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.

WHEN YOU WALK INTO THE ROOM

Mark 5:41,42 – Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, “Talitha, cumi,” which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise”. Immediately the girl arose and walked…

Everything changes when Jesus visits your house. If you don’t believe me just ask Jairus. It would be impossible for Jairus to forget the day Jesus came into his home. No one living in that region would ever forget it either. What had started out as a day of mourning for the death of Jairus’s daughter turned into the greatest celebration these parts had ever seen. Jesus took the little girl by the hand and the rest is history. Resurrection power flowed from Him into her and she was suddenly back in the land of the living. No wonder people talked about that day for years, as a matter of fact I am talking about it two thousand years later. The good news is this, Jesus is still walking into rooms. Maybe today He will walk into yours. Here is a song about this by Bryan and Katie Torwalt, pay close attention to the power in these words.

WHEN YOU WALK INTO THE ROOM

When You walk into the room

Everything changes

Darkness starts to tremble

At the light that You bring

And when You walk into the room

Every heart starts burning

And nothing matters more

Than just to sit here at Your feet

And worship You

We worship You

We love You

We’ll never stop

We can’t live without You, Jesus

We love You

And we can’t get enough

All this is for You, Jesus

When You walk into the room

Sickness starts to vanish

Every hopeless situation ceases to exist

And when You walk into the room,

The dead begin to rise

‘Cause there is resurrection life

In all You do

We love You

We’ll never stop

We can’t live without You, Jesus

We love You

And we can’t get enough

All this is for You, Jesus

Come and consume, God

All we are

We give You permission

Our hearts are Yours

We want You

We want You

We love You

Maybe stuff has died in your life. Maybe it feels like your marriage has died or your business, or maybe you just feel like you are just a zombie walking around dead. It makes no difference how dark your circumstances seem, Jesus is knocking on your door and resurrection power is about to make your dead stuff come alive.

EVERY DAY

Matt.28:20 – Mounce – teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you all the days, to the end of the age.

I love the Bible. It is amazingly new each time you read it. In today’s verse in the Mounce NT we see an amazing promise. He is not only with us always, He specifically said “all of the days”. There is not a day of your life that He is not with you. If you are His, He was with you from your mother’s womb until you take your last breath of air. He was with you when you almost had a life ending car wreck, He was with you you were out in sin doing stupid death defying antics, He was with you the day you got saved, and He is with you still. He is there when all hope seems lost with your finances, He is with you when the blessings abound, He is with you in sickness and in health. There is nothing you can dream of that you will face by yourself. Here is how A. B. Simpson describes this promise.

“He comes to us each day with a new blessing. Every morning, day by day, He walks with us with a love that never tires and a blessing that never grows old. And He is with us “all the days;” it is a ceaseless abiding. There is no day so dark, so commonplace, so uninteresting that we do not find Him there. Often, no doubt, He is unrecognized, as He was on the way to Emmaus, until we realize how our hearts have been warmed, our love stirred, our Bible so strangely vivified, with every promise seeming to speak to us with heavenly reality and power. It is the Lord!

God grant that His living presence may be made more real to us henceforth. Whether we have the consciousness and evidence-as they had a few glorious times in those 40 days-or whether we go forth into the coming days as they did most of their days to walk by simple faith and in simple duty, let us know this fact always, that He is with us….”

You may say I know He is there, it just doesn’t seem like it. That’s where the Holy Spirit comes in, turn to Him in worship and before you know it this promise will burn in your heart, “I am with you all of the days”!

EFFECTED BY THE SPIRIT

2 Cor.12:3,4 – And I know how such a man — whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows — was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.

Today’s church seems to want to reinvent God and Christianity into the image of the age. It’s not really just today’s church, historically that is exactly what man has done. Somehow we think we are advancing as a civilization and want to improve on God’s plan. In today’s verse Paul is describing being caught up into a place of ecstasy in the presence of God. That kind of talk is frowned on and treated as weirdly some kind of fringe version of Christianity. Paul was not a flake. He spoke in tongues (a lot), he experienced trances, for three days he was blinded by the brightness of the glory, he cast out demons, prophesied, and had visions and dreams. Today, we are satisfied with a slick message on being a better version of you with a few nice songs (nothing too intimate), and if there ever was a noise in service it is dealt with immediately. Here are some thoughts about the effects of the Spirit from Jonathan Edwards in the Great Awakening.

