Put The Tables In The Ark
Deuteronomy 10:1 – At that time the LORD said unto me, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first, and come up unto me into the mount, and make thee an ark of wood.
Deuteronomy 10:2 – And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which thou brakest, and thou shalt put them in the ark.
Deuteronomy 10:3 – And I made an ark of shittim wood, and hewed two tables of stone like unto the first, and went up into the mount, having the two tables in mine hand.
Deuteronomy 10:4 – And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the LORD spake unto you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly: and the LORD gave them unto me.
Deuteronomy 10:5 – And I turned myself and came down from the mount, and put the tables in the ark which I had made; and there they be, as the LORD commanded me.
Hello readers, thanks for reading today. In this blog I am going to be talking about “Put the tables in the ark”. Today we are going to see that we have to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, and his righteousness. The ark is always a picture of salvation, and salvation is only found in Jesus Christ. The setting is that Moses had received the ten commandments the first time, and no sooner had he got them, then he raced down from the mountain to see the children of Israel breaking them.
These verses made a lot of sense to me recently. A lot of people don’t understand the Old and the New Covenant. Just like they don’t understand law and grace. Just like they don’t understand who God is. They don’t understand who God is, because they’re trying to know God apart from what he has written. We get such a negative view of the law and the ten commandments, Christians do! Crazy! There was nothing wrong with the law, the law is just a picture of what a perfect, righteous, blessed and accepted of God life looks like. Too high for us huh. When God gave the law to the people, the law was showing the people what righteousness is, what godliness is, what cleanness is, what holiness is. We need to be taught what those things are, because we so far from them.
God said, if you do this, you will be accepted by me and blessed. And it is blessed to live right and do right in life. Isn’t it? God is holy, and he says to us, be ye holy, for I am holy. God was showing them this is the standard for the manner of person he will accept. You do this, and we’re all good. And the people agreed to that deal. Yeah we’ll do that. But look at those ten commandments, and it’s a life that can’t be faulted. Jesus Christ was the only one who kept them, and nobody could find any fault in him (and it wasn’t for lack of trying). The ten commandments are the picture of someone who loves God and loves others, who does right.
But while the ten commandments and the law is a godly life… the problem is we are like those children of Israel down there at the base of the mount. Moses leaves, and they go into sin immediately. God making a contract, a covenant, with man based on keeping the law was always bound for failure. Making a covenant based on conditions of a certain level of human performance was going to be problematic wasn’t it. Imagine God making a deal with you. You, reader, don’t sin, think right and do right all the time and I’ll bless you. Well unless you’re deluded, that isn’t a good deal because the performance expectations are impossible Because we are sinners. Those ten commandments, we aren’t that. We aren’t righteous. People today have their own standard for righteousness, and can’t even keep that. How much less keeping God’s eternal standard of holiness and perfection? That’s why people can’t handle God’s word, because it burns up all their self righteousness, hypocrisy, double standards and contradicted morality.
There was nothing wrong with those commandments that God gave. But there was plenty wrong with us. But the thing is, that standard God required of man never changed. It’s important to see that. God still does require holiness. Just where we get our holiness from has changed. Instead of our holiness, we have to look to Jesus Christ’s keeping of holiness as what we’re trusting in. Often we get to thinking the God of the Old Testament is different to the God of the New. But he’s not. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.
So they’d broken the law, and the tables were broken. But then God says to Moses, go and hew two more tables of stone like the first, and God wrote again the same law on those tables. God’s standard for perfection and holiness has not changed the whole way. The only problem was making a deal with man saying I’ll bless you and accept you only if you do them was going to be impossible. Because mankind doesn’t have the kind of righteousness and holiness and perfection that the ten commandments speak of.
