These are notes on the sermon, The Secret Of Obed-Edom’s Blessings, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 16 January 2022, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!
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Every time we feed on God's Word, we are giving our spirits a feast and we get to experience great joy (Jer. 15:16). But God’s Word doesn’t stop there, it also ministers life and healing to all our flesh (Prov. 4:22)!
Pastor Prince shares a testimony from a lady, who after hearing about the theme of the year being Rest and Acceleration, trusted God for her newly-renovated apartment to be rented out to a good tenant. Shortly after, she received news that her apartment was rented out even without the tenant coming to view the place in person. This is a simple testimony of rest and acceleration!
The theme of the year video is played on screen.
This is the Year of Rest and Acceleration! The way God wants us to experience this special theme for the year is by living one day at a time, being present, and living in the now for now is the time of God’s favor (2 Cor. 6:2).
God is not the God of the future or past, but He is our very present help in time of need (Ps. 46:1). When Lazarus died, Martha said to Jesus, “If You had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21). She was implying that Jesus was too late. However, Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25), and raised Lazarus from the dead. As we live out every moment of this year, let’s be reminded that Jesus is always with us in the present and ready to help.
Pastor Prince shares a word of wisdom for those concerned about growing older. Here is a promise from God that was prophesied over the tribe of Asher: “as thy days, so shall thy strength be” (Deut. 33:25 KJV). You can claim this same promise, for all the promises of God are yes and amen (2 Cor. 1:20)!
Naturally, our physical appearance and strength decline as we advance in age. However, God’s Word promises us that we shall experience the opposite—as our days progress, we shall have increased strength. What is impossible with man is possible with God (Luke 18:27).
We see this in the life of Caleb, who at the age of eighty-five, declared that he was physically strong and ready to claim the land that God had promised the Israelites (Josh. 14:11). In contrast, when the angel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias and prophesied that his wife, Elizabeth, would bear a child, he did not believe Gabriel’s words and became mute till the birth of their child (Luke 1:20). However, when Gabriel appeared to Mary and prophesied that she would carry Jesus in her womb, she believed the Word of God (Luke 1:38).
Whatever you say “amen” to will happen because you are proclaiming, “so shall it be” in your life. God’s promises are all yours to believe and receive!
“. . . These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness”
— Revelation 3:14 NKJV
“Amen” — The word “Amen” in this verse is referring to the person of Jesus Himself.
By saying “amen,” we are expressing our faith. We can see this in the life of Abraham:
“And he believed (‘aman’) in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”
— Genesis 15:6 KJV
“believed (‘aman’)” — The Hebrew word for “believed” is “aman.” The Hebrew word for “faith,” which is “emunah,” originates from “aman.” In this verse, Abraham was saying “amen” to the Lord’s promise of children, and this was a declaration of faith.
For all the promises of God you read in the Old or New Testament, you claim them by faith by saying, “Amen!”
“In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches (‘perez’) thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old.”
— Amos 9:11 KJV
“breaches (‘perez’)” — The word “perez” in Hebrew means “breach.”
God calls Mount Zion His resting place (Ps. 132:14), and spoke of His love for that place (Ps. 78:68). David had a desire to bring the ark from a place where it was neglected and dishonored to the centrality of the heart of Israel—Mount Zion, the place of grace.
When David was a young man, he dreamed of bringing the ark to the center place of God’s people (Ps. 132:6), while King Saul who was in authority at that time had no interest in the ark at all.
Among all the furniture in the tabernacle, the ark of the covenant is the clearest representation of the person of Jesus and His presence. For example, when the ark is deconstructed and laid out flat, it forms the shape of a cross (a video of this illustration is shown on screen). The ark is also made of durable acacia wood, which speaks of Jesus’ incorruptible humanity. It is overlaid with gold, which represents His deity. Jesus is the God-man, completely God and completely man.
Today at the Father’s right hand, we have a perfect and glorified man representing us. As long as Jesus is there making intercession for us, we get to enjoy the blessings that He deserves.
It’s not about how good we are but about how good our representative is—and our representative is our Lord Jesus who is perfect in every way. As He is, so are we in this world (1 John 4:17).
David’s desire to bring the ark to Mount Zion is a message to the church today: bring Jesus back to the center of our lives (e.g. our marriage, parenting, career, ministry, etc.).
