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 for three months, and the Lord blessed Obed-edom and all his household.
(2 Samuel 6:10-11)
Can you imagine being asked - in Obed-edom’s day, by the way, when the very presence and glory of God hovered over the ark, “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.
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 running to 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 Obed’s 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 these answers, but we do know “the Lord blessed Obed-edom and all his household” during this unprecedented season (v. 11). 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 that I’m going to live without it, you’re badly mistaken. You’re taking me with you!”
It had been David, a lover of God, who decided to find the ark and bring it back 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 Yahweh was pleased when David, a man after His heart, wanted 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 David’s team transported the ark, a man felt compelled to touch it in an attempt to steady it, an act that should have been avoided. The consequences of touching the ark had been clearly explained by Yahweh. The offender was killed by the glory of the Lord, which resulted in great fear and a three-month delay. This is why the ark made its way to Obed-edom’s house.
David researched 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. Fifteen years ago (in 2008), in the Colorado Springs church I pastored, we had a special series of services. On Sunday morning, a prophetic guest dropped a bombshell: “Put everything else on hold for ninety days, and 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 began 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 ruined. The logistics were challenging, of course, but the worship never stopped, not even for services. And the presence of God in our sanctuary for the next ninety days, well, it was thick and weighty. I canceled 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 also changed the lives of hundreds of others. People sacrificed their vacation days and spent them with God. Occasionally, entire 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 all night, every night, there. An Air Force colonel came every morning on his way to work and stopped in every night after work. In the end, all who participated were ruined. Normal, for us, had become radical. Thirty or forty minutes, a few worship songs on Sunday morning would never again satisfy. The Obed-edom thing causes BIG problems. It’s now easy to see why he didn’t even try to fight it. “I’m addicted,” he said through 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 it or outlive it. Make him a doorkeeper at the tent.” David, too, became “addicted.” I finally understood why he would 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).
You, too, can do the Obed-edom thing. No, not 24/7. But the Lord wants to hang out in 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 refuse to ever again be without it.
Pray with me:
Father, we’ve tasted of and seen Your goodness, and we hunger and thirst for more. We desire to host You, Your presence, and we want this for others. Let us encounter Your presence 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 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. Do the Obed-edom thing around the world! Send revival! In Christ’s name, we pray...Amen.
We decree that we are hungry for the presence of our Father, of Christ, and of Holy Spirit. We will never be satisfied without it.
Click on the link below to watch the full video.
Today’s post was taken from my book The Pleasure of His Company, published by Baker Books.