This is why the Bible says that the law could only point us to Jesus Christ. Instead of being an instrument by which we elevate ourselves above others and pride ourselves on how good we are, it was a rod that took us to obedience to Christ. Paul wrote that the law was a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. And we see that pictured here don’t we. This time, put the tables in the ark. Paul wasn’t just making this stuff up. God tells Moses to get tables of stone, come up to the mount, and he will write the ten commandments on them again. God hasn’t lowered his expectations. He hasn’t compromised his holiness. He hasn’t changed his word. But this time, God says, put the tables in the ark.
What we are reading is where the ark of the covenant started. Moses made an ark and put the tables of stone with the ten commandments on them in the ark. Ever wondered why it is called the ark of the covenant? Because God made a covenant with man based on them keeping the law, but nobody ever kept the law. But Jesus Christ is the ark of the covenant, because in him the law was perfectly kept. You can’t keep the covenant, but you can put your trust in the ark of the covenant, where the law is kept perfectly unbroken. That’s Christ.
When I’ve written “put the tables in the ark”, it means we must trust in Christ’s keeping of the law, Christ’s righteousness, Christ’s perfection. You know, Jesus Christ is the only man God ever accepted. He is the only man who ever pleased God. He is the only blessed man. Jesus Christ is the ark of the covenant, because he kept the covenant, and he is our only hope.
What’s interesting in this scripture is that God himself wrote on the tables of stone. We aren’t dealing with the word of man. A lot of people have that attitude to God’s word. It’s just the word of men. No, this was God’s writing. God’s word didn’t change from the first tables to the next set of tables. God’s word is unchanging, incorruptible and eternal. The Bible is God’s word. What’s even more incredible is that he wrote according to what he spoke. What God says and what God has written are one and the same. People say “God said this to me”, but it conflicts with what God has written, meaning they’re liars, plain and simple. Furthermore, God gave his word to Moses and the people. God has given what he says and has written to mankind. Thank God for that. We have it from the horse’s mouth. And we have the Bible, where we can read all about Jesus Christ, our ark of the covenant. Put the tables in the ark.
God had spoken out the fire to these people. You know, his word is that holy and pure and true. We have such a low estimation of God’s word, but God’s word speaks out the fire to us today. When the blowtorch is put to our lives, what will remain? Without Christ’s righteousness, we will all be consumed in the fierce wrath and holiness of God. It’s because God is that holy and that good. No sin, no flesh, nothing can abide in his presence. God’s word is that pure, his standard that high, they said to Moses, make him stop. They couldn’t endure what was being said. It’s the same today. Stop Bible bashing, stop quoting scripture, stop saying “the Bible says”.
But back on track… so often we trust in our own righteousness. We aren’t looking to unbroken, perfectly kept tables in the ark. No, we’re trusting in our broken tables in our hands. We’re trusting in our own works, what our hands have done. We don’t see just how broken the tables in our hands are. Our hands can only break them. Even for saved people, we can so easily fall into trusting in how we are living. But the thing is, all we’ve got in our hands are broken tables. Look down, see the broken tables our hands have made. But in the ark, in Jesus Christ, the tables are unbroken. He is the only one who is righteous, holy, perfect and good. So often we measure ourselves by how well we are doing, but if we’re honest, we’re never doing well enough. If you aren’t trusting in the perfect tables in the ark, all you’ve got is a broken covenant which you’ve broken. And you’re in trouble with God.
What we see here is God was teaching Moses about the one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. Jesus stands between God and man today. He is the only way man and God can be reconciled, the covenant met, the holy and perfect demands satisfied. Jesus is our requirement for perfection, without him, you’ll never have perfection and holiness and righteousness and goodness. When Moses made that ark of wood, God was showing Jesus Christ’s humanity. Jesus became flesh and blood. He kept the law as a man. Fully God, but fully man.
