What’s In the Ark?

Scripture: 1 Samuel 4-7

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will learn about the items that were in the Ark of the Covenant and their significance.
  • Students make model arks using materials to represent the different objects in it.

Guiding Questions:

  • What was the Ark of the Covenant and what were its roles in the Israelite’s history?
  • How can we create a replica of the Ark of the Covenant?

Materials: cardboard box measuring 27in by 27in by 45in (69cm by 69 cm by 114cm), gold paint (for cardboard), staff-sized stick, flowers (fake or real), jar, 2 stepping stones (you can get them for $0.50-$4 each at home and gardening stores), bread to represent manna

Procedure:
Review the story of the Ark of the Covenant being taken by the Philistines and returned. Especially focus on how it was truly powerful as was evidenced by the curse that was sent on those who possessed it against God’s desires. This demonstrates that it was more than just a structure or “good luck charm.”

Show students the materials that they will use to construct the replica of the Ark of the Covenant. Then show them the list of items that were in the Ark. Let students decide how to make a replica of the Ark with the given materials. Students can paint it themselves. As each one is used, discuss its significance. Reference Exodus 25:10-22 for specifications.

Use a box that measures 27in by 27in by 45in (69cm by 69 cm by 114cm). If you have a difficult time finding a box with these measurements, try to be as close as possible. You can also use cardboard pieces and tape the sides together with duct tape to construct your own box. Students can draw two cherubim according to the Exodus 25 description. You may want to mount these on pre-cut pieces of cardboard to make them sturdier. Add a stand by gluing a “flap” to the back of the cardboard. Then place the following items inside.

Items in the Ark of the Covenant (Hebrews 9:4):
• Jar painted gold: Gold jar of manna- Discuss how the manna represented God’s provision for the Israelites in the wilderness with there was no other food source. Explain that we do not know what it actually was and many people only assume it was similar to bread. “Manna” translates to “what is it?”
• Stepping stones: Stone tablets- discuss how they were carved by Moses and written on by the finger of God. They were probably smaller than the typically depicted tombstone size because Moses was able to create, carry and throw them using human effort. Tell students to imagine trying to carve the stone themselves!
• Stick with flower: Aaron’s staff that budded- Discuss how this was the way God showed the Israelites who he had chosen to be the high priest.

Review the various functions of the Ark in the Israelite’s history. It made the idol, Dagon fall. The Philistines captured it and were consequently plagued. God spoke to Moses from between the two cherubim on the Ark (Numbers 7). The Ark led Israel as they traveled (Numbers 10). God used it to part the Jordan River (Joshua 3). It was carried around the Wall of Jericho to make it fall (Joshua 6). Obed-edom when his household took good care of it (2 Samuel 6).

Additional Questions:

  • Why was it important for the Israelites to take care of the Ark of the Covenant especially since God was with them anyways? Remember they did not have the physical Bible as God’s Word at the time. (It was a tangible reminder of God, they had to show faithfulness by taking care of it, it was a demonstration of obedience, it reminded them of their history, etc.)

Supplemental Activity: Have students create a drama/play with the Ark of the Covenant as the starring role. They can use their new prop to act out different scenes in the Ark’s “life.” Be sure to have students research the proper way to hold/ carry the Ark. (Numbers 3,4,7)

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