“If it may well be accounted for, that persons under a true sense of the glorious and wonderful greatness and excellency of divine things, and soul-ravishing views of the beauty and love of Christ, should have the strength of nature overpowered…’Tis no wonder that when the thoughts are so fixed, and the affections so strong, and the whole soul so engaged and ravished and swallowed up, that all other parts of the body are so affected as to be deprived of their strength, and the whole frame ready to dissolve; I say, ’tis no wonder that in such a case, the brain in particular which is a part of the body which we know is nextly and most especially affected by intense contemplations and exercises of mind, should be overborne and affected, so that its strength and spirits should for a season be diverted..”

So when was the last time you were in a really good, messy service? When the Holy Spirit actually moves into a congregation, good luck with keeping people quiet. There will be shouts of joy, cries and sobbing in repentance, and maybe some prophesying, or shrieking as demons come out. I love those messy services; at least I know that something is happening when people are being effected by the Spirit.

NOWHERE TO HIDE

Ps.139:7 – Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?

It’s not like David wanted to flee God’s presence, he is just exploring the majesty of the omnipresence of God and the manifest presence of God. From his early years as a teenager David had experienced God’s powerful presence. From that first day when the prophet Samuel poured the anointing oil upon David, David became stunningly aware of the presence of the Lord. Worshipping in His presence and building a temple for His presence had become his lifelong dream. He had discovered his “one thing” worth living his life for. Here are some thoughts from Charles Spurgeon on today’s verse.

“Where shall I go?” It were well if we all thus applied truth to our own cases. It were wise for each one to say—The spirit of the Lord is ever around me: Jehovah is omnipresent to me. Or where can I flee from thy presence? If, full of dread, I hastened to escape from that nearness of God which had become my terror, which way could I turn? “Where?” “Where?” He repeats his cry. No answer comes back to him. The reply to his first “Where?” is its echo,—a second “Where?” From the sight of God he cannot be hidden, but that is not all,—from the immediate, actual, constant presence of God he cannot be withdrawn. We must be, whether we will it or not, as near to God as our soul is to our body. This makes it dreadful work to sin; for we offend the Almighty to his face, and commit acts of treason at the very foot of his throne. Go from him, or flee from him we cannot: neither by patient travel nor by hasty flight can we withdraw from the all surrounding Deity.”

It’s really impossible for our created, limited brains, to understand the Presence of the Lord. How could He be in Beijing and Fiji at the same time? How could He be touching someone in the Philippines and also someone in Africa in the same moment? Our God is the creator of time and space. Even the greatness of this universe cannot hold all of Him. His glory is spilling out of creation itself. Today, whether you feel Him or not, He is all around you. He is before you and behind you, He is literally in your face, eye to eye. One glimpse of David’s God and you too will spend the rest of your days pursuing that “one thing”.

THE PAROUSIA

MERRY TUESDAY BY PARRIS

“This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed” Romans 13:11

Recently I read an article about the next generation coming up before us. I am a baby boomer, my boys are Generation X, my daughter is a true millennialist, and now my grandchildren appear to be Generation Z or the i-generation. Each generation takes on their special challenges and I pray “awakenings”. We all underestimate the Parousia or his presence amongst us. At this moment we are returning from what I call “an Asia tour”-Frank ministering in Manilla at one of the largest churches in that nation, participating in the 60 year celebration of the largest church in the world in Seoul Korea, and last but not least stopping over in Hawaii while the Kilauea Volcano is erupting vicariously. In all three parts of the world I felt the parousia. (his presence and his coming)

“Morning dawns” says the Expositor Bible; “where the sleep is shaken off and He must therefore rise, walk and do his work, lest sleep should again steal over him. His word aims us to go into HIGHER AND HIGHER DEGREES of perfection.The night, with its murky silence, its “poring dark,” the night of trial, of temptation, of the absence of our Christ, is far spent, but the day has drawn near; it has been a long night, but that means a near dawn; the everlasting sunrise of the longed for Parousia, with its glory, gladness, and unveiling. Let us put off, therefore, as if they were a foul and entangling night robe, the works of the darkness, the habits and acts of the moral night, things which we can throw off in the Name of Christ; let us put on the weapons of the light, arming ourselves, for defense, and for holy aggression As by day, for it is already dawn, in the Lord, let us walk decorously, becomingly, as we are the hallowed soldiers of our Leader.”

