WHEN THE LORD CAME TO OBED-EDOM’S HOUSE

2Sam. 6:11 And 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.

I love the story of the Levite, Obed-Edom. He was probably a poor Levite, probably just getting by like everyone else. His story serves as an amazing contrast to what had just happened to Uzzah. Uzzah had touched the ark with his hand, forbidden in the law, and suffered the consequences of death. He had been helping transport the ark to Jerusalem where David planned to build a temple. Uzzah’s sudden and shocking death caused a sudden change of plans. Obed-Edom lived near where the tragic incident took place. He kept the ark at his house for the next three months and he and his family were incredibly blessed. Here is how Matthew Henry describes this blessing.

“The Lord blessed Obed-edom and all his household. The same hand that punished Uzzah’s proud presumption rewarded Obed-edom’s humble boldness, and made the ark to him a savor of life unto life….Let masters of families be encouraged to keep up religion in their families, and to serve God and the interests of his kingdom with their houses and estates, for that is the way to bring a blessing upon all they have. The ark is a guest which none shall lose by that bid it welcome. Josephus says that, whereas before Obed-edom was poor, on a sudden, in these three months, his estate increased, to the envy of his neighbors. Piety is the best friend to prosperity. In wisdom’s left hand are riches and honor. His household shared in the blessing. It is good living in a family that entertains the ark, for all about it will fare the better for it.”

For those that don’t know, the ark was the resting place for the real presence of God in the Old Testament. The ark was kept in the holy of holies in the tabernacle of Moses and in Solomon’s temple. This is where the cloud would manifest. David was making Jerusalem the capital of Israel and was setting up a temporary tabernacle there until a permanent temple could be built. The tragedy with Uzzah happened as the transport was taking place.

What should I take from this story? First, God’s presence is real and He is holy, He must be revered and respected. Secondly, welcome Him into your home. You and your house will experience the blessing of Obed-edom.

HE GIVES GIFTS TO MAN

Eph.4:8 – Therefore it says,

“WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH,

HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES,

AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.”

This immediately reminds us of what Jesus said to the woman at the well, “If you knew who I was and if you knew the gift of God you would ask of Me and I would give you living water. John told us that this river of living water would come when Jesus was exalted to the right hand of God. In today’s verse Paul is quoting from David’s Psalm about the resurrection and exaltation of Christ. When He took His place at the Father’s right hand He began to give the greatest gift imaginable, the gift of the Spirit of God. When man receives that gift, the gifts of the Spirit are also given and begin to be poured out. Here is a beautiful quote from the English Puritan Isaac Ambrose on David’s prophesy.

“No sooner is Christ inaugurated in his throne, but he scatters his coin, and gives gifts. He gives gifts, or the gift of gifts, the gift of the Holy Ghost…..But, O my soul, consider especially to whom this Spirit was given; the application of the gift is the very soul of thy meditation: “unto us a Son is given, “saith the prophet; and “unto us the Holy Ghost is given,” saith the apostle; and yet above all consider the reasons of this gift in reference to thyself. Was it not to make thee a temple and receptacle of the Holy Ghost? Stand a while on this! Admire, O my soul, at the condescending, glorious, and unspeakable love of Christ in this! It was infinite love to come down into our nature when he was incarnate; but this is more, to come down into thy heart by his Holy Spirit: he came near to us then, but as if that were not near enough, he comes nearer now, for now he unites himself unto thy person, now he comes and dwells in thy soul by his Holy Spirit.”

WOW – WOW – WOW !!! God Himself is this gift, as Ambrose said, the gift of gifts. We who have received this gift have the precious Spirit of the Lord living inside of us. For those who have never received this gift, it is available right now. Jesus is exalted to the Father’s right hand and is giving out this gift of gifts to whosoever will. Today just may be your day to receive the gift of your lifetime, the gift of God Himself.

A PLACE WHERE ALL OUT THOUGHTS ARE DROWNED

2 Cor.9:15 – Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

Some things are just too good for words. That’s what Paul is saying in today’s short scripture verse. Paul had come to the conclusion in all of his searching after God, that His gift was beyond even his ability to describe. The Father’s gift of the Son, the Son’s gift of the Holy Spirit, both are too big and too good for words. Here is how Albert Barnes describes this gift.

“This is a gift unspeakably great, whose value no language can express, no heart fully conceive. It is so because

(a.) of his own greatness and glory;

(b.) because of the inexpressible love which he evinced;

(c.) because of the unutterable sufferings which he endured;

(d.) because of the inexpressibly great benefits which result from his work. No language can do justice to this work in either of these respects; no heart in this world fully conceives the obligation which rests upon man in virtue of his work.”

