A Raiders of the Lost Ark Devotional: The Treasure Worth Seeking

Britt MooneyBy Britt Mooney12 Minutes

Devotional #6: The Emptiness of Religion 

Belloq sits with Indiana in Cairo after Marion’s supposed death. Indiana is drinking, grieving, and the enemy says, “You’re just like me.” Jones calls him “nasty.”

Belloq argues that he’s not really one of the Nazis, who want the Ark because it would help them conquer the world. Belloq is only using Hitler to get the Ark. It’s a way to commune with God.

Once Belloq gets the Ark, he dresses up like the Israelite High Priest and opens the ancient box with Nazis all around. For those that remember from the scripture, the Ark had items within it – the stone tablets of the Law, Aaron’s rod that had budded, and a golden pot of manna.

When Belloq lifts the lid, all he finds is dust.

Well, that’s not all he finds. Indiana finally heeds the warnings and tells Marion to close her eyes. Spiritual beings like ghosts come from the Ark. They appear beautiful at first, but then they turn frightening. Lightning begins to shoot from the Ark to kill Belloq and the Nazis, everyone but Indiana and Marion.

We can seek the wrong treasure in ministry, as well.

At church when I was a kid, we had this sign on the wall in plain sight that showed the attendance and giving from the week before. The measures of success were clear, how many people in the pews and how much money gathered.

We are called to ministry, but that call can become twisted when it becomes more about worldly measures of success than what God finds important.

By those measures of success – attendance and money – the ministry of Jesus would be considered a failure (John 6:60-70). The work of Christ was not a failure, however. But we need different measures to see that.

Jesus stayed behind in a little Samaritan town and waited for a woman to come get water from the well (John 4:1-25). The woman tried to start an argument about the right place of worship, which mountain, in Samaria or Jerusalem?

Jesus answered, “The time is coming and now here when the mountain doesn’t matter. God is looking for those that worship him in Spirit-Truth.”

In the Christmas story, Zechariah is visited by an angel while he maintains worship in a temple and in front of a holy place that no longer contained the Ark of the Covenant. God’s manifest presence was absent from the Holy of Holies (Luke 1:8-12).

In a little town a few miles away from that temple, God’s presence appeared in a radical way. He came in human form. Born of a virgin, God shows up.

The New Testament goes on to explain that God doesn’t dwell in places made with human hands, like an ark or a temple (Acts 7:24). He now lives in people. We are his house, his dwelling place (Hebrews 3:6). We don’t need an object to commune with God. Emmanuel is now within us.

In the Garden of Eden, there was one thing Adam and Eve couldn’t do – decide for themselves what was right or wrong, symbolized in eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The consequence was death (Genesis 2:16). The design was to walk with God in intimacy and purpose.

The Old Covenant Law, while given by God, is only an extension of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The Law brings death; the Spirit is life (2 Corinthians 3:6).

In Christ, the Tree of Life was given back to us.

Paul tells us that circumcision means nothing. All that matters is the New Creation (Galatians 6:16). “Oh, foolish Galatians,” he says, “who has bewitched you? That which was begun in the Spirit you now try to maintain in your own power?” (Galatians 2:1-4)

Every born-again believer is called and empowered for ministry. The enemy, however, knows the best way to undermine the Gospel is to twist it back into a law we try to maintain. We call that religion or legalism.

I’m a church-planting pastor, and this is a temptation we must deal with. It is easy to make God’s call about us instead of others. We can make it about the building, the money, the fame, the clothes, the success, the reputation, the career, the competition, the position, and a million other things instead of what matters.

Any good Christian leader is aware of this easy slide into dead religion, our own weakness, and clings to God’s grace to value what is eternal.

Since we are all called to ministry with a spiritual gift (1 Peter 10:11), every follower of Jesus must deal with this. What is the motivation of our heart? Love God and others or our own selfish pursuits dressed up like Christianity?

As Belloq’s exploding head makes graphically clear, this is a serious self-examination with life and death consequences.

Father, thank you for bringing us true life through your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Give me the grace and discipline to stay humble and focus on what is eternally important in every relationship and circumstance. Amen.

Devotional #7: The Treasure Worth Seeking

Indiana Jones has two fatal flaws. First, he doesn’t believe in the unseen realm, where he would understand true value. Second, because of the first, he chases the wrong treasure.

Indiana finally makes the right decisions at the end of the movie, dealing with both flaws. First, he chooses Marion over the Ark. Belloq has the Ark and Marion on an island. Indiana fights his way, follows them, and points a bazooka at the Ark of the Covenant.

“You can keep the Ark,” Indiana says. “All I want is the girl.”

Now he’s after the true treasure.

Blowing up the Ark would kill Marion, and Belloq calls his bluff. So Indiana surrenders to save her. When Belloq opens the Ark with Nazis all around, Indiana believes the repeated warnings. Telling Marion to close her eyes is symbolic of trusting in what he can’t see. Finally.

Indiana Jones has come to the Truth.

There are two eternal things worth valuing in this world. First, the Word of God. Second, the souls of people.

In speaking of the Word of God, if you’re like me, then we think of the Bible. It definitely includes the Bible, but even the scripture goes deeper than that.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God, and the Word was with God. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:1-14).

The Word of God is a person. The Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). We know that Word through the Spirit, another person, who has been given to remind us of Jesus and lead us into all Truth (again, the person of God) (John 14:26).

That Spirit inspired the Bible. The Bible isn’t authoritative because we say it is. The scripture is the Word of God (the book) because it was inspired and initiated by the Word of God (the person), the same person that lives within us (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

We need the Spirit to understand the Bible. The scriptures were written by people from the Spirit to a people of the Spirit. I know plenty of people who can recite the Bible but refuse to believe in or follow God. Even demons can spout correct theology. But they aren’t children of God.

God speaks. As Jesus declares to the Devil in the wilderness, people don’t live by bread alone but by every message of a God who continually speaks (Matthew 4:4). False gods don’t speak, hear, move, act, or love. Our God does, and we must hear his voice. The mark of a “Jesus sheep” is recognizing the voice of the Shepherd (John 10:27-28).

The Bible is a tool to help us better hear the Voice. The Voice of the Spirit will always be consistent with the truths of scripture.

Indiana chooses the right treasure in Marion.

As detailed previously, people matter to God. He gave his Son to die and rise again so people wouldn’t perish but have eternal life. Since we were created in God’s image, we have eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11). How we treat people, therefore, has eternal consequences.

The treasures that we should seek – the Word of God and the souls of people. How are we digging and seeking more revelation from God? How are we using disciplines of scripture reading, prayer, corporate worship, and more to hear God’s voice more clearly?

Father, thank you for revealing to us the treasures that are worth seeking. Give me the grace to value your voice and word above all things. Help me to treasure each individual with your love. Amen.

Featured Image Credit: Mary Harrsch / Ark of the Covenant from Raiders of the Lost Ark/ CC BY-NC-SA 2.0