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Old Testament Briefs: The Ark was a box

I love the Old Testament and I study it a lot. I’m blessed with a great teaching pastor who loves it too. He frequently exposits chapters from the OT. When he’s in the NT, he always makes connections to the Old. As a matter of fact, our church held a community-wide seminar last Saturday called “Christ in Context”, where our teaching pastor and one of our elders led us in three sessions that connected Christ from the OT to the New:

CHRIST IN CONTEXT: New Birth and the Free Will of God’s Spirit (John 2-3)
Perhaps the most damaging teaching of the American church in the last hundred years is a low view of what it means to become a Christian. It’s hard to imagine many biblical topics that are more significant to teach well…especially to our youth. When we compare the radical nature of what the Bible teaches conversion actually is to what is often (normally?) taught in the American church, we begin to see a stark contrast. What did Jesus teach happens at the new birth? How does the new birth occur in anyone’s life?

CHRIST IN CONTEXT: The Majesty and Mercy of Jesus (Luke 7)

Scott talked about the transcendent holiness of Jesus and the sinfulness of us His people. He also covered the forgiving mercy of God in Christ and how this should create a response of deep love for Him. For, it is those who are forgiven much who love much.

CHRIST IN CONTEXT: What is Saving Faith? (John 5-6)

False faith can look outwardly a lot like the real thing. How can we tell the difference? False converts pursues Jesus because He gives bread; genuine believers pursue Jesus because he is Bread. Do you know how to spot the difference in your life? How is God’s sovereignty involved in granting faith to His sheep?

The last week or two I’ve been publishing lengthy, academic treatises on big subjects. I was trained as an academic and I write that way. However, I was also trained as a journalist and I know it’s important to vary topics and styles! I’d like to add a new, shorter series to my writing, and I’m calling my new series Old Testament Briefs or OT Briefs. When I learn a nugget from the OT, I’d like to briefly post it now and then.

Like the one below, from John MacArthur’s sermon, Noah, a Preacher of Faith. In this OT Brief, we learn the profound meaning behind a seemingly innocent word. In Genesis 6, God told Noah to build an ark. The word in Hebrew is tebah. It does not mean what you think it means…

So at the beginning, God says to Noah, Build a big box, ark, tebah in Hebrew. The word is used throughout the flood narrative and it really means box, or chest. It’s not shaped like a boat, it’s not shaped like a ship. It has no propeller. It has no pilot. It has no sails. It has no rudder. It has no captain. It has no navigator. It’s a box. 

And, by the way, it’s only used this word one other time in the Old Testament and it is used in Exodus chapter 2:3 through 5 to describe the box that baby Moses was put in, to float down the Nile. God used a box to save Moses so he could save Israel. God used a box to save Noah so Noah could save the human race. 

In both cases, the box was a refuge from death to provide a future in one case for Israel, and another case for the human race. The Ark of the Covenant is a different Hebrew word all together.

From Strong’s Concordance, we read of the two instances and the only two instances this word is used: “Genesis 6:14; Exodus 2:3; — vessel in which infant Moses was laid among reeds”.

God is so great! SDG

Sydney Morning Herald
Moody Bible Stories


Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.