Barnes was stunned by the greatness and the glory of God. What does that have to do with His gift? The gift of the Son and the gift of the Holy Spirit give us a glimpse of the greatness and goodness of God. Jesus reveals God’s goodness by His unmatched love for us. The Holy Spirit touches on His greatness, the unlimited, eternal nature of God. We see clearly through His gift that God is great and God is good. We also see God’s love in the suffering and death of Jesus. This is a display of the amazing love of God. We also taste His love in the outpouring of His Spirit on us. The Holy Spirit is the manifest essence of the love of God. We also see the unspeakable nature of His gift in the effects it has on people.

A great example of the effects of His great gift was seen in our church this weekend. Two of our Mary’s Song graduates graduated from Bible College and were given ministerial credentials. For those that don’t know, Mary’s Song is our live in program for young women whose lives have come off the rails. For these women to be born again and transformed into women of God is amazing enough, but licensed ministers; that is just indescribable. Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift. Here is a bonus quote from Charles Wesley on today’s verse.

“A vast unfathomable sea where all our thoughts are drowned.”

FAVOR AND VISITATION

Job 10:12 KJV – Thou hast granted me life and favor, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit.

Job recognized the source of His prosperity in life. He attributed it to the favor and visitation of the Lord. There are some very important things we can learn from this short verse of scripture that can help us in every arena of our lives. First, recognizing the significance of the favor of God. Favor is closely associated with grace. The favor of God rested mightily upon the sons and daughters of God by faith in Christ Jesus. It is because of the forgiveness we find through His blood that we have access to this favor of God. We also see the importance of looking to the Lord rather than to our own talents and resources for our success in this life. The Lord is the creator, possessor, and distributor of all things. Look to Him and experience his favor. Next, Job acknowledged God’s visitation in His life. Visitations center us. When God comes down in our lives, we see His greatness and our need for Him. Times of visitation are essential in all of our lives. Here are some thoughts from Adam Clarke on today’s verse.

“Thou hast granted me life and favor. Thou hast brought me from my mother’s womb; given me an actual existence among men; by thy favor or mercy thou hast provided me with the means of life; and thy visitation-thy continual providential care, has preserved me in life-has given me the air I breathe, and furnished me with those powers which enable me to respire it as an agent and preserver of life. It is by God’s continued visitation or influence that the life of any man is preserved; in him we live, move, and have our being.”

The favor of God on our lives produces two major things. First, it glorifies the Lord. When we experience unusual favor and blessing on our family, business, and ministry people take notice. As we point them to the Lord His name is exalted. Secondly, we taste His goodness and experience unspeakable joy and satisfaction in our lives. Experiencing the favor and blessing of God is why we are created, discovering this finally brings us to a place of rest and contentment. What a blessing to be able to say with Job, “Thou hast granted me life and favor, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit”.

SHOWERS OF BLESSING

I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.

Ezekiel 34:26

 

Until your eyes are open you can’t even see it. Sounds familiar? That’s exactly what Jesus said to the Pharisee Nicodemus. Unless a man is born again he can’t even see the kingdom of God. That’s how it is with mercy, until you have eyes to see humans often think they are responsible for their blessing and success, Nothing could be further from the truth. Our prosperity comes directly from the Lord. It is His showers of blessing that cause us to be a blessed people. Here is how Charles Spurgeon describes it.

 

“Here is sovereign mercy-I will give them the shower in its season. Is it not sovereign, divine mercy?-for who can say, I will give them showers, except God? There is only one voice which can speak to the clouds, and bid them beget the rain. Who sendeth down the rain upon the earth? Who scattereth the showers upon the green herb? Do not I, the Lord? So grace is the gift of God, and is not to be created by man. It is also needed grace. What would the ground do without showers? You may break the clods, you may sow your seeds, but what can you do without the rain? As absolutely needful is the divine blessing. In vain you labour, until God the plenteous shower bestows, and sends salvation down.”

Some people call it luck, I call it divine favor. If you remember the prayer meeting in Acts 4; you know, the one where the building shook, the Lord answered their prayer with showers of blessing. Luke said that great grace was upon them all. Everyone in that early church began to experience the supernatural favor of God upon their lives.

If you look carefully at today’s verse you will notice something. The blessings of God can be described as seasonal. Maybe, just maybe, you are about to step into one of those seasons of blessing. The time of drought comes to a close, the heavens open up, and showers of blessing began to fall on the sons and the daughters. The seed sown in tears began to sprout and bear fruit. Listen closely, I think I hear the sound of an abundance of rain. Showers of blessing are surely coming your way.

