11Then it came to pass, when all the people had completely crossed over, that the ark of the Lord and the priests crossed over in the presence of the people.
1 Corinthians 10 tells us that what happened to Israel was for our example. Hebrews speaks of the Old Testament being a shadow of the good things to come. As we have studied the nation of Israel as they entered the land of their destiny, we understand that what they learned and experienced, we can use to help us as we enter our destiny.
They had to be obedient and walk by faith in order to enter their promised land. We must do the same. They had no natural guarantee of success against the obstacles they faced. Neither do we. They did have the power of God available to see them through to the final conclusion. So do we. They had to stand until the whole nation was across the river. We must continue to obey and believe God until we see the whole of his purpose accomplished in or lives.
Today I want to look at another point that will help us accomplish our destiny in God. It must have been a difficult thing for them to stand and hold the Ark on their shoulders for that whole day. This was a heavy wooden box covered with gold. I am sure, as they watched person after person go by, they would have liked to put it down for a while. As I read the account, however, they held it the whole time.
The Ark represented the presence of God. It is where the presence of God sat in the tabernacle and the temple. I believe the presence and power of God is the key to seeing our world affected for the Lord. That being said, why couldn’t they just put it down? Why couldn’t they put it on a stand or a cart, or something? Why did they have to carry it the whole time?
I believe we see the answer in another story that took place many years after Israel conquered the promised land. In 2 Samuel 6, David wants to bring the Ark back to Jerusalem. It had been in enemy hands and David believes it is time for it to take its place among the people of God. He puts the Ark on a new cart. I think this is important, because David has a good attitude. He is trying to treat the Ark correctly. However when the ox pulling the cart stumbles a man reaches out to protect the Ark and is struck dead. Why?
Later we see David trying once again but first he goes to the Word of God and finds out how God says the Ark should be handled. It is supposed to be on the shoulders of the priests. David’s cart was new. It hadn’t been used for anything else. However even a new cart was not God’s way to carry the Ark. Only on the shoulders of the anointed priest could the Ark be carried.
Why is that so? Well, first of all because God said it was so. We need to understand how God wants Holy Things handled. Even good ideas will not work if they are not in tune with the principles God sets forth in his Word. I think there is another reason that we must understand today. Technology, no matter how new, useful or good cannot carry the presence of God. The presence of God can only be carried by the priesthood. In the New Covenant we are all priests to a Holy God. If we are going to see our world changed by the presence of God we are going to have to carry it to the world.
I am all for using technology. I love gadgets. I use a computer instead of a paper notebook. I like gadgets and I use them anytime I can. However, even though we use technology or new methods or any other things, we must always understand the presence of God can only be communicated from people to people. We can use the tools, but we cannot expect them to do our job.
Let me illustrate. In the mid to late 1980’s there was a movement among certain streams of ministry to use satellite TV to preach the Word. Now I have no problem with satellite TV. However in this particular use there would be broadcasts from large churches or conferences that would be sent to small churches throughout the world. The idea was that even you in your small ministry can have the privilege of hearing the “big name” preachers just like they were in your church.
This was before the days of the small dishes we are familiar with today, and many churches spent thousands of dollars to buy big unsightly satellite dishes and large screen projection TV equipment so they could participate in these meetings. It may sound like a good idea however the end result was that the local church pastor was just an MC for the “famous” preacher. The local praise and worship was made to look small by the wonderful “professional” worship team and nobody was drawn to the church or really got saved.
For me the last straw was when someone said to me, “This is how the gospel is going to be preached to the whole world.” No it is not. Technology as a tool is fine, but the presence of God is transmitted on the shoulders of an anointed priesthood. There will never be a time when the person to person communication of the Gospel is replace by technology. There will never be a day when the personal touch of one Christian to another will be unneeded.
The only way for Israel to enter their destiny was for the anointed priests to carry the presence of God on their shoulders until they saw the task accomplished. I believe, if we are going to fulfill our purpose in this generation we must realize that it will be done by the presence of God and although technology or new methods can be helpful, they cannot do our job for us.
Wood can hold up electric wires but electricity must be transmitted by a conductive medium. Technology can support the extension of the presence of God, but it can only be carried and transmitted to the world and those around us by you and me.