's Staff: Israelite rejection of God's authority. > They did not submit to God's sovereignty.
As usual when I read the Old Testament, I was reminded that I am like Israel. I fail to acknowledge God's provision and desire other things. I break God's standards, his laws and commands. I do my own thing at times and reject his sovereignty.
But God provided a way for me. A way to bring me back to Him. And this is the point.
Jesus is the Bread of Life. Jesus is the manna. Jesus lived God's perfect standards. Jesus is the Law. Jesus reigns as King. Jesus has all authority. And just like Aaron's staff, a dead stick brought back to give life, so Jesus died, returned and now bears life and fruit in me. Jesus is the good and righteous fulfillment of every failing of Israel and of me.
Jesus is the new Testimony. Jesus is the new Covenant. Jesus is the new Ark.
Thank you, Jesus, for removing my failures and for bearing new life in me.
worship Him 24/7...