Exodus Message #41 Ed Miller Oct. 6, 2021 Mt. Sinai – God Resting in His Temple

Listen to the audio abode while reading the transcript below (also available for download from www.biblestudyministriesinc.com in PDF)

I want to begin with one thought from one verse from Colossians 1:14, just a little expression, “In Him we have redemption,” and we’re studying the book of redemption in picture form, Exodus, and there’s a lot about redemption that we need to be taught, but there’s something in this verse that summarizes everything.  I may not know everything I need to know about redemption, but this verse says, “In Him we have redemption,” and whether or not I know all about it, I have it, and whether or not you know all about it, you have it, so in that let’s rejoice.  Let’s pray together.

Our heavenly Father, thank You so much for our Lord Jesus and for the indwelling Spirit of God that lives right inside of us, whose ministry and pleasure it is to turn our eyes in a fresh way to Jesus.  Lord, as we study the Bible again, we are not here to learn the Bible, but to see You.  So, open our eyes and unveil the Lord Jesus, and then grace us to appropriate Him as You reveal Him to us.  We thank You in advance that You are going to do this and more because we ask it in the name of our Lord Jesus.  Amen.

I welcome you to our study again, not of Exodus, we’re in Exodus, I hope when we’re done, you’ll know things about Exodus you didn’t know before, but we’re here to behold the Lord Jesus.  Let me quickly review where we left off, and then pick up at that point.  Last week we began the final section in the book of Exodus.  We were looking at what we call the blessed out workings of redemption.  The first part of Exodus shows us how to get redeemed by power and by blood, and then the second part just shows us what will be true in our lives if we are redeemed.  It’s all illustrated graphically.  If you’re redeemed by power and blood, you will be guided, illustrated by the glory cloud.  If you’re saved by power and blood, you’ll have joy in your life, illustrated by the song of Moses and the dance of Miriam.  If you’ve been redeemed by power and blood, then God will meet all your needs, illustrated by the manna, the water out of the rock, the supernatural provision of the clothing, the quail, and so on.  If you’ve been saved by power and blood you’ll have victory in your life, illustrated by the victory over Amalek in Rephidim.  And then we had spent quite a while looking at Mt. Sinai and the giving of the Law, and if you’ve been saved by power and blood, you will be able to obey the Lord with a New Covenant obedience.

Now we’re about to study the last out working of redemption.  Praise God for guidance and for joy and provision and victory and obedience, but the book ends up with worship.  The tabernacle illustrates the final redemption out working, and that is worship.  So, we’re in the tabernacle section, but as I showed you last week, we didn’t begin with the tabernacle.  Why?  The answer is that in the tabernacle section God doesn’t begin with the tabernacle.  Listen to Exodus 25:10, “They shall construct an ark of acacia wood, 2 ½ cubits long, 1 ½ cubits wide and 1 ½ cubits high.”  He begins with the ark.  The ark was a piece of furniture.  He’s not going to build a house until He gives you that piece of furniture, and then He’s going to build a house around that piece of furniture.  That piece of furniture is everything; it’s the core of the tabernacle.

The ark, you remember, was in the shape of a throne.  Last time we looked a little bit at the ark.  It was a chest, an open box, and on the box was a lid, a golden lid, and from that golden lid were the two arms of the chair which were cherubs, one on each side, and they had their wings extended over the top which was the canopy.  It was the throne of God, a picture of the throne.  Psalm 80:1, “Give ears, shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock, you who are enthroned above the cherubim, shine forth.”  Psalm 99:1, the same truth, “The Lord reigns; let the people tremble; He’s enthroned above the cherubim; let the earth shake.” 

The ark pictured our Lord in many ways.  Of course, first of all as King, because it’s a throne; King Jesus.  The fact that there was a blood sprinkled mercy seat, propitiation, it pictures our Lord Jesus as the propitiation.  The fact that inside the ark, the throne, the Lord, the Lord Jesus, there were three articles: the Law of God, the jar of manna, and Aaron’s rod that supernaturally budded.  Because those things were in the ark, it pictures Christ.  Everything I need, you need to obey the Lord is in Jesus, under the blood.  Everything I need to have every need met from now until the time I step into heaven is in Jesus under the mercy seat, under the blood.  Everything I need to have a fruitful life, illustrated by Aaron’s twig that blossomed by the mighty miracle of God, everything I need to be fruitful is under the blood sprinkled mercy seat, in the Lord Jesus Christ, in His Lordship.  So many Christians have not entered fully into the Lordship of Christ, and they’re trying their hardest to be fruitful and to obey the Lord and to have their needs met, and they’re just beating their heads against a wall.

