What Does Obed-Edom Symbolize?
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What Does Obed-Edom Symbolize?

You open your Bible to 2 Samuel 6 and read the story of David bringing the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. After an initial failed attempt, the ark spends three months in the household of Obed-Edom. Then David has the ark brought to Jerusalem amid great rejoicing.

You may have wondered, as many Christians do, who exactly was Obed-Edom? And what is his significance in the Bible? A deeper look at Obed-Edom can yield some valuable lessons for your spiritual life today.

Key Takeaways on Obed-Edom:

  • Obed-Edom was blessed for housing the ark, demonstrating God’s favor on those who honor His presence.
  • His example shows the importance of making room for God’s presence in your home and life.
  • Obed-Edom models faithfulness in small things, which God can elevate for greater purposes.
  • His blessing encourages using your resources to serve God’s work rather than living selfishly.
  • As a Levite, Obed-Edom foreshadows Gentile inclusion in God’s covenant blessings.
  • He illustrates the principle of God opposing the proud but giving grace to the humble.

Obed-Edom in Bible History

The story of Obed-Edom is found in 2 Samuel 6 and 1 Chronicles 13-16. When David first attempted to bring the ark to Jerusalem, a man named Uzzah was struck dead for touching the ark (2 Samuel 6:6-7). This caused David to fear moving the ark any further.

So he left the ark in the household of Obed-Edom the Gittite for three months (2 Samuel 6:10). Obed-Edom is also called a Levite in 1 Chronicles 15:18. So he was likely a Levite living in Gath, a Philistine city.

After three months of blessings upon Obed-Edom’s household, David finally brought the ark to Jerusalem with great joy and celebration (2 Samuel 6:12). Obed-Edom’s name is mentioned again in 2 Samuel 6:10-12 and 1 Chronicles 15:18-25 as a musician and gatekeeper involved in the worship procession.

1 Chronicles 26:4-8 tells us Obed-Edom had many sons who were capable temple doorkeepers. This indicates the great blessing and favor that came upon Obed-Edom for housing the ark of the covenant.

Lessons From Obed-Edom’s Life

Though little is said about Obed-Edom, careful study reveals how his life exemplifies key spiritual principles for believers today. Let’s explore some lessons you can learn from Obed-Edom’s faithful example.

Honor God’s Presence

The most important thing about Obed-Edom is that the ark of God’s presence rested in his household for three months. This immediately brought great blessing, as confirmed in 1 Chronicles 13:14:

“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.” (NKJV)

This shows the power of honoring God’s presence. Obed-Edom did not treat the ark as a mere historical artifact. He undoubtedly prayed, worshiped, and made sacrifices before it. He made room for the manifest glory of God in his home and was blessed for it.

You may not have the ark of the covenant in your house! But as believers, you have the Holy Spirit dwelling within you. As 1 Corinthians 6:19 says, “your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.” Therefore, make sure to honor God’s presence in your life through prayer, worship, reading Scripture, and living in holiness.

When you give primacy to seeking God’s presence, like Obed-Edom did, you position yourself to be blessed. God will fill your “house” too — your body, family, and even workplace — with His glory, grace and abundance.

Start Small, Be Faithful

At first glance, Obed-Edom seems like a minor character in the Bible. He briefly keeps the ark, then helps with music when David finally brings it to Jerusalem. But don’t overlook the faithful service this Levite rendered.

Obed-Edom teaches you that faithfulness in small things can lead to greater opportunities. He housed the ark in his household — possibly just a tent. But he ministered before the ark with integrity. So God blessed him abundantly and his family became influential temple servants for generations!

You may feel your ministry or contribution is small like Obed-Edom’s. But be faithful where God has placed you! Manage your household, family, job or community role well unto the Lord. If you are faithful with little, God can elevate you to bigger things like He did for Obed-Edom!

Use Your Resources for God

Don’t gloss over the fact that Obed-Edom housed the holy ark of God inside his own home for three months! This was an incredible act of devotion and generosity. He rearranged his family home to accommodate the ark and willingly bore the inconvenience.

Obed-Edom could have said, “I don’t want to deal with this ark — take it away!” But instead he brought the ark under his roof. This willingness to use his own space and resources for God’s glory opened the door for supernatural blessing!

