Bringing the Ark Home
Paul L. Garlington
 


While I am bold to say that I have found the secret of life itself, I have had no end of amazement over how few people seek to know the secret, desire it, or place any value upon it. Nevertheless, here it is: THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF THE PRESENCE OF GOD IS THE GREAT SECRET OF LIFE. It is the secret of success, supply, health, harmony, adventure, and fulfillment. In other words, whenever you have a problem, don’t fix the blame, fix the problem by dealing with the only reason you could have a problem in the first place. Invariably, problems arise when we stray from the consciousness of the presence of God as omnipresent reality. Since in His presence there is fullness of joy, all problems cease the instant we return to our native rest. Remember, where God is present, perfect everything is also, and there is nowhere God is absent.

In a context of duality based upon a belief in two or more powers, all that can be seen is war, conflict, and strife. The mass media and all other forms of communication channels are replete with references to life as a battlefield. But what is the revelation of the scriptures? “The word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. Now it will come about that in the last days (Scripturally, the time in which we now live is considered the last days. See Heb 1:2; 9:26; 1 Pet 1:20.), the mountain of the house of the Lord will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills. (Is 2:1,2) The expression, “the mountain of the house of the Lord,” speaks of God consciousness or the consciousness of the presence of the Lord. So, when Jacob awoke from his sleep, he said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it...How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” (Gen 28:16,17).

Hence, when we speak of “the mountain of the house of the Lord,” we are talking about a dawning in consciousness, an awakening to the awareness that the place where we stand, where we work, play and live is holy ground for we are the presence of the power and the power of the presence. We are the tent that contains the ark. Jeremiah the Seer declared, “And it shall be in those days ...they shall say no more, ‘The ark of the covenant of the Lord.’ And it shall not come to mind, nor shall they remember it, nor shall they miss it, nor shall it be made again.” (Jer 3:16) We are the tent that contains the ark and our hearts are the new ark to contain the new covenant.

Hence, Jeremiah continues, “‘Behold, days are coming (days in which we now live),’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will make a new covenant with the house of Judah (representative of Jew and Gentile), not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband (union, oneness) to them,’ declares the Lord. ‘But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,’ declares the Lord, ‘I will put My law within them, and on their heart (the new ark) I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, KNOW THE LORD, for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,’ declares the Lord, ‘for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.’” (Jer 31:31-34) Knowing that I am the new and permanent home of the ark of the covenant, I boldly affirm, “I am the presence of the power, the power of the presence, miracles are common place events wherever I am. How awesome is any place I Am!”

If we are ever going to embrace a new lifestyle based on heartsight, we will absolutely have to stop identifying God’s presence with shrines, church buildings, or some other kind of energy center on the globe. This is the crux of the human dilemma: We are constantly locating the consciousness of the presence of God outside of, or apart from, ourselves. Nevertheless, with joy I boldly declare that the great secret of life is the consciousness of God’s presence. How can we know that secret and see it become operative as our experience if we are constantly locating God’s presence somewhere else? Obviously, we cannot. Therefore, while we will continue to emphasize the importance of the total gathering of Heartsight accelebrants every Sunday to celebrate in absolute abandon the reality that God is One and besides Him there is none else, we will not rest until we have brought the ark into our homes. With this end in view, we have decided to take the Heartsight Seminars into our homes, even like David, with great joy. In a sense, we are going underground. However, we are simply returning to normality.

I can recall with great vividness how impressed I was as I visited the Vatican and took the tour of St. Peter’s Basilica. I was in absolute awe when I saw Michelangelo’s classic work of art on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. However, a Basilica is still a place where dead men’s bones, regardless of how saintly they were, are interred. I am simply not interested in a place, regardless of how beautiful and awe inspiring it may be, that we can look to as the dwelling place of God’s presence. St. Peter’s Basilica is not the place where I stand, work, play and live. Hence, it was useless to me after my vacation was over. The great secret of life can only become a working principle when I realize I am the presence of God, for God is present as me. “I am the vine, ye are the branches.”

