The Lost Ark – Gospel in Life

The Lost Ark

Tim Keller |  February 22, 2004

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  • The Bible
1 Samuel 5:1-5; 2 Samuel 6:1-15
RS 172-11


We cannot survive in this world without the presence of God. Yet, the holiness of God creates a chasm between God and man. The Bible vividly depicts this chasm when Uzzah is slain after merely touching the ark of the covenant. In this sermon, Tim Keller shows how Jesus Christ has satisfied the holiness of God in our place, and how through Him we can finally enjoy the presence of God.

1 Samuel 5:1–5; 2 Samuel 6:1–15

David’s story shows us his deep desire to be close to God, represented by the ark of the covenant. More than just belief, David wanted to really feel God’s presence. His journey teaches us how important it is to look for and feel God’s presence in our lives, shown through the promise, problem, and provision of the ark.

1. The promise of the ark

David wanted the ark, a symbol of God’s reality, for personal reasons, not just because it was important to society and culture. He knew that without this sense of God’s approval, love, power, and wisdom, he couldn’t be a good leader or find real happiness. This kind of happiness, which doesn’t go away when things get tough and only gets stronger when other happiness fades, is what David was looking for in the presence of God through the ark.

2. The problem of the ark

The story of the ark being lost and then found, including the death of Uzzah while moving it, shows us how much we need grace and sacrifice to be right with God. Uzzah’s death wasn’t just because he broke a rule, but because he had a heart problem: he was self-righteous and tried to control God. This story warns us about the dangers of misunderstanding the gospel and not aligning our lives with God’s plans.

3. The provision of the ark

The relationship between us and God shows our need for God’s grace and the need to acknowledge our separation from Him. The idea of forgiveness is discussed, which often involves suffering and recognizing what’s wrong. It shows us that revenge just keeps the cycle of evil going, while forgiveness can end it, leading to personal growth and peace. The joy and love we can feel from God’s love is much better than the self-pity and dissatisfaction that often come from trying to be morally perfect.


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