God has ordained Jesus to be the center of everything. One day, the whole world will see that He is the King of kings and Lord of lords, reigning from Mount Zion, where all things revolve around Him.
Many times in the Bible, we read about Jesus being “in the midst” of people (Matt. 18:20, John 19:18, Luke 24:36, Rev. 5:6). And we know that where Jesus is, there is life (1 John 5:12)!
In the area of marriage, it’s not about husbands loving their wives with their own strength, but loving their wives “as Christ loved the church” (Eph. 5:25). And wives are called by God to submit themselves to their husbands “as unto the Lord” (Eph. 5:22). If there is strife or a breakdown in your marriage, God doesn’t want you to recover your marriage by trying to be nice or loving, for your human effort is limited and only produces the opposite results you desire. Focus on Jesus, and that’s when restoration begins. When you realize how much Jesus loves you and are freshly filled with His love, your spouse will be the beneficiary.
Everything good is based on the centrality of Christ. Restoration of broken things starts when you put Him back at the center.
When it comes to putting Jesus at the center of our parenting, we do this by putting our faith in the Lord instead of trying to change our children with the law. This doesn’t mean we should not discipline them or guide them along the right path. It just means that instead of using words of demand on them, we can correct our children with words that bring supply. Instead of saying, “You should do this . . . you should do that . . .” which brings stress and pressure, say things like, “I believe you will do well for this exam. I believe you will have a heart to study. I believe you will glorify Jesus in your studies. I believe you will know the right time to study and the right time to play games.”
As you supply them with grace-filled, Jesus-centered words, believe that God will transform your children and cause them to want to do the right thing.
This year, God wants to repair the first breach, which is in the area of family blessings.
When David became king, he went to bring the ark from Kirjath Jearim to Jerusalem (Mount Zion), which he had desired to do for many years. While he had the right motive, he went about achieving it using the ways of the world. Though he had the power, resources, and manpower, he disobeyed God by thinking and acting like the world.
David followed the way the Philistines transported the ark back to Jerusalem after they had stolen it. The Philistines are a picture of the world; they did not know God’s ways. When the ark brought great destruction to many Philistine cities when it was passed around, the Philistines decided to send it back to Israel. Not knowing the proper order of how to transport the ark, they put the ark on a cart driven by two milk cows (in this way, the Philistines tested the ark: if the milk cows headed to the nearest Israeli city, Beth Shemesh, instead of following their natural instinct to stay with their calves, then the Philistines would know that it was the ark that brought about their destruction). The milk cows headed straight for Beth Shemesh (1 Sam. 6:11–12).
When it came to how to transport or treat the ark, the Philistines didn’t know better. But the Israelites should have known God’s ways, especially the people of Beth Shemesh (a Levitical city). However, the men of Beth Shemesh also did not follow the ordinances surrounding the ark, and they opened the ark and looked in at the law and the other symbols of man’s rebellion. As a result, they were struck dead (1 Sam. 6:19). No man can look at the law and remain alive. That is why God ordained for the law to be put under the mercy seat inside the ark and for the blood of the animal sacrifice to be applied on the mercy seat, covering the symbols of man’s sin underneath it.
Many believers today are committing the sin of Beth Shemesh by trying to justify themselves by the law. When you try to justify yourself by the law (e.g. you believe you will be blessed by God based on how well you keep the law), you have fallen from grace (Gal. 5:4). Grace is higher than the law, for the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1:17).
“Then the anger of the LORD was aroused against Uzza, and He struck him because he put his hand to the ark; and he died there before God.”
— 1 Chronicles 13:10 NKJV
“Uzza” — Every name in the Bible carries meaning, and “Uzza” means “power, man’s strength.”
“. . . Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the ark, because the oxen stumbled.”
— 1 Chronicles 13:9 NIV
“the oxen stumbled” — The reason the oxen stumbled was that David had copied the ways of the world. God allowed the Philistines to move the ark on the oxen cart and none of them died because they weren’t God’s people and didn’t know any better. But God’s people should have known better—they should have known to honor the Lord by carrying the ark on their shoulders instead of moving it on the oxen cart. When Uzza (“man’s strength”) stretched his hand out to steady the ark, he died. This is a picture of how when we follow the ways of the world and trust in our own strength, the result is death.
Let us follow after God’s ways, and we will see His blessings and favor follow after us.
An example of how we trust in our own strength is by trying to keep the law to earn God’s blessings, to achieve our breakthroughs, or to overcome sinful habits.
