God works in mysterious ways. As Christians, we may not always understand the reasons behind the blessings God bestows or the trials He allows us to face. But we can trust that He is sovereign, good, and has a purpose for everything that happens. The story of Obed-Edom and the ark of the covenant is one example that shows how God blesses those who faithfully serve Him.
The ark of the covenant was a sacred chest that contained the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments. It served as a powerful symbol of God’s presence and glory. In 2 Samuel 6, we read how David attempted to bring the ark to Jerusalem. But when a man named Uzzah touched the ark to steady it, he was struck dead for this irreverent act.
David became afraid and chose not to move the ark any further. Instead, he left it at the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite for three months. During this time, “the LORD blessed Obed-Edom and his entire household” (2 Samuel 6:11).
Why did God bless Obed-Edom so abundantly? A look at the context provides some clues. As we seek to grow in our faith and obedience, Obed-Edom’s example challenges us to:
- Faithfully fulfill our duties, no matter how small or mundane they may seem.
- View each circumstance as an opportunity to serve God and bless others.
- Avoid presumption and treat sacred things with reverence.
- Welcome God’s presence into our homes and lives.
- Wait patiently on His timing for the fulfillment of His promises.
Faithfully Fulfilling Mundane Duties
Very little is known about Obed-Edom. He is described as a Gittite, meaning he was from the Philistine city of Gath. He was likely a Levite appointed as a gatekeeper for the ark. This may have seemed like a small, unexciting role. Yet Obed-Edom faithfully carried out his duties. He welcomed the ark into his home and guarded it diligently for three months.
Obed-Edom’s example reminds us that no matter how mundane or insignificant our work may appear, we should “work heartily, as for the Lord” (Colossians 3:23). The key is our motivation – doing all for God’s glory. God is pleased when we work faithfully, treat others kindly, and serve our employers well (Titus 2:9-10). He will bless and reward this kind of obedience.
Serving Well in Any Circumstance
When David showed up at Obed-Edom’s door with the ark, this must have come as a huge surprise. Yet Obed-Edom did not complain or reject his sudden responsibility. Instead, he willingly took the ark into his care. He served God and David faithfully in this unusual circumstance.
We may not always understand the situations God places us in or why He calls us to serve in certain ways. But we can follow Obed-Edom’s example by being ready to serve God wherever we are. We can look for opportunities to honor Him and bless others, whether at church, at work, or within our families. God is able to use any circumstance for His glory and our good (Romans 8:28).
Reverence for Sacred Things
The ark was a sacred object that represented God’s presence. By irreverently touching it, Uzzah showed disregard for its holiness and faced God’s judgment (2 Samuel 6:6-7). In contrast, Obed-Edom treated the ark with great care and respect. He welcomed this symbol of God’s presence and power into his home.
This reminds us to reverently honor the sacred things of God. We should approach worship, communion, baptism, God’s Word, prayer, and service to God with humility, awe, and respect. While we can boldly enter God’s presence through Christ (Hebrews 10:19-22), we must never become flippant or casual in how we regard Him. When we treat sacred things with reverence, it pleases God and brings blessing.
Welcoming God’s Presence
By guarding the ark for three months, Obed-Edom welcomed the presence of God into His home in a powerful way. Likewise, when we invite God’s presence into our lives through prayer, worship, and obedience, He draws near and changes us. God’s presence brings protection, joy, and favor – as it did for Obed-Edom.
The Holy Spirit also dwells within every believer in Jesus Christ. He guides us, comforts us, convicts us of sin, and helps us live righteously. We can enjoy a deeper awareness of God’s presence every day by relying on the Spirit’s wisdom and yielding to His control. As we do, our lives will overflow with spiritual fruit such as “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness” (Galatians 5:22).
Waiting Patiently on God’s Timing
After leaving the ark with Obed-Edom, it was three months before David came to bring it to Jerusalem. Why did David wait so long? Perhaps he wanted to allow enough time for God’s anger over Uzzah’s offense to subside. Or he may have been cautiously making spiritual preparations for moving the ark.