I want to pick up the story from there.  That’s what we looked at last time.  I told you we’re into tabernacle truth, but we’re not quite finished with the ark.  What I want to do today is to take you in the next step in the ark which will introduce us to tabernacle truth.  Before I begin that last part of the arc, I want to give an overview of how we are going to look at the tabernacle.  This is the outline we’re going to follow today and for the next several weeks, as the Lord graces us.  The tabernacle is the summary of the entire book of Exodus.  Exodus is a book of redemption in picture form.  Everything about redemption, being redeemed by power and by blood is pictured in the tabernacle.  There’s no greater summary in all the Bible of our redemption than in the details of this tabernacle.

Since the tabernacle summarizes redemption, I don’t want to look at something called a tabernacle.  We want to look at the Lord, so since everything about redemption is the tabernacle, the tabernacle is God’s heart.  What I’m going to approach is that everything about redemption is in the redemptive heart of God.  Today and for the next several lessons I want to show us what God’s redemptive heart looks like.  I’ll tell you, it’s a beautiful thing.  May God help us!  The continuation of the ark story now is the transition to tabernacle truth.  I just wanted you to know where we are.  This morning we are just going to follow that outline.

Let me give you this much.  There’s a three-fold revelation, passion of God’s redemptive heart.  The first, it’s God’s redemptive heart to find rest in His people.  We’re going to look at that this morning, and may God help us!  Then, it’s God’s redemptive heart to put every single detail about redemption in His temple, in His tabernacle, in His people.  Don’t hear that la, la, la.  You are His tabernacle; you are His temple, and He wants to put every truth of redemption in you, so that you can say, “I’ve declared the whole counsel of God.”  That’s what He’s doing.  It’s His passion to crowd into that picture every detail of redemption and how practical that will become.  The third passion of the heart of the Lord, after He has found His rest in His temple and filled His temple with redemptive truth, now we’re ready to manifest that to the world, and that’s His heart.  All of that is pictured in the tabernacle.  May God help us!

I want to pick up our study of the tabernacle with Exodus 25:12-15, “You shall cast four gold rings for it, and fasten them on its four feet; two rings shall be on one side, and two rings on the other side of it.  You shall make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold.  You shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark to carry the ark with them.  The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark.  They shall not be removed from it.”  The KJV calls it staves instead of poles.  Staves is just the plural for staff; it’s just a stick; it’s a long pole.  There were two long sticks that went through the rings of the ark so that the holy priests could carry the ark.

The question has been asked, “How many priests did it take to carry the ark?”  Most pictures you see you’ll see four; you’ll see two priests in the back, one on each pole, and then you’ll see two in the front, one on each pole.  It must have been heavy.  I read just the seat alone, the gold seat with the angels, could have been several hundred pounds, and then add to that inside the tables of the Law.  How could four people carry all that weight?  Well, it might have been a miracle.  I’ll tell you why.  It’s because of 1 Chronicles 15:26, it says, “God was helping the Levites who were carrying the Ark of the Covenant.”  What does that mean?  How did God help the Levites carry that?  Maybe He gave them extra strength, because that thing was so heavy.  We don’t know how He helped them, but we have that verse.

There’s no verse in the Bible that I could find that said that four priest carried the ark.  That’s what most pictures picture.  There is one passage that says eight people carried the ark, and whether that was true at all times I don’t know, but that’s in 1 Chronicles 15:11&12, “Four in the front and four in the back.”  Actually, their names are mentioned, those who carried the ark, in that passage.  Those poles were not to be removed forever, verse 15, “The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark and not removed.”  Besides the fact that God is holy and you don’t touch the ark, what were the poles used for?  The answer is to carry the ark from place to place.  That’s why the poles were there.  The ark was on the move.  1 Corinthians 15:2, “David said, ‘No one is to carry the ark of God but the Levites; the Lord chose them to carry the ark of God, to minister to Him forever.’” 

I want you to think of this ark as a portable throne.  It’s not in one place; it’s not established yet.  The ark is on a journey and is on the move and is heading some place; it has a destination, and it has a goal.