MORE LORD

Luke 11: 13 – If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

I think many of us sell ourselves short when it comes to spiritual things. We try to get by on our past experiences when continual fellowship with the Lord and outpourings of the Spirit are part of our inheritance. In today’s verse the Lord reminded us how much a Father wants to give good things to his children. He goes on to say how much more will your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him. The good news is this, God’s giving is part of His eternal nature. In other words He never stops! His giving of Himself through the Holy Spirit is constant and abundant. There is always more available. Here are some thoughts from Jonathan Edwards on continuing in His presence.

“This is not too great a blessing to be sought. Though it be a blessing that would render a people exceeding happy, yet this is not a happiness too great for a people to desire and seek. So merciful is God that those blessings that are the greatest blessings, and tend most to our happiness, are those that we have the greatest encouragement to seek of any. We may, therefore, doubtless seek not only the bestowment of it, but the continuance of it We are allowed to seek the continuance of outward mercies. Thus we are directed to seek the continuance of our outward food, and to pray that God would give us day by day our daily bread. But we stand in more need of the continuance of our spiritual food, of having that bestowed from day to day, and much more than our outward food. ‘Tis true that when such a blessing is bestowed remarkably on a people, ’tis ordinarily but of short continuance. But yet that is no argument that we ought not to seek, or that it is too great a happiness for a people to desire, or ask of God.”

If you think about it, it is impossible for the Lord to stop giving and flowing. His very nature is like a fountain. It is inevitable that the fountain overflows. So don’t settle for reflecting on the good old days, He is here now and is pouring out His Spirit.

NO SHADOWS

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

The sun is one of the great pictures of God that the Creator has placed in His creation. Everything in our world is totally dependent on the sun. There is a constant flow of light that rains down on the earth. It gives us light, and heat, and the energy that is the source of all plant and animal life. This is a great picture of the constant stream of life that flows to us from the Father of lights. James spoke about this continual giving nature of our Father pictured by the sun. James pointed out one major difference; with the Lord there is no shadow of turning. No nighttime, no winter seasons and no eclipsing of His nature. He is our constant source of life and provision. Here are some thoughts from Adam Clarke on this incredible Father of Lights.

“The sun, the fountain of light to the whole of our system, may be obscured by clouds; or the different bodies which revolve round him, and particularly the earth, may from time to time suffer a diminution of his light by the intervention of other bodies eclipsing his splendor; and his apparent tropical variation, shadow of turning; when, for instance, in our winter, he has declined to the southern tropic, the tropic of Capricorn, so that our days are greatly shortened, and we suffer in consequence a great diminution both of light and heat. But there is nothing of this kind with God; he is never affected by the changes and chances to which mortal things are exposed. He occupies no one place in the universe; he fills the heavens and the earth, is everywhere present, sees all, pervades all, and shines upon all; dispenses his blessings equally to the universe; hates nothing that he has made; is loving to every man; and his tender mercies are over all his works: therefore he is not affected with evil, nor does he tempt, or influence to sin, any man.”
Why does it seem like the Lord is hidden from us and His blessings are blocked from us? All of God and His blessings are revealed in His Son Jesus Christ. Look to Him, bow before Him in worship, seek Him in His word. You too will soon find yourself swallowed up in His beams of light and life.

WHEN WE COME UP EMPTY

amanda-kerr-40591.jpg

The barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Elijah.
1 Kings 17:16
Merry Tuesday by Parris
Life happens when we reach for our barrel of resources and find it empty. You thought for sure the last time you looked, it had more reserves but now your hand is scraping the bottom of the barrel. Is your cruse of oil empty? Did you fall asleep in the process of living and have been awakened only to come up dry? Please see the faithfulness of divine love. Christ is ever so patient waiting for us, to expel all of us, down to the very last drop.

Famine comes in all sorts of ways. A bad doctor’s report, a tragic accident, absentminded on the job and you are given a notice. From economic collapse to spouses walking out. We find ourselves suddenly depleted. Even more excruciating is when others seem so unnoticed by your need that they reach out their hand for more. God has a funny way of calculating the math. We call it the miracle of multiplication, when God takes over our empty. The scripture reference refers to a widow that is taking her last meal with her son. We don’t know the whole picture other than there has been a famine in the land and she is a widow eating her last meal. Elijah is directed by the Lord to visit her because provision is coming not only to her and her son but to Elijah as well.