Spurgeon said “while you are in business, or on your bed, or in the field, the flaming heavens may proclaim his advent”. He believed Christ’s personal return was imminent. Take off that foul nasty old smelly robe that keeps you from experiencing his presence presently. Don’t get caught in the world’s mind games. Christ is present speaking throughout each generation their love language. Morning is dawning!

SURROUNDED

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John 14:20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.

I recently went for a walk on the lakefront in New Orleans. I wanted to get some fresh air, a little exercise, and some time with the Lord. I got more than I bargained for that morning. It was a little chilly with a north wind blowing off of Lake Ponchartrain, the sun was rising and the sky was crystal clear. To say it was a beautiful day was a great understatement. After praying and walking I gradually became aware of the presence of the Lord. All I can say is that I was surrounded. People who have been to heaven describe the heaviness of the atmosphere of heaven. This heaviness is the Holy Spirit and is a taste of that atmosphere. I began to reflect on today’s scripture as His presence increased throughout my walk. What a great revelation, I am in Him and He is in me. That day I was stuck on the “I am in Him” part. I was in stunned amazement as I began to sense the great enormity of His glory. Stephen and Isaiah both said that the universe itself cannot contain Him. The Pulpit New Testament Commentary touches on this reality.

“Your own consciousness of my presence, and of continuous communion with me, will reveal to you, as you never knew before, that I am in my Father, and also that I am in you. So the apparent paradox presents itself, that in order to know the Father, to see the Father, we must commune with the humanity of Jesus; but in order to realize and come into contact with that humanity, we have to grasp that it is lifted up into God. Because he is in the Father he is able to be with and in us.”

What a powerful truth, I am in Him and He is in me. Like I said before, that day I was stuck on the “I am in Him” part. If I am in Him like, I sensed on my walk, all the time, even when I am not feeling it, then I have a feeling everything is going to be okay. That’s what I got on my walk that day, “I’ve got you”, you just draw near to me. I get it now, I am surrounded, surrounded by the Lord, surrounded by a His love.

LIVING BEHIND THE VEIL

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Heb. 10:19,20 ¶ Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh…

One of the most awesome characteristics of revival is the obvious presence of God. Many people touched by revival have learned how to walk in the awareness of His presence. In Hebrews 10, the author talks about entering behind the veil. He says that the veil in the Old Testament temple symbolizes the flesh of man. Even though Jesus has opened the way into the presence of God for us, most Christians never learn how to enter behind the veil, and only a small number have learned to live there. What separates Christians from the presence of the Lord? What does this veil of flesh represent?

First, this veil speaks to us about the cares and desires of this present world. There are so many distractions to keep us from His presence in the natural world. We have worries, fears, entertainment, personal goals, and ambitions, to mention “just a few. These distractions separate us from the tangible presence of the Lord. These desires have to be replaced with a hunger for the Lord. When we begin to hunger and thirst for Him, we can push behind the veil.

This veil of flesh also speaks of religious traditions. Many of us are caught up in traditions, programs, and formats that make it highly unlikely for there to be a move of God. The traditions of man, regardless of how spiritual they appear to be, keep us from experiencing the real God. These traditions keep us from what Jesus called worshiping Him in spirit and in truth, or in reality. Many ministers have a set form and purpose in their services. These forms become a hindrance for the move of the Holy Ghost. For many years, I experienced this frustration in my ministry. I believed that I was on the cutting edge of worship and that I had a progressive full-gospel ministry. Little did I know that our progressive services were very predictable and rigid. Only after I was changed did a spontaneous expression of worship and ministry begin to flow in our church. The veil of religion had blocked the move of the Holy Ghost. But now we are moving in the freedom and reality of the Holy Spirit. We are pressing in behind the veil.

