Sundays are filled with blessings. Time in Church…the WORD…prayer…reflection…Love…Grace…Peace…family… Is it any wonder that the 4th commandment reminds us to observe sacred times? The Sabbath…the Shemitah were established to reminds us of what “…Thy Kingdom” would look like – if we could just quit getting out of the ark to walk a path where temptations slither and threaten to latch on to us with poisonous fangs.
(in the Bible) the ship built by Noah to save his family and two of every kind of animal from the Flood; Noah’s ark.
a vessel or sanctuary that serves as protection against extinction.
“a starship ark built by their android protectors”
a chest or box.
“the ark was of Italian walnut”
a large, flat-bottomed boat.
noun: ark; plural noun: arks
short for Ark of the Covenant
a chest or cupboard housing the Torah scrolls in a synagogue. (Google definition)
Yesterday was no exception. We carved some early pumpkin faces. Played with the Grands. Hugged on the daughter and her husband. Watched some football. Took some memory pictures. Fun times. Yet – in the back of my mind – words our pastor shared, continued to vibrate. Harmonic flashbacks that accessed a melody taught long ago in my small, rural, traditional church. My pastor then was probably one of the holiest men I knew…next to my father. WWII prisoner of war and unable to have children with his wife, he was no stranger to pain and suffering. Yet, when my father had his heart attacks, it was my pastor’s smile, words and hugs that brought peace into our home. He understood Christ Jesus in a way that few people ever do. He was the first one that ever connected all the “arks” in the Bible for me. A long ago lesson that, somehow, I had forgotten.
“Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.” Gen 6:14 KJV
The first time an ark is mentioned in the Bible is in Genesis. Most people know this story. God asks a special man to build an ark of cypress wood. The ark holds God’s treasures for a period of 40 days and nights that brings them through a terrible time. In Jewish tradition the word for ark is teyvat which in Hebrew has no relation to the word that is used in Ark of the Covenant which is aron kodesh. They do not consider them related at all. And yet – in English – the words are one and the same.
“For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Matt 5:18
It makes you wonder. Why is this one little word out of the thousands that have been translated from Hebrew to English in the Bible was treated so differently? I have a feeling that it wasn’t a mistake.
“Have them make an ark of acacia wood—two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high.” Ex 25:10 KJV
In Exodus 25, God tells Moshe to build another ark. This ark was smaller. It was more ornate. It was would also carry something special. It would be carried on poles. It would hold the treasures of God’s laws and keep them safe in times of trouble. An ark that would travel with the Jewish people. An ark that would sit in their tabernacle where Yahweh would join with them.
“The days are coming, declares the Lord,when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.” Heb 8:8-10
On Sunday, my preacher said (and this is a paraphrase) that we needed to get on the ark again. The ark of the New Covenant. The Book of Hebrews uses the language of the Old Testament to strengthen the validity of this “new” covenant and encourage the new believers, despite the persecution and dangers swirling around them, to stay strong in their belief in Jesus Christ. In other words, stay in the “ark” of this new covenant. Again – another “ark” that would safely carry God’s treasures: His precious Son and those who choose to get in the “ark” with Him.
“This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Heb 8:11-12 KJV
Rabbi Yeshua became the High Priest of this ark. He fulfilled all the requirements that made this new “ark” possible. He lived through all the temptations – and in most cases – more than what we will ever experience. He lived his life by the 613 commandments given by Our Father under the old covenant. He lived life as a true Son of God, modeling for us a way to live. He fulfilled the old covenant and replaced it with the new one. Hand-designed by His holy, omniscient Father. Sacrificing His life for our sins. Crushing His heel into the serpent’s head. Steering the ark. Protecting His ark that carries us into His Father’s kingdom.
Three times “arks” are created in the Bible. Three times God has filled these “arks” with His precious creations. I find it intriguing that there are always messages in the Our Father’s WORD just waiting for us to notice and wonder about as we go throughout our crazy lives. I can buy all the things that will physically offer security during these troubling times. I can fill the pantry. I can provide alternative energy sources. I can gather my loved ones close. But unless I am willing to get into the “ark” of the New Covenant, I will sink pretty quickly in these stormy waters. I don’t know about you, but I can’t tread water very long.