When a group of people attend a ministry conference, the conversations during breaks or over a meal are likely to include discussion of theological insights gleaned from the conference sessions. Such was the case Thursday. I was sharing lunch with a pastor and we were talking about our respective observations about some of the conference speakers’ key points.
My lunch companion and I began to talk about connections in Scripture that were new insights for us. He shared a personal observation that Moses’ straw basket bed is a type of “ark”, as well as Noah’s stringently constructed wooden “ark” and the gold-covered box known as the “Ark of the Covenant” crafted and carried with great care by the priests during the Hebrews’ wilderness years. All were conveyances, though each was very different and their respective contents were also quite different.
I’ve been thinking about that conversation, and especially about the three arks, the significance of each and what they had in common. The commonality that occurred to me was that each was associated with a new beginning. For the Hebrews, Moses’ life, preserved by the midwives and the quick thinking of his family, made it possible for him to be available eighty years later to lead a new beginning for the enslaved Hebrew people when God tapped him for the role of rescuer.
Generations earlier, Noah had been called to build a conveyance and used it to rescue the people and animals that would be a new beginning for God’s fallen creation.
After Moses’ meeting with God on Mount Sinai and the provision of the tablets of the Law, the Hebrew people followed God’s directions and built a conveyance for the tablets. Those tablets provided the instructions for their new beginning as the nation of Israel being formed by God. And the Ark of the Covenant would be borne by the priests who led the way with it as they crossed the Jordan River to their new beginning in the Promised Land.
In the Old Testament, new beginnings are accompanied by arks and facilitated by their special contents. In the New Testament, Jesus Christ is the conveyance of the Holy Spirit. He is our rescuer, the ark of the New Covenant of love and grace. His provision of salvation makes it possible for us, too, to be arks…..conveyances within which the Spirit of God is borne and from which new beginnings emerge.