I KINGS 8:9: “Nothing was in the ark except the two tablets of stone which Moses put there at Horeb, when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt.” (NKJV)
OBSERVATION: One man’s junk is another man’s treasure! This is the thought that came to my mind when I read this verse. Why would I think of this old saying when reading about the dedication of the Temple, and the placement of the Ark of the Covenant? Have I lost my marbles?
Do you remember what was originally placed in the Ark of the Covenant? There were originally three items that were in the Ark. The first was the second tablets of stone which Moses brought down from the mountain (remember that the first set of tablets were broken by Moses when he witnessed Israel worshipping the golden calf). The second item was Aaron’s rod that budded when Israel had challenged Moses and Aaron’s leadership. And the third was a pot of Manna placed in the Ark to remind Israel of God’s provision (and their grumbling and complaining in the wilderness).
Now, although the Bible does not tell us this, may I offer a conjecture that I feel is very plausible? What happened to the rod and the pot of Manna? Before David took the Ark to Jerusalem, it was being stored in Baale Judah. If you remember the story, the Philistines had captured the Ark, God had judged them, and they had returned the Ark to Israel on a cart led by milk cows. Here is my conjecture. Could the Philistines have opened the ark, looked inside, and taken out the things that looked interesting to them? The rod would have been intriguing. The pot of manna would have been unusual. But who needs a couple of stones with words written on them that they did not understand?!
Isn’t that just like the world we live in?
And, isn’t that just like so much of our life today in the church?
We are always looking for the shiny, the exciting, the miraculous, the interesting – but who wants a couple pieces of old stone with words written on them.
Today we are witnessing an unprecedented epidemic of Biblical illiteracy. While the Bible continues to be the number one selling book, it is also the most infrequently read book. Only 13% of Christians in a recent poll indicated they read their Bible regularly. This has resulted in the loss of a Biblical World View framing the lives and actions of the church. It is just not cool anymore to study the 10 Commandments, to teach Christian Doctrine, or to wrestle with Christian Ethics. What we clamor for are messages about joy, success, and blessing. Who needs the stone tablets!
WE NEED A CULTURAL REVIVAL!
If there was ever a time that we needed to rediscover the foundational truth of Biblical morality and ethics – it is today! The time for a “Me First” Christianity is over. We need to rediscover the “Whole Counsel of God”, and we need to re-embrace the call of the cross! Our culture, the world’s culture, can once again be turned upside down. Yet, it will not be through spending our lives celebrating God’s goodness within the four walls of our church. It will only take place when we take God’s goodness into the streets – proclaiming the truth, and living a life of compassion and mercy towards those whose lives are lost and broken!
Lord, open my eyes. Give me a hunger for Your Word. Give me compassion for the lost. And help me engage my faith outside of the four walls of the church! Help me be a part of YOUR CULTURAL REVIVAL!
In Jesus Name!