Think of the reality, the ark just pictures Jesus.  I like to say it this way, “Jesus is on the move and Jesus has a destination and Jesus has a goal, and it’s not different than the goal that is pictured in the ark.”  I want to spell out for you this morning, God assisting, that destination of the ark, because if you see the destination in the picture, then the reality will be very, very precious to you when you see the reality.

I like to say that the ark, the throne of God on the move, had a double destination.  Let me show you what I mean by that.  The first is expressed in Numbers 10:33, “Thus they set out from the mount of the Lord three days journey with the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord journeying in front of them for the three days,” now here’s the goal, “to seek out a resting place for them.”  Again, don’t read that la, la, la.  It’s the goal of the throne, King Jesus, to seek out a resting place for you, for me.  God is always leading us into rest.  Many Christians haven’t entered that rest, and they have to live in such a way that they think God is going to bring down the hammer on them if they make just one misstep.  It’s just like a tightrope, and they’re trying to keep their balance all the time.  That’s one; God is leading you to rest.

Here’s the other destination and it’s the one I want to focus on.  1 Kings 8:6&7, “And the priests brought the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord to its place in the inner sanctuary of the house, to the most holy place, under the wings of the cherubim, for the cherubim spread their wings over the place of the ark; the cherubim made a covering over the ark and it’s poles from above.”  That covering was probably the shadow of the wings, and so on.  The point is, the ark was brought to its place.  What’s it’s place?  We read again David’s passion, Psalm 132, “Surely I’ll not enter my house, nor lie on my bed, and I will not give sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids until I find a place for the Lord, a dwelling place for the mighty one of Jacob.”  What place is that?  Psalm 132:8, “Arise, oh Lord, to Your resting place, and the ark of Your strength.”  Psalm 132:13, “The Lord has chosen Zion.  He has desired it for His habitation, ‘This is My resting place forever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it.’”

Very often we talk about resting in the Lord, and I’m sure if you’ve sat under any of the teaching that I give, I might have mentioned it once or twice, that you have to rest in the Lord, resting in Jesus.  That’s only one part of the truth.  The other part of the truth is this.  The Lord wants to rest in you.  The Lord wants to rest in me.  He wants to have a resting place.  The question I’m going to ask this morning is not, “Are you resting in Jesus?”  I hope you are, but that’s not the question.  The question, the challenge this morning, “Is the Lord resting in you?  Has He found His resting place,” because that’s the goal of the ark?  That’ where the ark is going.  That’s where the ark is heading.

The journey of the ark from Sinai to Jerusalem, to the temple, didn’t take place overnight.  That was a long, long journey, and it wasn’t only a long journey, but God gives us the record, the details.  You can follow the ark.  I’ve done that.  I’ve found the ark, and it’s an amazing study.  It’s not only a long journey; it’s a tedious journey for the ark.  I like to word it this way and say, “The ark had a very bumpy road before it finally came to rest in the temple.”  I say it that way because that’s been true in my life; the Lord very patiently has had a very bumpy road before He could come to rest in my life.  I would like to trace the path of that ark this morning from Sinai to the Holy of Holies in Solomon’s temple.  How long was that path?  Well, in the history it was almost five hundred years.  That’s a long time, and what a bumpy road that ark had to have.

I’m just going to mention the details, and I’ll focus on the end, the last lap, just before God entered His rest.  Before that, you know, I’ll rehearse the history, that ark travelled thirty-eight years in the wilderness with God’s people.  It didn’t find rest in the wilderness, and yet it travelled with His people.  That ark went through many a battle when they first got into the Promised Land.  The Ark didn’t find rest in those many victories that were there.  Then the ark settled for a while at Shiloh, and then Shiloh became a high place, a place of idolatry.  Shiloh is the place where they divided the land among the people, and where God talked to Samuel, and revealed Himself.  Shiloh is a wonderful place, though we read in Psalm 78:58, “They provoked Him with their high places, and aroused His jealousy with their graven images.  When God heard, He was filled with wrath, greatly abhorred Israel, and He abandoned the dwelling place at Shiloh, the tent which He pitched among them.”  Jeremiah words it this way, God said, “I cast Shiloh out of My sight.” 

The ark is on a journey.  There was a time, you remember the story, when the ark of God was actually captured by the enemy, by the Philistines.  Imagine in your life, the ark is on a journey, and God wants to rest in you.  Have you ever surrendered His Lordship to the enemy?  Even though you might have been separated from the Lord, when He was in the hands of the enemy, He’s still fighting Dagon.  He doesn’t give up.  He’s still on His journey.

