Read verses 2-6
Q: What does the ark represent? How would you compare it to the treasures already brought into the temple?
A: The ark of the covenant represents the Word of God. Whereas they had accumulated and brought into the temple very great earthly treasure, God’s Word is the greater, incalculable, spiritual treasure. It’s actually far more valuable than anything else, even greater than the sum of everything else combined.
Application: What do the things of God mean to you or your church? Have you ever known someone to be more concerned about the building, a program, or traditions more than anything else? Often the things people speak about the most is what they’re actually the most proud of. Where does commitment to the Word of God fit into that behavior? What does it reveal?
Q: What is historically significant about the ark being brought into the temple?
A: It’s the first time in a very long time that the ark and the tabernacle (or now, temple) would be together as originally intended. The ark had not been returned to the Holy of Holies since it was wrongly taken into battle with the Philistines and temporarily lost. The tabernacle subsequently moved to Nebo, then Gibeon, and now the temple was built in Jerusalem. The ark has resided the whole time separate and in a tent of its own.
Point: Mishandling the Word of God can result in actually losing the Word of God, or at least dividing and fragmenting a ministry or organization.
Q: What is the feast on which this occasion falls on? How might this fit in with the overall picture of what’s taking place?
A: This is the Feast of Booths, marking the completion of the harvest and commemorating the wanderings in the wilderness, a time when they were supposed to live in temporary booths and tents to remind them of how their forefathers lived before permanently settling in the Promised Land. It came five days after the Day of Atonement, which was when national reconciliation to God for sin was made by the people fasting and the high priest offering sacrifices for atonement.
So just as their celebrations prepared them spiritually by first being personally reconciled through the Day of Atonement and then reminding themselves of the permanence they now enjoy in God’s presence through the Feast of Booths, so the restoration of the ark and the transition from the tabernacle to the temple paralleled these experiences and teachings.
Q: The only people required for the moving of the ark were the Levites. Why did Solomon insist on participation by everyone at every level?
A: The goal is not merely a symbolic restoration of God’s Word by reuniting the ark with all the things of God in one place of worship, but a real and actual return so there will be true, spiritual reconciliation of ALL of God’s people.
Point: A pastor or leader in and of themselves may remain committed to the Word, but it’s application and acceptance for the church at large has to come from everyone’s commitment to it. It’s doers of the Word which God seeks, not merely listeners. Until there’s a unified commitment, they’re just as fragmented as when the Ark and tabernacle resided in different places.
Q: What is the greater meaning of the fact that the sacrifices on this occasion “could not be counted or numbered”?
A: They gave no regard to the cost of re-establishing God’s Word. Their unlimited visible commitment matched their inner and complete spiritual commitment.
Point: People who are truly committed to God’s Word embrace and establish it as their highest priority, especially over the things of this world.
Application: How well do you consider that you can measure the quality of an organization, movement, or church by their priority to God’s Word? Is it alright if it, say, comes in third on their list because the first two things are really terrific and worthwhile endeavors? What do you think of those who won’t bother attending a Bible study, much less reading God’s Word daily?