Day 11, Chapter 11: The Spoiler
One of the greatest offers in the history of the world was made centuries ago to a man named Obed-edom. At the instruction of David, king of Israel, he was asked if his living room could be the Holy of Holies for a while.
And David was unwilling to move the ark of the Lord into the city of David with him; but David took it aside to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. Thus the ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months, and the Lord blessed Obed-edom and all his household.
(2 Samuel 6:10-11)
Can you imagine being asked, “Would you mind if we placed the ark of the covenant in your home for a few months?” If you were a lover of God, this honor would have been unimaginable. Remember, in Obed-edom’s day, it was over the ark that the very presence and glory of God hovered.
How would you respond? “Uh, I don't know, King. I’ll have to think about whether or not I want the shekinah glory of God hovering in my living room for the next three months.” I don’t think I’d have had to pray about it. Obviously, Obed-edom didn’t.
Can you imagine finding your wife and blurting out, “You’ll never guess what is in our living room!” And what about the conversation with your kids: “Now, guys, you can look but DON’T TOUCH!” And don’t you just imagine that his house became the first choice for the neighborhood home group!
One can only guess what it was like at Obed-edom's home for the three months the ark was there. Did they sit for hours and stare at it? Did it ever get dark in the house? (Think about it). Was the whole house permeated by the presence of Yahweh? Was there a constant haze? Did people fall down when they walked by it? We don’t know the answers to these questions, but we do know “the Lord blessed Obed-edom and all his household” (v. 11) during this unprecedented season. We also know that when David finally moved the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem, Obed-edom packed up and moved his entire household with it, becoming a gatekeeper in the tent that housed it [the tabernacle of David] (1 Chronicles 26:1-4). One can almost hear his conversation with David: “If you think, Your Highness, that after having the presence and glory of God in my living room for the last three months I’m going to live without it, you’re badly mistaken. You’re taking me with you!”
It was David, a lover of God, who decided to go after the ark and bring it to Jerusalem. “Then David consulted with...every leader. And David said to all the assembly of Israel…’Let us bring back the ark of our God to us, for we did not seek it in the days of Saul’” (1 Chronicles 13:1-3). What a sad epitaph for a leader: “The presence of God was not sought after during his reign.” And what sad days those must have been for the Lord.
I’m certain He was pleased when David, a man after His heart, wanted Him and His presence to be the focal point of the nation once again. Yet the process turned out to be difficult. Due to the inappropriate way the ark was transported, a man felt compelled to touch it in an attempt to steady it, an act that should have been avoided. The consequences of doing so had been clearly explained by Yahweh. He was killed by the glory of the Lord, which resulted in great fear and a three-month delay. This is why it made its way to Obed-edom’s house.
Finally, David discovered the correct way to transport the ark and it was relocated to Jerusalem. Obed-edom, however, was not about to buy into the separation. “Pack up, guys,” he told the family. “We’re moving.”
I’ve done the Obed-edom thing - sort of. Obviously, it wasn’t exactly the same but was about as close as you could get to it nowadays. Thirteen years ago (in 2008) we had a special series of meetings in the church I pastored in Colorado Springs. On Sunday morning, a prophetic guest dropped the bombshell: “Put everything else on hold and for ninety days do nothing but 24/7 worship. Just as Obed-edom hosted the ark of His presence for three months, God is asking you to do the same,” he declared.
My mind started racing: Was this really a word from Holy Spirit? Should we try it? Could we pull it off? What about our other programs? How would this affect the church? These and other questions flooded my mind. But…
We did it! We did the Obed-edom thing.
The next three months became the best of my life. Like Obed-edom, I was spoiled. The logistics were challenging, of course, but the worship never stopped. And the presence of God in our sanctuary for the next ninety days, well, it was thick and weighty. I cancelled all but a couple of my speaking engagements during the three months and spent several hours every day just hanging out with God.
Not only did it change my life, it changed the lives of hundreds others. People took their vacation days and spent them with God. Occasionally, families brought sleeping bags and spent the night, “camping out” in His presence. Many came on their lunch breaks. A few people came and spent time with Him every day; one lady actually spent every night there. An Air Force colonel came every morning on his way to work and every night after work. At the end, all who participated were ruined. Normal, for us, had become radical. Thirty minutes, and few worship songs on Sunday morning would never again satisfy. The Obed-edom thing causes BIG problems. It’s now easy to see why Obed-edom didn’t even try to fight it. “I’m addicted,” he said with his actions. “Where the ark goes, I go.”
David seemed to understand. “No sense in arguing with him; he’s ruined. He’ll never outgrow or outlive it. Make him a doorkeeper at the tent.” David, too, became “addicted.” I finally understood how he could say, “A day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside” (Psalm 84:10). David also said, “One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple” (Psalm 27:4).
I get it.
You, too, can do the Obed-edom thing. No, not 24/7, but nonetheless, the Lord wants to come to your house. His presence is no longer limited to an ark in a Holy of Holies. Pursue Him. If you do, like the bride looking for her groom in the Song of Solomon, He’ll let you find Him. Oh, how He wants to be found. Until you experience this pleasure, you’ll never really understand it. Once you have, you’ll never again be without it.
Pray with me:
Father, we’ve tasted of and seen Your goodness, and we hunger and thirst for more. We want to host You and Your presence and we want this for others. Let us encounter Your heart to such an extent that we are ruined for anything less. Come, show us Your glory, reveal Yourself to us. Thank You for letting Yourself be found by those who seek You wholeheartedly.
One day with You, Jesus, is so much better than a thousand spent anywhere else. May dwelling in Your presence be our highest aspiration, our greatest fascination, and the deepest longing of our hearts. Let all things pale in comparison to time spent in the pleasure of Your company.
Yahweh, humankind’s fallen nature, aided by satan and religion has distorted the perception of Your true nature. No longer seen as a loving Father, You are perceived as distant, uncaring, impossible to please, and as a harsh judge. May the coming “presence movement” shatter these misperceptions, just as surely as Christ did when He revealed Your nature 2000 years ago. And may Your Abba-heart be seen by a lost, hungry world. In Christ’s name we pray...Amen.
Today’s post was taken from my book The Pleasure of His Company.
Dutch Sheets, The Pleasure of His Company (Grand Rapids, MI: Bethany House Publishers, 2014), pp 89-96.