The ark of the covenant contained the two stone tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments, which was the most sacred object of the tabernacle and later in the temple in Jerusalem, where it was placed in an inner area called the Holy of Holies. Also within the ark were the golden pot of manna, such as was provided by God in the wilderness wanderings (Exodus 16:4) and Aaron’s almond rod (Numbers 17:1-13).
There was the place where God met with His people. In Exodus 25:22, God said, “And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony…” This place was above the mercy seat of the ark of the covenant, under the wings of the two cherubim. The psalmist calls it “the secret place of the Most High… under the shadow of the Almighty”.