Then there was a period of time, according to the record, where they lost the ark in the woods.  They couldn’t even find it for twenty years.  Twenty years this thing is sitting some place in the woods, and they finally found it, but they didn’t know what to do with it, and another sixty years went by.  Even when they found the ark, finally, they handled it irreverently.  What a bumpy road as God makes His way to rest in His people!  Do you realize that from the time the ark was stolen by the Philistines until it came to rest, it never again was in the tabernacle of Moses, all that time, it never again went back to the tabernacle?  Here you’ve got the tabernacle, which is the people of God, but God is not there.   Yet they continued their sacrifices and their songs and their ceremonies and their rituals, until God finally, it’s an interesting story, He had to deal severely with David.  David said, “I want the ark here where I am, but I’m going to have to go up there to worship because the altar is up there.”  God said, “You build an altar where the presence of God is.”  That’s a long, wonderful story.

When you follow the history of the ark you can see this bumpy road that the ark took before it finally in the days of Solomon, when the tabernacle gave way to the larger picture, the temple, and the ark came to rest.  I can’t look at the whole journey, but as I said, I’d like us to look at the last lap, in other words, all this journey and God is being tossed around, and so on, and finally after many years the ark is going to come to rest.  I want to begin with 1 Samuel 4:11, “The ark of God was taken, and the two sons of Eli, Hophnea and Phineas, died.”  That was when the ark was first stolen by the Philistines, and at that point a woman was having a baby, and she named it Ichabod, “The Glory of the Lord has departed.”  It’s a long story, but the ark in the hands of the enemy was not pleasant for the enemy because really upset them.  I like the way the NAS said, “And God gave them hemorrhoids.”  I don’t know all that means, but I like the way the KJV says it, “The Lord smote them in their hinder parts.”  

1 Samuel 6:7&8, “Now, therefore, take,” these are the enemy, “prepare a new cart, and two milk cows on which there has never been a yoke, and hitch the cows to the cart, take their calves away from them, and take the ark of the Lord, place it on the cart, put the articles of gold which you return to Him, as a guilt offering in a box by its side, and then send it away, that it may go.”  The enemy thought, “We thought we captured this ark; they let us have it to destroy us.  We’ve got to get rid of this thing.”  So, they got a bag of gold and they put it on a cart.   They didn’t know what to do.  They put it on a cart and said, “This thing is alive and it’s fighting our God.  It knocked Dagon on its face.  He can drive the cart.  Let Him go wherever He wants to go.”  And it had to go against nature because they took away the calves, and so the mother cows were going against nature.

You can’t really blame the heathen because they had no idea about Deuteronomy 10:8, “At that time the Lord set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord.”  The enemy didn’t know that, and that’s why they made a cart.  1 Chronicles 15:2, “David said, ‘No one is to carry the ark of God but the Levites.”  The Lord chose them to carry the ark.  They didn’t have a clue about that.  The tragedy is, even though God’s people were excited when that cow and the ark came up, the first place it went was right to the city of priests, to Beth-shemesh.  1 Samuel 6:19, “He struck some of the men of Beth-shemesh because they looked into the Ark of the Lord.  He struck down of all of the people 50,070 men and the people mourned because the Lord had struck the people with a great slump.” 

Try to picture what happened.  That ark comes up, and these priests are so excited, and they begin to look inside the ark, and they lift the lid, and they’re looking in and there’s a parade of them.  They’re all looking in, and when they’re all done, 50,070 had looked in, and God came down and struck them all dead.  God is so holy, how in the world are we going to have a Christian life and live with such a holy God?  It was a great puzzle, and they were afraid of the ark.  They were afraid that God was going to judge them.  1 Samuel 7:2, “No one is to carry the Ark of God but the Levites.”  Notice the end there, “All the house of Israel lamented after the Lord.”  We don’t know how to live with Him, but we want to.  They missed the ark.  They want the throne of God.  They’re lamenting after the throne of God, but they don’t know how to deal with God.  God said, “I’ve got to bring you to rest, and then I’ve got to put you in a place where you let me rest in you.”

