Exodus 40:20 And he took and put the testimony into the ark, and set the staves on the ark, and put the mercy seat above upon the ark:
The testimony mentioned here is the law. It is placed in the ark. We must never forget God’s holiness. He is pure and right. The law shows us our need of the Lord. Even back in the Old Testament God wanted us to see that we would never be able to meet with Him or please Him without His intervention. He placed the mercy seat above the ark. That is a symbol saying that mercy is above law. We come to meet with Him. The law drives us to our knees. But He placed His mercy seat above the law and if we will just trust the sacrifice made for us then we will experience that mercy.
The Tabernacle was about God meeting with man. It was His initiative. He came to us. We couldn’t get to Him. Our sin had separated us from His pleasure. He had warned Adam that in the day he ate the fruit he would die and he did, spiritually. But God came to us. He showed us our need. Then He met our need.
We now worship Him. We see our need but He doesn’t bring that up. He speaks from the mercy seat. Our sin and failure drives us to trust His mercy. He in kindness speaks to us from His mercy!