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  • Rick LoPresti

Draw out the staves

When God spoke to Moses on Mt. Sinai, it was not just one encounter for the ten commandments. It was eight trips, and Moses received over 600 commandments in total. Most of the commandments he received were regarding the construction and use of the tabernacle (Ex 25-Num 7, and other passages). There were 6 pieces of furniture in the tabernacle – the brazen altar, the brazen laver, the table of shewbread, the altar of incense, the golden candlestick, and the ark of the covenant. There were strict and detailed rules governing the use of these pieces of furniture, and the consequence of violating them was death (Ex 28:35, Ex 30:20-21, Lev 8:35, Lev 15:31, Lev 16:2 & 13, Num 18:3). Two of the sons of Aaron the high priest died (Lev 10:1-2), and so did Uzzah (2Sam 6:1-6).

The ark of the covenant was in the most holy place and represented the direct presence of God. The Lord “dwelleth between the cherubims” that were on the lid of the ark (1Sam 4:4, 2Sam 6:2, 2Ki 19:5, 1Chr 13:6, Ps 80:1, Ps 99:1, Is 37:16). God would manifest His presence and speak from that place (Ex 25:22, Ex 30:6, Lev 16:2, Num 7:89). Only the high priest could go before it and only once a year on the day of atonement (Lev 16). Nobody was to touch it once the tabernacle was erected and dedicated. It was to only be handled by two sticks (staves) which it could be carried by. There were rings on the ark that these sticks were in, so the ark could be transported when the tabernacle was moved throughout Israel’s journeys in the wilderness (Ex 25:13-15). Uzzah made the mistake of touching the ark and it cost him his life. The men of Behshemesh also died for looking into it (1Sam 6:19).

People tend to imagine that after Israel entered the promised land the ark remained in Jerusalem inside the tabernacle Moses built until Solomon built the temple, but this is not the case. The ark and the tabernacle were often not in the same place, and both moved several times. Shiloh and Gibeon were the 2 main places. God had told Israel in the wilderness that there would be a place He would choose to place His name in the promised land which would become their spiritual headquarters (Deut 12:5 & 11 & 21, Deut 14:23-24, Deut 16:2 & 6 & 11, Deut 26:2). That became Jerusalem where Solomon built the temple (1Ki 11:36, 1Ki 14:21, 2Ki 21:4 & 7, 2Ki 23:27, Ezra 6:12, Neh 1:9, Je 25:29, Dan 9:6). The tabernacle was moveable, and the temple was not. It was to be a permanent place as the center of worship for all men.

At the dedication ceremony of the temple of Solomon, the ark was brought from Zion and placed in the most holy place of the temple. The priests who carried it there and put it in its permanent place drew out the staves since it would not be carried any more (1Ki 8:1-8). Some people are spiritual nomads, moving from spiritual place to place and even physical place to place. We should always be seeking to progress forward in our relationship with God, and there are times when it is the will of God to move from one situation to another. However, it is not the will of God for us to never have a commitment to where He places us. Some people never learn how to plant themselves where God places them and prosper there. Sometimes, the very reason people keep changing places is to avoid that very commitment. People change spouses, jobs, churches, cities, and now even falsely attempt to change their genders because they do not want to just stay put and make where they are work. We must remember that wherever we go, we are there. We cannot outrun ourselves. Sometimes the problem is within us and not others or circumstances. We need to learn to pull out the staves and stop shopping for some ideal situation that does not exist. If you leave a marriage, church, or job because the people are not perfect, just remember one of the reasons it was not perfect is because you were there. When you get to where you are going, it will not be perfect there either because you will be there. This is not heaven. The best way to address this is to find out what the will of God is for you. Who does God want me to marry? What church does God want me to be a part of? What job does God want me to do? Once that is settled, we need to learn to stay put in the will of God and not run at the first sign of inconvenience of discomfort, or when we have to confront our own issues. As stated earlier, sometimes the will of God or things beyond our control dictate a change, but this should be addressed with prayer and good advice. Sometimes, we just have to pull out the staves and declare that we are staying put.

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