Describing this present era, Isaiah declares that it will be one in which all the nations are streaming to the mountain of the house of the Lord, the consciousness of the presence of God. In other words, in the last days, there will be a growing movement of people who have despaired of all techniques, strategies, and/or technologies as a passport to the good life, and instead are seeking the consciousness of God’s presence. Although, as Paul said, “God made from One every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth,” we have been dispersed, scattered, everybody going after futility, another God. But all nations, according to the prophet, will eventually flow back to the truth that God is One and we all live and move and have our being in the One. We are indeed a global family, members in particular of the beloved, global community.

Hence, “Many people will come and say, ‘Come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord (the consciousness of the presence of God), to the house of the God of Jacob; that He may teach us concerning His ways, and that we may walk in His paths.’ For the law will go forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He will judge between the nations, and will render decisions for many peoples; and they will hammer their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nations will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war.” (Is 2: 3,4) These have all discovered the great secret of getting their life back on track by giving up the battle, and seeking exclusively the consciousness of God’s presence. This is indeed life and abundance of all good things.

In the light of these present realities, we are taking our seminars into the houses of our accelebrants because we are committed to bringing the ark home. The first place Jesus went to when He began His ministry was to the synagogue. Interestingly enough, it was also the first place from which he was forcibly ejected, having been rejected. So from then on, He spent most of His time in homes and in various open air situations. Therefore one should not be surprised to observe the fact that most of Jesus’ awesome miracles occurred in homes. The old covenant is now obsolete, therefore the tabernacle/temple, with its outer court, holy place, and holy of holies which contained the ark of the covenant/Shekinah glory, is now rendered useless. It is solely for this reason that the temple in Jerusalem was razed in A.D.70. We have a new covenant written in our hearts, the new ark. He has put His laws within us, causing us to walk in His ways. From now on, we are the temple of the living God containing the new ark, constituting us the presence of the power and the power of the presence. Remember, at God’s presence, the heavens open, the mountains quake, and the enemies (the lack of all things) flee.

The story of the Shunammite woman who invited Elisha to live in her home is a wonderful example of the glorious things that can occur in one’s life when we bring the ark into our home. (2 Kng 4:8-37)

“Now there came a day when Elisha passed over to Shunem, where there was a prominent (great) woman, and she persuaded him (she would not be deterred) to eat food. And so it was, as often as he passed by, he turned in there to eat food. (Please note: She invited this man of God who had a double portion of that same spirit that rested on Elijah to come and dine in her house). And she said to her husband, ‘Behold now, I perceive that this is a holy man of God passing by us continually. Please, let us make a little walled upper chamber and let us set a bed for him there, and a table and a chair and a lampstand; and it shall be, when he comes to us, that he can turn in there.’”

In other words, this woman was so determined to have the ark of the covenant, as symbolized by Elisha, dwelling in her home, that she prepared a place for him. It is time for all of us at Heartsight to commit ourselves to prepare our hearts for the ark, at which point, because we are in our house, so also will the ark of God’s presence be there as well. Don’t worry about success, health, wealth, or any other good thing, the consciousness of the presence of God includes every good and perfect gift.

It is extremely insightful, specifically at this juncture, to look at what the ark contained for this provides valuable pointer directions as to why the ark’s return to our home is so critical. According to Hebrews 9:4, the ark contained: 1) The golden jar holding the manna; 2) Aaron’s rod which budded; and 3) The tables of the covenant.

The golden jar, which speaks of divinity, contained the manna, that is, the bread/word of God without which man does not live. But Jesus said, “I Am the bread/manna come down from heaven.” Therefore, the ark of God’s presence includes the word forever settled in heaven.

Aaron’s rod which budded is indicative of divine authority which can never be barren or unfruitful. “He speaks and it is done; He commands and it stands fast.” Therefore, having begun with God, eating the manna on a daily basis, we will find ourselves inevitably speaking as One having authority.

The tables of the covenant take us back to, “Hear O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one Lord! And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” The radical difference today is that this covenant is written in our hearts, the new ark, rather than on tables of stone. It goes without saying that this heart cannot be a stony heart or we are still under a covenant that is powerless, being obsolete.

