Building a Solid Spiritual Habitation

by Richard Thomas / October 04, 2012

Psalm 127:1 “Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it…” This psalm is accredited to Solomon - the king who made his father’s dream a reality by building a permanent dwelling for the Ark of the Covenant in Jerusalem. Solomon was endowed with the wisdom and understanding to make Yahweh the focal point of every undertaking for the anointed King of Israel. "The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed; they are given by One Shepherd." Ecclesiastes 12:11 (ESV)

What is an Ark? From many, the answer to the question will be just a big boat. The Biblical definition, however, of an ark is a "box" or container with a cover or lid. A box is designed to contain something. Should the box contain valuable objects a lid is placed over the top to preserve them. Preservation of said items is insured only while remaining inside the ark - they are saved. Banks have long offered lock boxes to store valuables securely for future owner retrieval. Matthew 6:20 (ESV) “…lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

Some Bible publishers unintentionally misinform young readers, especially with picture bibles for non-readers, where Noah is adorably pictured standing on the bow of the Ark, along with our favorite animals, while watching what remains of the ancient world being swept to their death by the Great Flood. Speaking of Noah, his family, beast, bird and all other land animals – clean and unclean; “And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him. And the LORD shut him in.” Genesis 7:16 (ESV) As long as Noah and passengers remained inside the Ark they were saved. Outside the Ark they perished who were doomed to destruction.

The Ark of the Covenant was a rectangular box made of acacia wood lined inside and out with pure gold, then covered by a lid of pure gold -approximately 30” wide, 45” long, by U.S. standard measurements, called the “Mercy Seat”. “And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered gold you shall make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherubim on the one end and one cherubim on the other end. Of one piece with the mercy seat you shall make the cherubim on its two ends.” Exodus 25:18-19 (ESV) Dimensions of the gold covered box were approximately 30” high, 30” wide, 45” long, by U.S. standard measurements. Its purpose was to house three articles of testimony. 1. The Law on two stone tablets {Deuteronomy 10:3-5] 2.One golden jar of Manna - the bread that came down from Heaven {Exodus 16:33] 3. Aaron's rod resurrected by the Word of God {Numbers 17: 1-10] [All three references above may be found together in Hebrews 9:4]

Three and a half centuries after the temple of Emmanuel and city of Jerusalem was established as the focal point of The LORD's habitation, was reduced to a pile of smoldering rubble due to neglect of God's Word; as the observation and warning from scripture 2 Chronicles 36:15&16 tells us - "The LORD, the God of their fathers, sent word to them through His messengers again and again, because He had pity on His people and His dwelling place. But they mocked God's messengers, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets until the wrath of the LORD was aroused against His people and there was no remedy." Just as God used Noah to warn, verbally, the inhabitants of the world of its pending doom, He has and is using, the written word, to warn of a pending doom. They that ignore the warning have only themselves to blame.

After Noah, God raised another witness; the Children of Israel. The children of Israel were formed out of the dust of the Earth to be the light of the world. “…the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.” Romans 3:2 (ESV) What were the oracles of God? 1. The Law on two stone tablets {Deuteronomy 10:3-5] Rule of Law. 2. One golden jar of Manna {Exodus 16:33] Daily Provision. 3. Aaron's rod resurrected by the Word of God {Numbers 17: 1-10] Future Generations of prosperity. The above oracles referred to the Mosaic Covenant (Old Covenant/Testament). Under the rule of law, lawbreakers were punished according to the severity of transgression.

Not all sins earned immediate physical death. But rather became festering cancers of a theocratic society. Some experienced separation from the Jewish community, which in a sense was a form of death. If you had leprosy; to protect the community, you were not allowed back into the community until cured . Many died - a slow death. All are infected with sin. All have sinned and fallen short of God’s expectations. “All Israel has transgressed your law and turned aside…” Daniel 9:11 (ESV) There are none immune to sin. “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23 (ESV) God’s remedy for helpless humanity is a Daily Provision. God sustained His children in the past when they looked to Him for salvation.

God never fails. He will not fail to provide for His children. History records repeatedly in the Bible the reward for remaining faithful, despite what our eyes tell us. See Matthew and John chapter 6. The hope for future generations is stated in Jeremiah 31:31-34 promising under the New Covenant that our sins will not be remembered. Jesus came into the world to take away the sin of the world. Jesus was not impervious to sin. He chose not to sin. 

Just as the Old Covenant was sealed in the blood of the Passover lamb,  the New Covenant is sealed, forever, in the blood of Jesus. After the Passover supper with His disciples; "...He took the cup, after supper, saying, "This is the cup of the New Covenant in my blood..."" [1 Corinthians 11:23-25] (ESV) This is the point of communion in His name.

That's not to say Jesus was never tempted by the devil. The devil was in Jesus' face from the manger to the Cross. In the between, Jesus demonstrated what total surrender to God looks like. Jesus said to his disciples before ascending to the Father; " the Father sent me, even so I am sending you." John 20:21 (ESV)  

Under the New Covenant. it is in the name of Jesus God remembers our sins no more. “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 (ESV) New life begins with Jesus. Eternal life is ours when the Holy Spirit abides in us as promised by Jesus in Johns gospel chapters 14, 15 and 16. Being in Christ secures your eternal future.

Just like Noah’s family were saved only by abiding in the ark. So, too, you must remain in Christ. You can’t live outside of Christ and be saved. Jesus is the foundation for salvation. Ignoring the building instructions for a secure foundation has devastating eternal consequences. Collapse is eminent without Christ as our foundation.

How can we be sure we are not laboring in vain? “According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone is building upon it, Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than the one that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 3:10-11 (ESV)

It is written; “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the world.” Hebrews 1:1-2 (ESV)

Salvation is a free gift of God through faith in Jesus Christ. It can’t be earned, it is a gift. The finished work of Christ on Calvary’s Cross is sufficient provision for future generations. The gift must be accepted by faith to begin regeneration. Just like a new born child, the evidence of the regeneration process is a craving for God’s word. God’s word is spiritual nourishment for the child of God. "Give us this day our daily bread. " Matthew 6:11 (ESV) “Therefore we must pay close attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” Hebrews 2:1 (ESV) As the One shepherd, Jesus, knows his sheep and they know His voice.

I have witnessed the phenomenon of a shepherd calling one sheep out of a flock. The shepherd calls and one head out, a head pops up, a lone sheep comes running to the shepherd, hoping to get some food. They always want food! I’ve seen a stranger call out to a flock of sheep, only to see them ignore or run from the stranger's voice.

Do you know the Good Shepherd? Is Jesus the foundation for everything you do? Do you recognize His voice? “The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd.”         Ecclesiastes 12:11 (ESV)