The Bible tells us that sin shall not have dominion over us because we are not under the law but under grace (Rom. 6:14). God’s way is for us to trust His grace, not our own effort, strength, or willpower.
In fact, the more the law is preached, the worse sin gets because by the law is the knowledge of sin (Rom. 3:20). The more we try to keep the law, the more our sinful nature is aroused. Even those who look like they are keeping the law definitely have private struggles in their lives.
The effect of God’s grace is amazing because we’ll see results we never thought possible. When you keep being conscious that by God’s unmerited, unearned, and undeserved favor, Jesus Christ took your place and died for your sins on the cross, and you have taken His place as the righteousness of God in Christ, you will start to see bad habits drop off. Sin will not have dominion over you. When you believe that by grace, you have this righteous identity in Christ, you will start walking in practical holiness. You will also develop a closer relationship with God because you know there is nothing separating you from Him. And the desire to change for years will suddenly become so easy through His grace.
Sin doesn’t stop revival from happening, rather, revival happens in the midst of sin (Rom. 5:20). Revival is only stopped when man’s effort comes in, when man tries to control the move of God with their own ways, bringing in their own laws.
Notice that everywhere Jesus went, sinners who touched Jesus were miraculously healed. But the Pharisees, who reckoned themselves righteous through the law and their own works, could not receive those miracles even though Jesus’ power was there for them too.
It’s our “Uzzah”—our self-effort—that stops us from receiving all that God has for us, not our sins. When you activate your strength, the result is sin. Before God gave Israel the Ten Commandments, the Israelites confidently said they would fulfill all the commandments the Lord would give them (Exod. 19:8). But the moment they came under the law, they broke the first commandment by making a golden calf to worship. It’s not that the Israelites weren’t sincere, but they didn’t realize how sinful they were in their flesh.
The law was given to show us that the law is holy, but it cannot make you holy. The law is righteous, but it cannot make you righteous. It was designed to reveal your sin. That’s why the strength of sin is the law (1 Cor. 15:56).
In Acts 15, during the time of the early church when the first Gentiles were saved, the Jewish believers gathered to discuss whether they needed to keep the law of Moses now that they were saved. Peter, whom God had used to preach to the Gentiles, stood up and said:
“Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?”
— Acts 15:10 NKJV
“a yoke . . . which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear” — This yolk is referring to the law of Moses, which the Jewish forefathers were unable to keep.
James, who was pastoring the Jerusalem church at that time, agreed with Peter that the Gentiles should not be made to keep the law, for it is in line with what God said through Amos. James quoted Amos 9:11, in which Amos prophesied that God would raise the tabernacle of David in the last days, and the rest of mankind would seek the Lord, and souls would be saved (Acts 15:17).
Gentile believers (non-Jewish believers) are a fulfillment of Amos 9:11. The Tabernacle of David being rebuilt has got to do with us. God promises to repair all the ruins and broken areas.
“. . . that place is called Perez Uzza (breach of man’s strength) to this day.”
— 1 Chronicles 13:11 NKJV
“Perez Uzza (breach of man’s strength)” — “Perez Uzza” refers to the point where something was broken because something destructive (man’s strength) came in and brought death.
This year, the Lord promises to repair all the perez (breaches) in your life. And the first area in your life where you may have breaches (broken parts) in that He wants to restore is your family.
When Uzzah died while transporting the ark, David didn’t ask God what went wrong. Instead of seeking the Lord and humbling himself to ask God where he missed the mark, David had a servile (slavish) fear of God. This type of fear brings bondage, and it is not the “fear of God” that God wants us to have. We are sons and daughters who have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but have received the Spirit of sonship through Jesus (Rom. 8:15).
True fear of the Lord is having a desire to please someone whom we know loves us. It is similar to the feeling a child has toward his loving parents. We are not like slaves who don’t want to displease their master in fear of being punished. But we are children who are deeply loved by our Father, and that is why we want to please Him. The fear of the Lord prolongs our days (Prov. 10:27). Jesus defined the fear of the Lord in Deuteronomy 6:13 as worship (Matt. 4:10).
Instead of seeking the Lord about what caused Uzzah’s death, David became fearful and temporarily put the ark in Obed-Edom’s house, which was likely nearby.