The veil also speaks to us about time. In our fast-paced society, we have become extremely time conscious. The services in most churches can be predicted to end at a certain time. If the meeting goes much past that time, the people become restless and begin to look at their watches. How can God move in such a carnal environment? In order to move behind the veil, we must move beyond our user-friendly short services. We must take the time to wait upon the Lord. We must learn to sit quietly in His presence. As Isaiah wrote, “But those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint”. Many times people do not want to leave our services. Many linger for hours, enjoying the presence of the Lord. When you get one taste of life behind the veil, of life in “His presence, time will begin to lose its importance.”

THE RIVER IS HERE

 

Psa. 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

As much as things seem to change they never really do. I was struck recently reading one of Martin Luther’s sermons from the 1500’s. He was expressing frustration that the people in church were treating the presence of the Lord in church as common or ordinary. He sounded like he was in utter shock. How could anyone treat this amazing being, the Holy Spirit as just insignificant. Jonathan Edwards experienced a similar feeling in the 1700’s, he couldn’t believe it when his church became apparently bored with the fact that God was in their midst. He preached a sermon about the happiness we have in God’s presence as a response to their apparent apathy. Here is an excerpt from that sermon.

“The river that supplies the city of God, is a full and never-failing stream: there is enough, and it never is dry. And they that trust in God, and whose hope the Lord is, they shall be like trees “planted by the waters that spreads forth her roots, and shall not see when heat comes, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, nor shall cease from yielding fruit”. God has promised that he will never fail them, nor forsake them. The people that has God amongst them, they have the fountain of all good in the midst of them. There is a full fountain, indeed an inexhaustible and infinite fountain, enough for the supply of everyone, under all their circumstances and necessities: whatever anyone wants, he may go to this fountain, and there he may have a supply. Such a people that have this God amongst them, may glory in him, and say, “The Lord is our shepherd; we shall not want…”
At the end of the day we are all only looking for happiness. The stunning thing about our Christian faith, it is the source of all of our happiness, not the experiences or possessions of this world. It’s not a new car (or in Edwards day, a new horse), or a new job, or moving to another city, or finding a new church. That may be where we begin our search but our joy, the kind that lasts, can only be found in Him. Don’t let yourself be counted among those who are bored and treat the Lord’s presence as common. You can be one that lives in stunned silence in His presence.

CONTINUING GOD’S PRESENCE

Ezek. 39:28,29 – then they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who sent them into captivity among the nations, but also brought them back to their land, and left none of them captive any longer. And I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,’ says the Lord GOD.

The Great Awakening had its start in a church in Northampton, Massachusetts under the leadership of Jonathan Edwards. The first wave of revival began in Northampton in the fall of 1734 and lasted about eighteen months. It seemed as if the whole city was mightily effected by the outpouring. Edwards said that just about every family in town had someone who had been converted during that season. He wrote a sermon several years later called CONTINUING GOD’S PRESENCE. It seems that the church had lost the fire they once had and Edwards was preaching messages trying to light the fire again. He said that in order to continue to see the lost come in they needed to continue in revival. Here is a portion of that sermon.

“A people don’t only stand in need of enjoying this blessing for a time, but they need it at all times. They don’t only need to have it once bestowed, but they need to have it continued. They need to have God always thus dwelling among them. They need it for the carrying on the work of conversion. If God withdraws, there are many will be like to perish eternally. And they stand in continual need of it for the upholding and building up of saints; for the saints are every moment dependent on the Spirit of God for all spiritual good, and can’t do without it. The once giving, the Spirit of God won’t answer the necessities of a people, but they need to have it continued.”
Edwards believed that we need the Lord on a continual basis. Getting touched once in the past wasn’t nearly enough, we needed to continue in the presence of the Lord if we want to impact our world. Thankfully Edwards prayers were answered. In 1740 the Lord visited the church in Northampton once again. This time it spread throughout the colonies and thus the Great Awakening began. Thousands of farmers, and shopkeepers, and students gave their lives to Christ in the early 1740’s. Our country was birthed and our world has never been the same.