First Things First

Know what's important.

Exodus 25:10-16 (ESV)

“They shall make an ark of acacia wood. Two cubits and a half shall be its length, a cubit and a half its breadth, and a cubit and a half its height. You shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and outside shall you overlay it, and you shall make on it a molding of gold around it. You shall cast four rings of gold for it and put them on its four feet, two rings on the one side of it, and two rings on the other side of it. You shall make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. And you shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark to carry the ark by them. The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark; they shall not be taken from it. And you shall put into the ark the testimony that I shall give you.

God specifies the ark first. The house is being designed around the things in the house, not the other way round. This may seem odd but it makes perfect sense, especially in view of the structure of ancient languages.

Putting something first is a way to emphasize it. In Biblical Greek, a word may be placed first in a sentence for emphasis. This is called prolepsis.

Understanding this is crucial to the correct translation of the last part of John 1:1 – “and the Word was God.” In the Greek, “God” (Theos) is actually the first word. That’s for emphasis.

Putting the most important thing first isn’t just an ancient practice. Newspaper articles put the most important things first.

The Ark of the Covenant is God’s throne. It is described first because it is the key to the whole tabernacle. Everything else is in support of the ark and God’s presence above the ark.

And inside the ark will be the Ten Commandments – the most precious document in the history of man.

What’s the most important thing in your house? Last year, I’d have been tempted to say, “The heat pump.” The microwave also rates, as does the refrigerator.

But really it’s the Holy Spirit and the angels. Have you ever prayed to expel any evil spirits from your house? This is specifically mentioned by Richard Foster in his best seller – “Prayer.”

Consecrate your home. Declare it as holy ground. In the name of Jesus Christ, command all evil spirits to leave. If you’ve been struggling lately, try praying this prayer in every room. The first time I tried that, something happened as I entered the last room that scared me so much I almost screamed.


The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.