Continuing, with our narrative, “One day he (Elisha) came there and turned in to the upper chamber and rested (How blessed is the home in which the ark has found a resting place. “The Lord has blessed the house of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, on account of the ark of God.”). Then he said to Gehazi his servant, ‘Call this Shunammite.’ And when he had called her, she stood before him. And he said to him, ‘Say now to her, BEHOLD, YOU HAVE BEEN CAREFUL FOR US WITH ALL THIS CARE; WHAT CAN I DO FOR YOU? WOULD YOU BE SPOKEN FOR TO THE KING OR TO THE CAPTAIN OF THE ARMY?’ And she answered, ‘I live among my own people.’ So he said, ‘What then is to be done for her?’ And Gehazi answered, ‘Truly she has no son and her husband is old.’”

Notice she never even mentions to the prophet the desire that is nearest and dearest to her heart. It is more than enough for her to have him stay at her house. She knows the consciousness of the presence of God includes every perfect gift. She is not seeking to manipulate or make something happen! Hence the prophet taking the initiative said to his servant, “‘Call her.’ When he had [summoned] her, she stood in the doorway. Then he said, ‘At this season next year, you shall embrace a son.’”

The woman’s response to this awesome word is interesting to say the least. “And she said, ‘No, my lord, O man of God, do not lie to your maidservant.’” In essence, she is saying, Yes, I want a son. But I haven’t asked you for a son, because I was content to have the presence of God. So don’t deceive me now by this talk of what heretofore has seemed an impossible dream. Nevertheless, “...the woman conceived and bore a son at that season the next year as Elisha had said to her.” Why? Because Elisha is the new ark and in him is the golden pot of manna, and the rod that budded, and the covenant. When he speaks, God is speaking and this word cannot return empty without accomplishing what God desires.

But then it happened. “When the child was grown, the day came that he went out to his father to the reapers. And he said to his father, ‘My head, my head.’ And he said to his servant, ‘Carry him to his mother.’ When he had taken him and brought him to his mother, he sat on her lap until noon, and then died. And she went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, and shut the door behind him, and went out.” Why? Since the word concerning the birth of the child originated with God, and knowing that “the blessing of the Lord maketh rich and He addeth no sorrow with it,” (Prov 10:22 KJV) she left the issue exclusively with God as symbolized by placing the dead child on the bed of the man of God. She is now released to keep her attention focused solely on God from whom all blessings flow.

“Then she called to her husband and said, ‘Please send me one of the servants and one of the donkeys, that I may run to the man of God and return.’ And he said, ‘Why will you go to him today? It is neither new moon nor Sabbath.’ And she said (with no reference to the dead child), ‘It will be well.’ Then she saddled a donkey and said to her servant, ‘Drive and go forward; do not slow down the pace for me unless I tell you.’” She has one thing in mind, and one thing only: Maintaining the consciousness of the presence of God in the face of this challenging appearance.

The woman, having reached the man of God, fell at his feet and said, “Did I ask for a son my lord? Did I not say, ‘Do not deceive me?’” The woman is saying, in essence, the gift of this child was totally at God’s behest, and therefore, remains God’s sole responsibility. In the meantime, and in between time, “I will not leave you (the consciousness of God’s presence).”

Elisha returned with the woman and restored her son to life. “And he called Gehazi and said, ‘Call this Shunammite.’ So he called her. And when she came in to him, he said, ‘Take up your son.’” Her behavior at this point is wonderfully insightful for, “Then she went and fell at his feet and bowed herself to the ground, and then she took up her son and went out.” Please notice, even when her son has been restored to her, she is still placing priority on the consciousness of the presence of God that is the cause of her fulfilled desire. This is indeed my definition of a great woman.

Let us prepare our homes to be a resting place for the ark of God, by preparing our hearts to seek the Lord. Awesome things occurred wherever the ark found its home. The only place that great and wonderful things were not the norm was when the ark was with the Philistines. It was because of their belief in another power besides the One that they were not a prepared place.

“And David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom into the city of David (his prepared heart) with gladness.” (2 Sam 6:12)

 
 

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