They made a huge mistake.  2 Samuel 6:3, David wanted to give it another try, let’s get the ark, “They placed the Ark of God on a new cart that they might bring it from the house of Abinadab which was on the hill, and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were leading the new cart.”  Notice the Philistine mentality, now God’s people are thinking like the heathen.  “They put it on a new cart, and that’s how we’re going to move the ark.”  You know the story.  As the cart moved along, it hit a rut in the road, 2 Samuel 6:6-7, “When they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah stretched toward the Ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen nearly upset it.  And the anger of the Lord burned against Uzzah, and God struck him down there for his irreverence; and he died there by the Ark of God.  David became angry because of the Lord’s outburst against Uzzah.”

You understand on the level of earth, but we’re talking about the level of heaven, but on the level of earth that ark was about to fall over, and Uzzah tried to steady the ark so it wouldn’t go to the place of dishonor on the ground, and he touched the ark.  Think spiritually now, as if the throne of God needs us to keep it from falling, as if we need to help the Lord!  Anyway, God says this was irreverent.  But David couldn’t understand.  He said, “How am I going to live with God?  He’s too holy.  This is crazy.  The priests just look inside the ark, and 50,070 of them die.  What kind of a God is this?  He’s too stern.  He’s too severe.  He’s too austere.  We can never serve a God like that, but oh how I want to.”  And they longed for the ark.  So, they tried, and now David is angry.

2 Samuel 6:9, “David was afraid of the Lord that day.  He said, ‘How can the Ark of the Lord come to me?’ And he was unwilling to move the Ark of the Lord to the city of David.  David took it aside to the house of Obededum, the Gittite.”  In other words, they had come that far, and he said, “I’m not doing this.  Look at what God did.  He killed Uzzah for trying to help Him.”  And there was a house on a hill, and he said, “Bring it up there and leave it there.” 

According to the Bible the ark stayed on that private property for three months.  Does the Bible tell us what David did during those three months?  The answer is yes.  He began to study this Book to see what was wrong, and why God was so severe and so angry, and had such judgment on His people.  2 Samuel 6:11, “The Ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obededum three months and the Lord blessed Obededum and his household.”  David had made a discovery when he studied the Bible, and then he gets Word, 2 Samuel 6:12, “Now it was told King David, saying, ‘The Lord has blessed the house of Obed-edum and all that belongs to him, on account of the Ark of God.’  David went and brought up the Ark of God from the house of Obed-edom into the city of David with gladness.”

Because David had studied the Bible, here’s what he learned.  1 Chronicles 15:13, “Because you did not carry it at first, the Lord our God made an outburst on us.  We did not seek Him according to the ordinance.”  David discovered by studying the Bible that God had said that only the Levites could carry it, and he saw now a way to touch God through the Word, and he got excited.  He said, “Let’s try again.  We’re not going to do it with the Philistine mentality.”  They are close to entering rest, and to having God enter rest. 

I know when I was struggling in the earlier days of my Christian life, I honestly thought that Christians were lying.  I thought it was a bunch of baloney when they tell me they’re victorious and resting in Christ, not anxious, and they have peace.  How come I don’t?  I was seeking the Lord.  I was asking God.  Rather than believe them, I thought they were just faking it, because I tried everything in order to enter into that and it wasn’t working.  But then there comes a time that you see somebody, and you say, “That’ real.  There’s something about them.  He’s not faking it.  He’s not lying.  He’s telling the truth.”  That’s what happened with Obed-edum.  The ark was there and God didn’t send down fire.  The ark was there and God didn’t kill him.  The ark was there and he was being blessed and his whole family was blessed.  David said, “Let’s give it another shot.  Let’s try again.”

A big part of this final lap, getting close to rest/rest, my rest/His rest, is what is in 2 Samuel 6:14-15, David dancing before the ark.  Remember that story?  Oh, let’s go through it.  There was a great parade, now trust me on these details, you can check them out, it was about ten miles from the house of Obed-edum to Jerusalem.  David said, “Let’s do it right this time.  Every six steps let’s offer an animal sacrifice,” for ten miles, every six steps they offered blood.  He said, “Now only priests can carry the ark.  If they get tired..  868 consecrated priests were called together in case they had to change who was going to carry the ark.

“We can’t go without music.”  Remember when Paul Greenlee shared with us about the choir, and so they had harps, and they had lyres, and they had loud sounding cymbals, and they had a great choir.  And right in front of the ark there were a bunch of priests blowing trumpets.  This is an amazing thing.  They’re moving the Ark of God, but the thing that touched my heart the most was verse 14&15, “David was dancing before the Lord with all his might.”  1 Chronicles 15:13 said, “He was leaping and making merry.  So, David and the house of Israel were bringing the Ark of the Lord with shouting and the sound of a trumpet.”

