Where is the Presence of God?5 min read

Presence of God

Where is the Presence of God?5 min read

The Presence of God was represented in the Ark of the Covenant, from the moment it was built and placed in Moses’ Tabernacle until it resided in Solomon’s Temple 440 years later. As long as the Ark existed it was the supreme symbol of God’s Presence among His people and always associated with fire. We are to be baptised with the Holy Spirit and with fire, Matthew 3:11.

The Power of the Ark of God

When the Israelites conquered the Promised Land they set the Ark up at Shiloh. This was where the Israelites came to worship God who had given them the land.

For 369 years the Ark remained at Shiloh. Then the Israelites made the mistake of carrying the Ark into war, in an attempt to defeat the Philistines.

Instead, the Philistines defeated Israel and captured the Ark of God and set it in Dagon’s temple alongside the statue of Dagon. The next morning the statue had fallen on its face on the ground, before the Ark of the Lord. They stood the statue up again, but the next morning the head of Dagon and both hands were cut off and laid on the threshold of the temple.

Every time the Philistines moved the ark to a new location, disaster struck that area. This torment continued for seven long months, 1 Samuel 4-8., proving the Ark of the Covenant was a burden too heavy to bear.

The Philistine priests and diviners told the leaders to send the Ark back to Israel with a guilt offering of five golden tumours and five golden mice. These represented the number of Philistine lords, 1 Samuel 6:4.

The Ark Returned

The Ark was returned on a cart drawn by two milk cows, who walked directly to Beth-Shemesh. The cows had never been yoked before and their calves were left locked up. Yet, the cows did not hesitate in their God-appointed task, but went directly towards Beth-Shemesh.

The Bethshemeshites rejoiced at the return of the Ark, however, they decided to open the Ark and look inside. Many men died, 1 Samuel 6:19. Suddenly, the Bethshemites were eager to be rid of the Ark and told the men of Kiriath-Jearim to come and get it.

For 20 years the Ark sat in the house of Abinadab on a hill Kiriath-Jearim, the city of forests. It was watched over by Abinadab’s son, Eleazer,1 Samuel 7:1. In that time Abinadab’s house was richly blessed. Again, the Philistines attacked Israel, but this time they were defeated, 1 Samuel 7:10.

Demanded a King

Israel failed once more when they demanded that Samuel appoint a king over them. They wanted to be like the nations around them.

God granted them their desire, but in demanding a human king they rejected God as their king, 1 Samuel 8:7. Samuel warned them that their desire would be their undoing, 8:11-18.

Saul reigned 40 years, but he spent 20 of those years chasing after the God-appointed king, David, who would replace him. David was thirty-years old when he finally began to reign.

David’s Mistake

Three years later he captured Jerusalem and built it as his capital. David felt it was time to bring the Ark of God to the city of David. He gathered 30,000 men and set off to bring the Ark home. However, David made the mistake of carrying it on an ox cart, 2 Samuel 6:3. A man was killed when he touched the Ark to stop it from falling, 2 Samuel 6:7. David immediately left the Ark in the house of Obededom, and there it remained for three months.

Finally, David moved the Ark God’s way. Dressed as a priest, he shouted and danced before the Lord with all his might, while the trumpet was blown and sacrifices were made every six paces. So, the Ark finally came to the City of David, 2 Samuel 6:13-15.

Davidic Covenant

God also established His covenant with David and told David he would not be the one to build the Temple, but his throne would be established forever, 2 Sam 7:17. The Ark remained in a tent for all the 40-year reign of David, but David’s tent was known for praise and worship.

It would be 440 years from the original building of the Ark in the wilderness to it finally standing in Solomon’s grand temple, 2 Chronicles 5.

Presence of God in the Temple

The history of the Ark of the Covenant reveals how important the presence of God is. Yet, everything about the Ark represented what the Lord Jesus Christ would be to His followers. God chose to send the Son to pay the price for redeemed man to return to God, John 3:16, and be able to enjoy the awesome presence of the Creator of the Universe.

God does not dwell in a house made with hands, but in His people, 2 Corinthians 5: 1,2. Jesus said, If anyone loves Me he will keep My word. And My Father will love him and We will come to him and make our abode with him. John 14:23.

How awesome is it that the Almighty God should choose to dwell in us? Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you whom you have from God and that you are not your own. You were bought with a price, 1 Corinthians 6:19,20.

God Present in Us

The Old Testament people only had God dwelling among them, but we are to live as the all-powerful God dwells in us. Sadly, the vast majority of those in Christianity today have lost the significance of God choosing to dwell IN His people. He does not choose to dwell in a church building, but in you.

Remember, God killed a man who dared to touch the Ark. You are more valuable than the Ark of the Covenant. I Am that I Am Exodus 3:14, chooses to live in you. You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. A people for God’s own possession, Deuteronomy 14:2, 1Peter 2:9. Live to the glory of God, as citizens of heaven and let God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Let us all enjoy the presence of God and covet a close relationship with Him through the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire.

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Wendy Stenberg-Tendys is a freelance writer who enjoys researching a topic and sharing words of encouragement, particularly from the Word of God.

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