You likely have resources of time, money, talents and space God has given you. Are you willing to use what you have to serve God’s purposes like Obed-Edom did? You can bless your church, community and world for Christ when you employ your resources for His glory.

Don’t merely live for your own selfish gain. Follow Obed-Edom’s example of generosity, and God will increase your capacity to bless others! Your resources may accomplish more than you imagine when yielded to God’s service!

Model Humility

Why did God bless Obed-Edom so greatly when the ark had brought such tragedy to Uzzah? It likely comes down to Obed-Edom’s humility before God. Rather than seeing the ark as a “good luck charm,” he honored it as the throne and presence of the Almighty.

Uzzah’s great offense was viewing the ark irreverently by touching it. But Obed-Edom recognized the holiness of God’s presence and acted accordingly. This posture of humility led to blessing, while Uzzah’s arrogance incurred judgment.

James 4:6 reminds you: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Approach God with humility like Obed-Edom, not casual arrogance. When you honor the Lord in your attitudes and actions, you position yourself for His grace!

Foreshadows Gentile Inclusion

Although an Israelite, Obed-Edom is called “the Gittite” in 2 Samuel 6:10, meaning he likely lived in the Philistine city of Gath. This small detail is significant, as it hints at God’s heart to bless Gentiles too through the ark of His presence.

The ark had just returned from Philistine territory, showing that Israel’s unfaithfulness wouldn’t limit God’s covenant blessings. Obed-Edom, though outside the Promised Land, welcomed the ark and was blessed. This foreshadowed the gospel extending beyond Israel to bless believing Gentiles.

Romans 11:11-12 says Israel’s trespass brought riches to the world and salvation to the Gentiles. Like Obed-Edom, you as a Gentile believer can fully partake of God’s covenant promises in Christ (Ephesians 2:11-13). Rejoice that God’s presence extends blessings far beyond Israel!

Applying Obed-Edom’s Example

Obed-Edom’s brief appearance in Scripture gives you much to reflect on. Though centuries ago, principles seen in his life still hold true today. How can you apply lessons from Obed-Edom as a modern believer?

  • Make room for God’s presence through consistent prayer, worship and studying the Bible. Don’t let busyness crowd out time with the Lord.
  • Be faithful in small things at home, work and church. Manage details well for God’s glory.
  • Use your resources generously to serve Christ’s kingdom work, not just personal interests.
  • Cultivate humility in your walk with God. Submit to His sovereignty over your life.
  • Thank God for extending covenant blessings to all nations in Jesus Christ. Share the gospel!

Obed-Edom exemplifies the blessed life available to those who steward God’s presence well. As you make room for the Lord consistently and serve Him wholeheartedly, you can expect your life to overflow with spiritual fruitfulness for generations to come!


The ark of the covenant represented God’s divine presence dwelling among His people in the Old Testament. Yet Obed-Edom welcomed this holy ark into his household for three months. In doing so, he honored the presence of the Lord and modeled profound faith and humility.

Obed-Edom teaches you important spiritual lessons through his reverent care for the ark of God’s glory. As New Testament believers, you have the Spirit of Christ dwelling within you. Therefore, follow Obed-Edom’s example by making room for the Lord through prayer, worship and obedient living.

Though his role seemed small, Obed-Edom’s faithful service led to generational blessings. So stay humble, use your resources for the Lord, and trust God to elevate you as you minister to Him faithfully right where you are.

May Obed-Edom’s faithful example inspire you to make exalting Jesus your life’s priority! As you live with sincere devotion to the Lord, you can rest assured His presence will fill your life with joy, purpose and blessing.

Pastor Duke Taber
Pastor Duke Taber

Pastor Duke Taber

All articles have been written or reviewed by Pastor Duke Taber.
Pastor Duke Taber is an alumnus of Life Pacific University and Multnomah Biblical Seminary.
He has been in pastoral ministry since 1988.
Today he is the owner and managing editor of 3 successful Christian websites that support missionaries around the world.
He is currently starting a brand new church in Mesquite NV called Mesquite Worship Center, a Non-Denominational Spirit Filled Christian church in Mesquite Nevada.