When the ark was in Obed-Edom’s house, the Lord blessed all that Obed-Edom had (1 Chron. 13:14), and it was so evident that everyone around him saw the Lord’s blessings on his household (2 Sam. 6:11). From here we can see that the first area of restoration that happened after the first breach (the death of Uzzah) is in the area of family life.
The first thing that God wants to do is to bless your household. The whole time David was afraid of God, Obed-Edom was being greatly blessed.
While God is holy, His holiness calls for us to realize we cannot meet His standard of holiness, but we can depend on His grace to deliver us, save us, and supply everything we need!
When Pastor Prince first studied the life of Obed-Edom in 2003, he found that Josephus, a Jewish historian who lived during the time of Jesus, described the blessings of Obed-Edom like this: When Obed-Edom first brought the ark into his house, he was a poor man. But the Lord began to prosper and enlarge him and his territories and bless him with every blessing.
“The ark of God remained with the family of Obed-Edom in his house three months. And the LORD blessed the house of Obed-Edom and all that he had.”
— 1 Chronicles 13:14 NKJV
“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 6:11 NKJV
“all that he had . . . all his household” — There are two accounts of the ark in Obed-Edom’s house, and both accounts speak of the abundant blessings that came upon all that Obed-Edom had. Josephus also mentioned that Obed-Edom was so blessed that his neighbors envied him.
“Now it was told King David, saying, ‘The LORD has blessed the house of Obed-Edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.’ So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with gladness.”
— 2 Samuel 6:12 NKJV
“The LORD has blessed the house of Obed-Edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God” — The ark of God was the secret of Obed-Edom’s blessings.
Let’s look at the meaning of Obed-Edom’s name:
Obed-Edom was a man who understood the importance of the blood on the mercy seat. It is likely that while the ark was in his house, he gave burnt offerings to the Lord, and the Lord blessed Obed-Edom so that he could give more burnt offerings unto Him.
Because of the ark, Obed-Edom saw blessings everywhere in his family, on his crops, and everyone felt peace and joy in his house. When David came to retrieve the ark from Obed-Edom’s house, Obed-Edom knew that the reason he was so blessed was the ark.
In ancient Israel, every year on the Day of Atonement, the high priest would sprinkle blood from the animal sacrifice on the mercy seat. Because of the blood on the mercy seat, all of Israel could expect blessings on their households and victory over their enemies to go on for another year. This is because the innocent blood on the mercy seat covered their sins. God saw the blood and not their sins. However, back then, the people had to offer sacrifices to renew their sanctification yearly. Today, because Jesus is the perfect offering, we have been sanctified through His sacrifice once and for all (Heb. 10:10)!
Without Jesus’ shed blood, there is no remission of sins (Heb. 9:22). We are justified and sanctified by His blood alone (Rom. 5:9, Heb. 13:12). It’s because of His blood that we are brought near to God (Heb. 10:22).
When Jesus took the cup of the Communion and said to His disciples, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me” (1 Cor. 11:25–26), He was showing us the importance of valuing His blood.
During the first Passover, God instructed the Israelites to apply the lamb’s blood on their lintel and doorposts. When the Angel of Death came, the blood on their doorposts was what protected them from harm (Exod. 12:13).
It’s not any of our good works, good character, or good family names that save or protect us. It’s Jesus' blood alone that justifies, heals, protects, and sanctifies us. The more you esteem His blood, the more faith you’ll have in the Lord.
As a “servant of the blood,” Obed-Edom likely offered the blood of the sacrifice, and that’s why he stood in the place of a righteous man. God saw Obed-Edom in the righteousness of His Son. God blessed Obed-Edom just like how He would treat Jesus, His beloved Son. Today, we are in Christ Jesus, and we have His righteousness.
Jesus has already taken our place at the cross. All the bad we deserved, He took at the cross, and all the good He deserves, we get to enjoy today.
Some people think it is because of praise and worship that brought God’s blessing. But there was praise and worship before Uzzah died, and Uzzah still died.
The difference between life and death, the difference between blessings and curses, is the blood shed to cover sins.
This is what David did after he took the ark from Obed-Edom’s house:
“And so it was, when those bearing the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, that he sacrificed oxen and fatted sheep.”