David, you remember, was king of Israel, but not today.  He took off his royal garments; he’s in from of the throne of God.  He said, “I’m so glad I’m not king.”  He got in a priest’s garment, and he said, “I’m just like everybody else, I’m just a priest.  I’m not a king.  The scepter is His, the throne is His, the crown is His, the royal garments are His.  I am glad I’m not the king.”  David began to dance in front of the Lord without dying, no lightning, no fire, no wrath of God.  His dance was an unbridled joy.  He was rejoicing and making merry, a spontaneous overflow.  He said, “I’ve found the secret; I’ve learned how to touch God through the Book.  I’ve learned how to touch the Lord through the Bible, and I can dance and not die.”  He was dancing before the Lord.

When I was a child, I had a very strict grandmother and one of her rules was that when there’s a cake in the oven you walk softly because otherwise the cake would fall.  I still hear those words ringing in my ear, “Butchie, there’s a cake in the oven!”  She was always calling me to walk softly.  David was jumping up and down in front of the oven, in front of the ark, because he could, without dying, without fear of dying.  To most Christians the Christian life is a funeral.  It’s not a party.  It’s a funeral.  It’s not a wedding.  It’s a funeral.  It’s not dancing in front of the ark.  You say, “Is this when God had His rest?”  No, this is when man has his rest.  God was leading man to the place where he could dance before the Ark of God and not walk on tiptoe on eggshells, God’s watching me, He’s going to get me.  If I make a mistake He’s going to come after me.  So many Christians have that.  How few have learned the liberty of dancing in front of the throne of God without fear that God is going to come down hard upon them.  It is not a slippery slope; it’s a plateau; it’s a broad place; it’s solid ground; it’s table land; it’s a high but not a dangerous place to dance before the throne of God without fear that God is going to come down on you. So, man is at rest illustrated by David singing, dancing and making merry and having perfect liberty, and no longer afraid to move the ark of God, because they’re moving it in the God-appointed way, as it is revealed in the Book.

Let me take you to that last lap, God at rest.  It’s illustrated by Solomon carrying the ark finally to its resting place.  With great pomp and display the ark is brought to its resting place.  Let me read these verses, 2 Chronicles 5:5-7, “And they brought the ark and the tent of meeting and all the holy utensils which were in the tent; the Levitical priests brought them up.  King Solomon and all the congregation of Israel who were assembled with him before the ark were sacrificing so many sheep and oxen that they could not be counted or numbered.  Then the priests brought the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord to its place into the inner sanctuary of the house, the Holy of Holies, under the wings of the cherubim.”  And what glory filled the house!  Verse 12, “All the Levitical singers, Asap, Heman, Jeduthun, and their sons and kinsmen, clothed in fine linen, with cymbals, harps and lyres, standing east of the altar, and with them one hundred and twenty priests blowing trumpets in unison when the trumpeters and the singers were to make themselves heard with one voice to praise and to glorify the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice accompanied by trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and when they praised the Lord saying, ‘He indeed is good for His lovingkindness is everlasting,’ then the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.”

Notice in that passage I just read, it said, “When, when, when, when…. Then.  When they did this.”  And what was the when?  It was when they had a common voice, when they praised the Lord, when they began to glorify God, then the house with filled with glory.  2 Chronicles 6:41, there’s a wonderful relationship between praising the Lord and filling, “Now, therefore arise, O Lord God, to Your resting place, You and the ark of Your strength; let Your priests, O Lord God, be clothed with salvation and let Your godly ones rejoice in what is good.”

When that throne, that ark, was put into the Holy of Holies in Solomon’s temple, God’s journey was over.  That’s what He was waiting for, His resting place.  He had the endured the neglect, He had endured all the irreverence, He had endured the resistance, He had endured the bumpy road.  He brought man into rest and man learned to sing and dance before the throne of God, and now He comes to His rest, and when He comes to His rest the house is filled with glory and man is driven out; there’s no room for man; God in/man out.

Let me remind you as we close, this has been God’s heart from the start.  Way back in Exodus 25:8 He said, “Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them.”  We’ve often talked about a skin-covered house; He sought a house of skin.  I’m not going to go through those verses, but you can see them on your sheet.  The tabernacle was a house made out of skin that God wanted to fill with His glory.  Just pinch your arm; you are a house made out of skin that God wants to fill with His glory, and He wants to settle down and rest in you, and He wants His throne to go into your inner sanctuary, into your Holy of Holies.