And then because of Christ’s keeping of the law, Christ authored a new covenant between God and man. The covenant is not our performance, but trusting in he who did the performing. Who performed everything under the law. Prophet, priest, king. He performed every sacrifice and fulfilled every righteousness. The Old had to be kept, it had to be fulfilled. Jesus said he didn’t come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it. He said not one jot or tittle shall pass from the law, until all be fulfilled. Jesus kept the law, he pleased God, he satisfied God. That why put the tables in the ark. Put your trust in the ark of salvation, the ark of the covenant.
Under the law, they had to keep bringing sacrifices, blood kept on being shed. Because they kept sinning, and sins kept having to be atoned for, but the blood of animals could never pay the price of their sin nor purge their conscience or bring spiritual deliverance. Compare that to Jesus blood, upon which the new testament in based. Jesus’ blood was shed once, and his blood shed once atones for all our sins forever. He was the perfect sacrifice for our sin, and now our sin is paid for, now our sin can be forgiven, and he doesn’t just deal with our guilt, but he gives us new life when we believe on him.
You know, it’s only ever going to be Christ who is good enough. As much as man is on the endless journey of self righteousness, proving self worth, bettering self, turning over new leaves, being the best version of yourself… it’s only ever Christ who is going to be accepted and blessed by God. Moses put the tables in the ark and he said “and there they be, as the LORD commanded me”. He never took those tables out of that ark. They stayed there, and they’re there to this day. Maybe you’re trying to put your broken tables in the ark, you’re trying to get God to accept you based on your broken works and broken life… but God never will. Put your trust in Jesus Christ, and leave your trust in him.
Unless you trust in Christ’s righteousness, unless you have his righteousness by faith, you won’t be accepted by God. We’ve got to leave the tables in the ark. Trust in who Jesus Christ is, and what he’s done for us. Only he is worthy. God’s never overshadowed you and said “this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” to you. He only did that with Jesus Christ. “Hear ye him” that voice said from heaven. Are you going to hear him? The children of Israel entreated Moses to hear no more from God. How said is that.
What’s amazing also is the picture of the Holy Spirit in this story. You can compare this scripture to 2 Corinthians 3. The second time was different to the first time in that this time the tables were not broken, and this time the tables were in the ark. God gave the law the first time, and it killed. But with Jesus Christ, God gave us the Spirit of God. Did you know God wrote that law in our heart when we got saved? God writes his law in our hearts when we get saved. If you’re in Christ, if you’re trusting in Christ, if your faith is in Christ, well in Christ that unbroken law will be in you. Those commandments are in our hearts. That makes a very big difference. That’s why a saved person wants to obey God, that’s why a saved person has a desire there for righteousness, holiness, purity and truth. Because it’s in them. God has changed them. On the basis of Christ, you are born again and forever changed, you’re a new creature. It’s not possible without being born again of the Spirit of God, whom God has promised to send and give to all who believe on him.
There’s a big difference between that law being imposed on someone who’s nature is to sin and trying to keep it with best efforts, and that law being written in your heart where you have a new heart to please and obey God. When you put your trust in Christ, he will change you. Salvation is a new birth and a new creature.
There was only ever one ark of the covenant. There was only ever one set of unbroken tables. The only way the covenant would ever be kept between God and man was Jesus Christ. Only Jesus could keep the ten commandments. And only he did. He never sinned once. He stands alone. Later on, the contents of the ark would be added to, the manna would go in there because Jesus is the bread of life, and also Aaron’s rod that budded, picturing Jesus Christ’s death, burial and glorious resurrection upon which our faith, hope and life rests.
So we’ve seen that the old covenant presented a standard of living that was good, and holy, and just. But it had no power to save us. It only showed us the sinners that we were. But in that Old covenant, God showed us the ark of the covenant. He showed us hope and rescue and salvation in it. We saw the rainbow in the covenant. We saw a scarlet thread in it, that God showed us. God said, put the tables in the ark. Jesus fulfilled that covenant, he died for those who had sinned under it (that’s all of us), and authored a new covenant with us based on his death, burial and resurrection. The new covenant isn’t our performance, but believe on Jesus Christ, and he’ll save you and give you life. Through him, God accepts us, through him we have peace with God, through him we can be made righteous. We see the Mediator, we see Jesus. Who says Jesus isn’t in the Old Testament?