— 2 Samuel 6:13 NKJV
“he sacrificed oxen and fatted sheep” — For the first time in the journey of bringing the ark to Jerusalem, David sacrificed oxen and sheep. And every six paces, he offered another burnt offering unto the Lord. David knew the importance of the blood sacrifice since he was young (Lev. 17:11), but he likely only realized what was missing after learning from Obed-Edom. Sometimes, God uses the blessings on someone else to lead those who are backslidden back to him. May your family life be such a testimony that leads others back to the Lord and His grace.
Obed-Edom was a Gittite (1 Chron. 13:13), and “Gittite” means “belonging to the city of Gath.” Gath was one of the Philistine cities (where Goliath was from). This means that Obed-Edom was a Philistine from Gath.
Obed-Edom being a Gittite (Gentile, non-Jew) fulfills Amos’ prophecy, where the rebuilding of the Tabernacle of David will cause the Gentiles to come in (Amos 9:12). While Obed-Edom was probably not aware of God’s laws, he valued the ark and knew the importance of the shed blood, which was passed down from generation to generation from the time of the garden of Eden (it was God Himself who first shed the blood of an innocent animal to cover the sins of Adam and Eve). Obed-Edom is a picture of believers who are conscious of Jesus’ finished work and shed blood.
Obed-Edom was not sin-conscious, but Jesus-conscious. Whatever sin he had, he knew that the blood would take care of it, and that’s how the blessings of God came upon him and his family. Ultimately, Obed-Edom decided to follow the ark and eventually became the doorkeeper of the Tabernacle of David (1 Chron. 16:38).
Because Obed-Edom valued the ark (a picture of the person of Jesus), God blessed him with many sons that were of men of great ability (1 Chron. 26:4–6) and able men with strength for the work (1 Chron. 26:8).
“The sons of Shemaiah were . . . able (‘chayil’) men.”
— 1 Chronicles 26:7 NKJV
“able (‘chayil’) men” — The Hebrew word for “able” is “chayil,” which means “virtuous” and is the same Hebrew word used in Proverbs 31 to describe a virtuous woman (Prov. 31:10). Not only that, but “chayil” is also a picture of wealth.
“And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power (‘koach’) to get wealth (‘chayil’).”
— Deuteronomy 8:18 NKJV
“wealth (‘chayil’)” — The Hebrew word, “chayil” is translated many times in the Bible for “wealth.” So not only will you and your children have moral strength, but you will also have wealth! We are not meant to love money, chase after it, and be ruled by it. But when we chase after Jesus, money will chase after us and we will be able to be a blessing to others.
This year, may these family blessings manifest so evidently in your family’s lives that people will talk about it. People talking about God’s blessings in your life is another way of spreading the good news so that others will be drawn to the God you serve.
Pastor Prince prays for people with these conditions/areas:
Pastor Prince closes the service by emphasizing that God is repairing, restoring, recovering, and rebuilding all the breaches, especially in the area of family life. This is a promise for every household. Because we have Jesus’ blood, we will receive even greater blessings than those of Obed-Edom and David!
“Heavenly Father, I thank You for Jesus Christ, Your beloved Son. I receive Him. I accept Him into my life as my Savior, as my Lord, as my King. Thank You, Father God, that You raised Jesus from the dead. And I thank You, Father God, that Jesus Christ is my Lord, now and forever. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
“The Lord bless you and your families. Let the blessings that were on Obed-Edom and his household be upon you and your houses, upon your families, upon your little ones. And in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, may that blessing be so manifested that people would talk about it, that you're someone to be envied, that they will desire the God that you serve—that wonderful Savior, Jesus Christ—that they will hunger after Him.
This coming week, may the blessings of God begin to manifest in an accelerated way, in the name of Jesus. And this coming week, the Lord grant to you and yours His wonderful shalom, wholeness, peace, and tranquility to lead and govern your lives. Amen. All is well this week for you and yours, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. God bless you.”
In this year of Rest and Acceleration, God wants to accelerate His restoration in your family life.
As Pastor Prince shared in this sermon, the secret of Obed-Edom’s family blessings is that he valued the ark of the covenant (a picture of the person of Jesus) and he valued the blood that covers sin.
Friend, you do not need to use your own effort or willpower to see things change in your family life. You can see restoration simply by putting Jesus at the center of your family life and relationships and by being conscious of His blood that has removed your sins—making you righteous and deserving of all God’s blessings.
Whether you are hoping for a turnaround in your marriage, restoration in the lives of your children, or provision for your household, allow the Lord to supply you with all you need as you simply practice these two things:
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These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.