Whatever his reasons, David waited for God’s timing. Likewise, Obed-Edom did not complain or doubt but patiently guarded the ark until the time was right. This reminds us to wait on the Lord even when we don’t understand His timing. “In your patience possess your souls,” Jesus said (Luke 21:19). As we wait on Him, God develops our character and prepares us for His blessings and purposes (Psalm 27:14).
Obed-Edom and God’s Mysterious Providence
Why Obed-Edom? Why was this faithful servant chosen to guard the ark? We do not know why God selected him for this privilege. But this reminds us that God’s providence and blessings are mysterious. His ways and thoughts are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). We may wonder why God blesses some people and not others. But He sees the full picture and His plan is perfect. All we can do is remain faithful wherever He has placed us.
Obed-Edom shows that when we humbly obey God in mundane duties and unexpected circumstances – patiently trusting His timing – He will bless our lives. May we serve Him as faithfully as Obed-Edom did so that God’s presence, protection, and favor will overflow in our families and communities.
Biblical Examples of God’s Mysterious Blessings
The story of Obed-Edom is just one of many biblical examples where God’s blessings and providence seem mysterious:
- Jacob over Esau: Though Esau was older, God chose Jacob to receive Abraham’s blessing and become father of the nation of Israel (Genesis 25:23; Romans 9:6-13). This shows that God’s choices are based on His sovereign will, not human customs.
- Joseph: After being sold by his brothers, Joseph experienced great suffering in Egypt – yet later rose to become second-in-command and was used by God to save many lives (Genesis 37-50). God redeemed evil for good.
- Naaman: The Syrian commander was miraculously healed of leprosy by following Elisha’s instructions. His grateful faith was contrasted with the greed of Elisha’s servant Gehazi who then contracted leprosy (2 Kings 5).
- Ruth: This destitute Moabite widow became the great-grandmother of King David, demonstrating God’s loving care for those outside the people of Israel (Ruth 4:18-22).
- Esther: An orphaned Jewish girl became the Queen of Persia in God’s timing to save her people from destruction (Esther 2:5-20; 4:13-14).
Though it may seem random or arbitrary, God’s providence and blessings ultimately have purpose – even when we can’t understand it. As Isaiah 55:8-9 reminds us, God’s ways are higher than our own. We are called to trust Him and be faithful in every situation.
Practical Applications in Our Lives Today
The example of Obed-Edom challenges us to trust God’s mysterious providence and live faithfully no matter our circumstances. Here are some key applications for our lives today:
- Be faithful: Diligently fulfill our responsibilities at work, church, and home – however small or mundane they may seem. “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much” (Luke 16:10).
- Serve others: Follow Christ’s example of servant-hearted love, considering others’ needs above our own. “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others” (1 Peter 4:10).
- Give generously: Just as Obed-Edom probably provided food and lodging for the ark bearers, we can give generously and hospitality to those in need. “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).
- Practice reverence: Honor God’s holiness and greatness in our worship, taking care to treat spiritual things with respect. “Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!” (Psalm 96:9).
- Welcome God’s presence: Make time for prayer, Bible reading, fellowship, and listening to the Spirit’s voice so that God’s presence permeates every aspect of our lives. “Surely the Lord is in this place” (Genesis 28:16).
- Wait patiently: Rest in God’s perfect timing and rely on His strength when circumstances are difficult and His purposes unclear. “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14).
As we apply these principles, God will bless our lives just as He blessed Obed-Edom. Though His providence is mysterious, we can trust the character and promises of God who “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20). May He help us live faithfully and fruitfully for His glory each day.
The story of Obed-Edom encourages us to faithful service, reverent living, and patient waiting on God’s timing. When we honor God in the small details and welcome His presence into our lives, He blesses our families and communities. Though God’s providence is mysterious, He promises to use all circumstances for our ultimate good if we trust and obey Him.
As we grow closer to Jesus Christ, we become living “arks” where God’s Spirit dwells. We can each become like Obed-Edom – not defined by his obscurity, but by his legacy of humble obedience that still inspires Christians today. May we live each day by faith so that one day we will hear these joyous words from our Savior:
“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:23).