Hopefully today you see broken tables in your hands. Just like Moses saw. You’ve broken the law of God. Look down at your hands which have only broken God’s law, which have continuously worked sin and death in your life. You’re not righteous. You’re not good. You can’t make it. God’s never changed the standard of holiness that he requires. He’s never changed his word. It’s the same today. He requires the same holiness and perfection for acceptance and endurance with him. What a terrible covenant to agree to with God. They didn’t know what they were agreeing to. They didn’t see their sin. That’s why the law was given first, how could you see Jesus until you get your thinking straight on who you are? If you’re trying to be good enough, even your own twisted brand of self righteousness will never be good enough. God’s standard imposes a demand so high, so pure, so clean, so righteous, so good… we fall so dizzyingly and desperately short we are without hope… that is, if we did not see the ark in that covenant, the ark of that covenant.
There was hope in that covenant, a hope in a person that would come, a person that would fulfill that law, a person that would be good enough, a person that would keep the ten commandments, and because that person kept it, he would be able to cause us to make it as well. Jesus is that ark. Right back in Deuteronomy we are being introduced to Jesus. We are seeing God’s pure, holy, eternal word. We are seeing righteous commandments. But we are seeing the depravity of man.
You and I look down today at broken tables in our hands. We each have ten fingers on our hands. Count out the commandments. Guaranteed in your hands, you’ve broken them all. Your works of life have only served to break the law of God, to show how unholy and unrighteous you are. Contrast looking at your hands to Jesus. Jesus said, look at his hands… and you see the nail prints. Perfectly kept commandments, perfect righteousness, perfect holiness… yet nails driven through his hands because he’s paid for what you and I have endlessly broken. Jesus took our sin for us. Our sins under that covenant had to be paid for. God doesn’t subvert and pervert justice and look that other way, no, our sins required blood, the blood of Christ, in order to be atoned for.
I look at the tables in my hands, I look at God’s word and my life, I look at my works, and I’m like those in Acts, who Peter said, with wicked hands we’ve taken and slew Christ. Jesus had to die for me to live. Every single lamb that was ever offered under the law, it was all pointing to Christ. He would be cut off, yet he would bud and blossom and bring forth fruit just like Aaron’s rod. If you’re looking for buds, blossoms and fruit in your life, you won’t be that without Christ. When you feed on him, on his word, on his truth, on his life and light, you’ll find he is the bread of life, he is manna from heaven. But maybe he is “what is it?” to you now as the manna was to them… but when you believe on him, you begin to get to know the Saviour of the world.
See your broken tables, see how you’ve broken what God’s given you to do, but look at the unbroken tables of perfection and righteousness in the ark. The only unbroken tables are in the ark still. “And there they be”. Is your faith and hope still there? Is your faith unwavering, unchanged? It doesn’t matter how good you think you are, you’re not up to God’s standard. And God sets the standard, this world makes its own moral code, but God’s word hasn’t changed. The same commandments were written again. God hasn’t changed.
You know, what was in the ark was so far away from us that when the Philistines looked into the ark, God killed thousands and thousands of them. God is holy. Uzzah touched the ark, and God killed him on the spot for it. God is separate from sin. We need to get back to seeing the holiness of God, the purity of God, the fire of God. We need to hear the voice out the fire. We need to look to the ark, our hope, our safety, our rescue, our salvation. Jesus kept the law, he is righteous, he is perfect. And because he is, he became the author of salvation to all who believe on him. He is the ark of the covenant. Believe on him, be saved, and trust in him today. Put the tables in the ark and leave them there. Put your trust in Jesus Christ today.
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Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 32 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – kjvbibletruth.com/about :)
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