Leaving the Ark Home

Bible:

And a messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts of the men of Israel have gone after Absalom.” Then David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, “Arise, and let us flee, or else there will be no escape for us from Absalom. Go quickly, lest he overtake us quickly and bring down ruin on us and strike the city with the edge of the sword.” And the king’s servants said to the king, “Behold, your servants are ready to do whatever my lord the king decides.”

And Abiathar came up, and behold, Zadok came also with all the Levites, bearing the ark of the covenant of God. And they set down the ark of God until the people had all passed out of the city. Then the king said to Zadok, “Carry the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the eyes of the Lord, he will bring me back and let me see both it and his dwelling place. But if he says, ‘I have no pleasure in you,’ behold, here I am, let him do to me what seems good to him.” The king also said to Zadok the priest, “Are you not a seer? Go back to the city in peace, with your two sons, Ahimaaz your son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar. See, I will wait at the fords of the wilderness until word comes from you to inform me.” So Zadok and Abiathar carried the ark of God back to Jerusalem, and they remained there. II Samuel 15:13-15, 24-29 ESV

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you. Psalm 139:7-12 ESV

Reflection:

Sometimes an elderly person lives all alone in a house, and as they get older their families worry about them. What would happen if they fell down and couldn’t get up again? What if they felt too weak and sick to get out of bed one day? What if they hurt themselves and couldn’t reach the phone? Some people get a medical alert system. People who live alone wear a special necklace or bracelet, and if there’s a problem, they can push the button on it. Pushing the button alerts people who are on call, and they can talk to the person who is in trouble and get help quickly. But if someone wearing the necklace or bracelet leaves home and goes somewhere else, perhaps shopping or for a walk, the pushbutton wouldn’t work. It would be out of range, and the people who are on call wouldn’t get the signal from the pushbutton or be able to help if there was a problem.

When David had to run away from his capital city of Jerusalem for fear of his son Absalom, he left the ark of God behind. It might have felt to the people with David as if they were getting out of the range of God. If they were away from the ark, would God hear their prayers? Would he be able to help? Zadok and Abiathar and the Levites thought they could solve the problem by bringing the ark out of the city with David. But David didn’t want to do that. He knew that God is everywhere, and that it is impossible to get out of God’s range. He knew that God would be able to help him even if the ark stayed in Jerusalem. And he also was willing to accept trouble and loss from God. Bringing the ark with him wouldn’t make a difference if God wanted to let him lose his kingdom to his son.

Sometimes we might feel that we are out of God’s range. Maybe we are afraid of the dark, or of a new school, or a new place that seems strange. Maybe we are in a frightening situation. Or maybe we’ve done something wrong and feel out of the reach of God’s love. But we can be sure that God is everywhere, and there’s nowhere we can go that God isn’t with us or able to help us. If there’s a sin that bothers us, we can be sure that God forgives us. Jesus came to die on the cross for us so that our sins would never separate us from God’s love. Whatever happens, we can be sure that God is with us and able to hear our prayers and help us in the way that is best.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for always being with us and helping and forgiving us for Jesus’ sake. In His Name, Amen.

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