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Lessons from the Mercy Seat

“Now when Moses went into the tent of meeting to speak with Him, he heard the voice speaking to him from above the mercy seat that was on the ark of the testimony from between the two cherubim, so He spoke to him.” (Num 7:89)

The ark of the covenant was a box (albeit a very fancy one) that contained, among other things, the tablets of stone engraved with God’s contract with Israel.  That contract was God’s promise to them that if they followed Him, He would abide with them.  The lid to that box was called the mercy seat, and it was adorned with likenesses of two angelic beings, cherubim, whose wings stretched out and overshadowed that box… and it was from between those two cherubim that God spoke to Moses.

The New Testament tells us that all these things were shadows of greater spiritual things (see Hebrews 8:5).

Every Jew knew – God’s seat of mercy sits on top of His covenant.  Without the tablets of stone, there is no box, there are no promises, and there is no mercy seat.  If you want God’s mercy, you have to accept His covenant, too.

The Scriptures condemn you.  There are times we read the holy text, and our shame just wells up within us like a fountain of guilt.  If you’ve ever been reading your Bible and felt small and unworthy, you’ve been reading it correctly.  It should cut us deeply, so Jesus might mend the wound completely.  We need His healing, and the shame we feel leads us to adore Him all the more.  He who is forgiven much, loves much.

Upon the mercy seat, we find Jesus.

For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh, I serve the law of sin.  (Rom 7:22-25)