I was sort of amazed because as I was going through Exodus, God was getting bigger and bigger and bigger, and Mt. Sinai and He got so big, and I’m thinking, “Boy, by the time we come to the end of Exodus He’s going to be so huge,” but it went the other way.  Instead of greatness, I didn’t expect limitation.  This great God said, “I want to come and live in you, to live in a tent.  I want to move around in a house made out skin.”  Imagine somebody on a hillside, a heathen, looking down as they were marching, you’ve got a million plus in front, and a million plus in back, and the tabernacle all covered up in the middle, from the mountainside I think that would look like a funeral procession.  They couldn’t see inside.  They didn’t see the gold, the silver, and all of the precious things that were inside.  They couldn’t see the oil, they couldn’t see the spices, they couldn’t see the wonderful things inside; millions of dollars inside, but that was the treasure in a clay vessel.  Here is a great God and He’s come to live in us.  It’s one thing to know that God has come to abide with us and live in us and bring us into rest.

When I look back into my history as a Christian I have to blush.  How patient He was!  When I read this about the bumpy road, I’m telling you, I’m just reading my own autobiography.  I set up my high places and He endured that.  I presumed on Him and He endured that.  I neglected Him and I continue in all the forms and the mechanics when He was far, far away.  I treated Him irreverently.  I tried to help Him.  All those things I read about were true in my life.  How often I’ve had Philistine mentality and tried to use the ways of the world and the thoughts of the world and tried to advance the Kingdom, advance the throne using worldly methods.  You can’t advance the throne using worldly methods.  Finally, God in His grace made me willing.

I’m just going to remind you of these great truths.  1 Corinthians 6:19, “Do you not know your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have from God.  You’re not your own.  You’ve been bought with a price.  Therefore, glorify God in your body.”  When they praised the Lord, the Bible says, “The temple was filled with glory.”  As I come to a close of this little lesson, I wonder if we could make as our prayer 2 Chronicles 6:41, “Now, therefore arise, O Lord God, to Your resting place, You and the ark of Your might.”

It’s the passion of God’s heart to give you rest and for Him to rest in His temple.  Let me just describe for you what it means.  What does it mean that God is at rest?  What exactly does that mean?  When is God at rest?  The answer is when His throne is in the inner sanctuary of your heart, when nothing matters but the will of God.  That’s His throne.  Until then He’s not at rest.  He wants to rest in you and there’s nothing else but the will of God.  You say, “Well, is that the full picture of God resting?”  No.  There’s another.  Not only the will of God, the throne, but the glory of God.  When you come to the place where you can say, “Nothing matters in my life but the will of God, and nothing else is important except that He gets glory,” God is at rest.  That’s what it means for God to have rest.  Psalm 29:9, “In His temple everything says glory.”  It’s all about His glory. 

You can’t pray, “My Kingdom come,” until you pray, “My kingdom go.”  Your kingdom has to leave.  He came in and they were driven out.  I love that song, “Lead Me to Calvary”.  “King of my life, I crown you now, Thine shall the glory be.”  That’s what it means for God to rest.  From the moment you got saved, and I don’t know when that was, you know when it was, the moment you trusted Jesus, from that moment until now He’s been on a journey.  He wants to bring you to rest, and He wants to rest in you.  How far has He gotten on that journey?  He’s patient.  How far has He gotten?  Are you able to have the liberty to jump up and down and dance before the ark of God without fear of being killed because you’ve learned to touch Him through this Book?  May God bring us to rest!  Is it your prayer that nothing matters in my life anymore except the will of God, and that He gets glory?  May God work that in us!

That was the ark, the passion of God’s heart to rest in His temple.  Now that becomes the beginning.  God will now begin to talk about the tabernacle.  Next week, Lord willing, we’ll begin there. 

Father, thank You for Your Word, not what we think it might mean, but everything You know it means.  Work all of that in our lives and our hearts.  And, Lord, we do want to be able to rest in You and not be afraid to live the Christian life, but to have the liberty to know that when You are on Your throne and Your will is being done and everything is redemptive, we can dance and rejoice and sing and praise You at all times in every place.  So, work that in our heart.  Give us rest and then enter Your rest.  We ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.