What We Should Never Forget (As a Nation)
Almost anywhere you go in the world when someone sees the stars and stripes they will say – “That’s America.” Or if you show someone a picture of the Statue of Liberty they more and likely will say, “That’s America.” (pictures of the flag and Statue of Liberty)
These are national symbols recognized almost anywhere in the world. They speak of our freedom and independence.
The nation of Israel didn’t have a flag that we know about but they did have the Ark of the Covenant which was the rallying point for the people who escaped the horrors of slavery in Egypt. (picture of the Ark of the Covenant)
We can learn a great deal from the Israelites in that God was to be at the center of their nations. Of course they didn’t necessarily do a good job at keeping God at the center of their lives; they got lazy and disobedient in their worship of God – sounds familiar.
The Ark of the Covenant had 3 things inside that became symbols of God presence in their lives. We can learn from these symbols. They were symbols that told the story of Israel. They became object lessons or visual aids as primary things that mattered in the life of the nations.
- The Ark became the center of their life even though it had a sense of mystery and intrigue about it. The ordinary people of the day seldom saw unless there was a parade or they were heading to war.
- The People of God were known by the Ark. What are we really known by?
Listen to the scripture reading about the Ark.
Now in that first covenant between God and Israel, there were regulations for worship and a sacred tent here on earth. There were two rooms in this tent. In the first room were a lamp stand, a table, and loaves of holy bread on the table. This was called the Holy Place. Then there was a curtain, and behind the curtain was the second room called the Most Holy Place. In that room were a gold incense altar and a wooden chest called the Ark of the Covenant, which was covered with gold on all sides. Inside the Ark were a gold jar containing some manna, Aaron's staff that sprouted leaves, and the stone tablets of the covenant with the Ten Commandments written on them.
- The first symbol in the Ark was the gold jar of manna. (picture of Manna)
- Moses told them to be prepared for God would take care of their need.
- Every time the people of God saw the Ark being carried they were to remember that God was providing their needs. Manna was a symbol of God’s provision.
- On this 4th of July weekend we need to be reminded that God is the same God that has provided for us from day one. Every good thing we have comes from God.
- Independence and freedom
- Food on our table
- The shelter we live in
- Jesus took on the image of manna when He said; "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:35
- He wants us also to realize the importance of Christ nourishing our souls.
- The second item in the Ark was Aaron’s rod that budded. The story is found in Numbers 16 and 17. But the gist of the story is that some Israelites had rebelled against Moses and Aaron, the high priest. The way God chose who is in charge of the Israelites was interesting – look with me at Numbers 17.
Each of the 12 tribes brought a staff and the leader wrote their name on their staff. Aaron was chosen to be the lead priest on the tribe of Levi. The 12 staffs were placed at the Testimony in the Tabernacle. The Testimony was where the stone tablets were – where the 10 Commandments were.
Numbers 17:8-10 (NIV)
8 The next day Moses entered the Tent of the Testimony and saw that Aaron's staff, which represented the house of Levi, had not only sprouted but had budded, blossomed and produced almonds. 9 Then Moses brought out all the staffs from the Lord's presence to all the Israelites. They looked at them, and each man took his own staff. 10 The Lord said to Moses, "Put back Aaron's staff in front of the Testimony, to be kept as a sign to the rebellious. This will put an end to their grumbling against me, so that they will not die..."
- God was saying – stop all your grumbling “I put in charge who wanted in charge - Aaron is my High Priest and Moses is in charge with the responsibility of getting you to the promised land.
- It is a simple message God’s in charge and we aren’t. It is His way – and He is the One that chose Aaron as the high priest. He provides the way to Him through His Son Jesus, our Lord and High Priest.
- The question for us is who is our high priest? Hebrews 9:11 tells that Christ is our High Priest. When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation.
- God made a dead stick blossom and produce – and He breathed new life into His crucified dead Son chose His Son to be our High Priest and Lord.
- The last article that was placed in the Ark was the stone tablets carrying the Ten Commandments. They were to be at the center of the nation.
- We too need to have God’s Word at the center of our nation.
- We live in a nation based its Constitution and Bill of Rights, laws and
court judicial system on the 10 Commandments and the Scripture. All
the controversy about taking the 10 Commandments out of public court
houses tares at the basic fabric of our country.
- John 14:15 "If you love me, you will obey what I command.
As nation we to need to never forget that:
- God’s provides
- Christ is our High Priest and He brings us eternal life out of death.
- That His Word is our foundation and guide.