McClaren’s commentary says, “no sacrifice to God is ever forgotten and he will not be indebted to no-one”. So as the widow prepares the meal for the prophet, “the barrel wasted not nor the cruse of oil”. God’s math takes over and the household has supply for many years.

Did you wake up to trouble my friend? Has your barrel shown up empty and the cruse of oil gone? Allow the Holy Spirit to visit you again with fresh rains from heaven and he will bring his storehouse with him. Did you lose your way in some offense with another brother or sister? Has man failed you yet again? Look again in your cupboard and see you still have that last barrel of flour and that small cruse of oil. You may not like the messenger but look again and you just might see God’s mighty angels. Never, never discount God’s means of provision. There is “he that scattereth, and yet increaseth”. Your barrel will be full of peace and your cruse of oil will be poured out in love. The infinite riches of God that he has for you can never be exhausted. He supplies in the most miraculous ways!

THAT INEBRIATING CUP

Pas. 23:5 ¶ You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;

you anoint my head with oil;

my cup overflows.
That inebriating cup, so precious and so unexpected. I never dreamed in a million years that the anointing of the Lord would satisfy, equip, and intoxicate at the same time. What a shocking, yet welcome, blessing. The very tool that God used to equip us for the work goes so much farther. It adds the blessing of joy unspeakable to the equation. Here is how Augustine described it.
“Thou hast prepared a table in my sight, against them that trouble me. Now after the rod, whereby, whilst a little one, and living the natural life, I was brought up among the flock in the pastures; after that rod, I say, when I began to be under the staff, Thou hast prepared a table in my sight, that I should no more be fed as a babe with milk, but being older should take meat, strengthened against them that trouble me. Thou hast fattened my head with oil. Thou hast gladdened my mind with spiritual joy. And Thy inebriating cup, how excellent is it!”
The cup and the oil; oil for the head, wine for the glad heart. This is the double blessing of the anointing. Here is Matthew Henry’s description.
“Thou anointest my head with oil. Samuel anointed him king, which was a certain pledge of further favor; but this is rather an instance of the plenty with which God had blessed him, or an allusion to the extraordinary entertainment of special friends, whose heads they anointed with oil. Nay, some think he still looks upon himself as a sheep, but such a one as the poor man’s ewe-lamb, that did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom; not only thus nobly, but thus tenderly, are the children of God looked after. Plentiful provision is made for their bodies, for their souls, for the life that now is and for that which is to come. If Providence do not bestow upon us thus plentifully for our natural life, it is our own fault if it be not made up to us in spiritual blessings.”
That is the power of David’s Psalm. On one hand he is talking about the natural blessings enjoyed by a simple farm animal. At the same time he is describing the unthinkable, seated as kings at the table of the Lord.

HE GIVES AND GIVES

Who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.
1 Timothy 6:17
At the end of the day, receiving from the Lord boils down to perception and trust. In order to get under the flow of His shockingly abundant provision of life, we must believe that this type of life is available. Many of us have never realized how great our God is, His love for us, and how much the Lord wants to participate in the smallest aspects of our lives. He is often perceived as a far off God who is only involved in our lives in times of crisis or great need, never even noticing His tendency toward blessing and details. There is also that trust thing. We tend to thing that the Lord drives a hard bargain and is after our stuff and our fun. Seeing Him as He is, a lover and a giver, is the liberation that changes the way we live our lives. Here is a powerful word from Spurgeon on this giving tendency of our God.
“Our Lord Jesus is ever giving, and does not for a solitary instant withdraw his hand. As long as there is a vessel of grace not yet full to the brim, the oil shall not be stayed. He is a sun ever-shining; he is manna always falling round the camp; he is a rock in the desert, ever sending out streams of life from his smitten side; the rain of his grace is always dropping; the river of his bounty is ever-flowing, and the well-spring of his love is constantly overflowing. As the King can never die, so his grace can never fail. Daily we pluck his fruit, and daily his branches bend down to our hand with a fresh store of mercy. There are seven feast-days in his weeks, and as many as are the days, so many are the banquets in his years. Who has ever returned from his door unblessed? Who has ever risen from his table unsatisfied, or from his bosom un-emparadised? His mercies are new every morning and fresh every evening. Who can know the number of his benefits, or recount the list of his bounties?”
So do you get it? His branches of bounty and blessing are so full that they are bending down waiting for us to reach out our hand to receive. Have you been to His table yet today? If so, like Spurgeon you can’t have left unsatisfied. This more than enough God has had you in mind all along, when you see Who He is and His love for you, your life of blessing begins.