1 Kings 8:9 There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets of stone which Moses put there at Horeb, where the LORD made a covenant with the sons of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt.
Did you catch that one? I never saw that before. The ark is empty except for the tablets. Those are the only things left. No rod, no manna, just the Commandments.
Did they cease to need that reminder of the Lord’s shepherding and His faithfulness? Where did these treasures go? Were they stolen?
Even though the artifacts are spectacular to think about (remember, I grew up watching Indian Jones before he went looking for aliens) I happen to believe that God’s presence would have filled the temple with nothing at all in the box. In fact, the only reason He wanted a box is so that He could burst out of it and show you that you can’t contain Him in a box.
Check it out:
1 Kings 8:10 It happened that when the priests came from the holy place, the cloud filled the house of the LORD,11 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD.
I like it better in 2 Chronicles 5:
11 When the priests came forth from the holy place (for all the priests who were present had sanctified themselves, without regard to divisions),12 and all the Levitical singers, Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, and their sons and kinsmen, clothed in fine linen, with cymbals, harps and lyres, standing east of the altar, and with them one hundred and twenty priests blowing trumpets13 in unison when the trumpeters and the singers were to make themselves heard with one voice to praise and to glorify the LORD, and when they lifted up their voice accompanied by trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and when they praised the LORD saying, “ He indeed is good for His lovingkindness is everlasting,” then the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud,14 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.
Can you picture it?! Oh, how I wish I could have been there! What would it have sounded like? How think was the cloud?
God, let your glory fall here on this house! You are good and your lovingkindness is everlasting!