Deserved Respect And Reverence
Read Joshua Chapter 3
Jos 3:2 ……….“When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests, who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. 4 Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about a thousand yards between you and the ark; do not go near it.” 5 Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.” 6 Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on ahead of the people.” So they took it up and went ahead of them. 7 And the LORD said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. 8 Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant: ‘When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go and stand in the river.’ ” 9 Joshua said to the Israelites, “Come here and listen to the words of the LORD your God. 10 This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that He will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. 11 See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you.
The Ark of the Covenant was to the Hebrews a symbol of the presence of God. It was a sacred, holy, representation of the glory of their God. You will remember that there were strict rules about how to handle and treat the ark. It seems severe to us that God would declare than anyone who touched it would immediately be put to death. The penalty for improper handling of the ark was death, plain and simple, no exceptions.
What does that mean for us today? We might believe that it has no significance or meaning for us under the new covenant established by Jesus Christ. It was only recently that I realized that it has great meaning and application for us. As we think of the Ark of the Covenant, we should recognize its symbolism and significance– it represents God’s holiness, glory, honor, awesomeness, and the list could go on and on. God required that the ark be treated with the utmost reverence and respect. Our application is simply this: the presence of Christ and the Father resides within each of us who belong to Him. This “ark” which we carry around with us should and does demand the same amount of respect and reverence as did the Ark of the Covenant. Obviously, we fall short of that goal.
Honestly, as I think about this today, it pierces my heart. How would our lives be changed if we gave the Holy Spirit the same kind of treatment that the Hebrew nation was required to give the Ark of the Covenant?
- God is holy. The penalty for anyone who does not respect and believe in the presence of God will suffer the ultimate price; that price is death. The unbeliever will surely and dearly pay for his denial of the truth.
- God is holy. We who have believed in God and His Son, Jesus Christ, have a duty and obligation to respect and revere Him. We have woefully failed in this regard. If our minds and hearts were always in tune with the “wisdom and knowledge” of our “ark,” we would have little trouble dismissing our fleshly desires when they rear their ugly heads.
- God is holy. Is it possible for a believer to willfully and continually live in sin when the Ark of the Lord is present? The answer can be found in the New Testament. No (1 John 5:18)! Just as the Hebrews perished if the Ark was disrespected, the true believer cannot continually disrespect the Ark which resides in, around, and with us.
Where does this lead us to, as SSA men and women? It means that we cannot and will not willfully and continually allow ourselves to engage in unholy sexual acts with our same gender. Actually, it is more than that. It means that no Christian can willfully and continually commit any sin, without experiencing any conviction or repentance. The life of a Christian will eventually fall into line with the will and purpose of God. Leviticus 20:13. Continual ignoring of God and His precepts has never been tolerated by Him, and never will be. It is a dangerous thing to believe that God’s grace includes winking at or approving of sin.
Today, Christians are much too prone to be too “familiar” with God. We teach that He is our friend, our brother, and our companion. That is true; there are scriptures which support those thoughts. However, as we accept the truth of those thoughts, we have a tendency to forget that God is also holy. He is “untouchable” except through the blood and death of Jesus Christ. We need a balance. If we have a realistic awareness of His holiness, we will also have a better appreciation for the privilege we have been given – that is, to approach Him despite our own lack of holiness. To willfully sin, cheapening His grace and taking it further than God’s word ever intended, is to have complete disregard of His holiness.
Prayer: Help us to see and remember the significance of our “ark.” Your personal presence within us deserves the same degree of respect as did the Ark of the Covenant. Forgive us, Lord, for we have failed to revere and respect You.